How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition

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Product Description

How to Change the World provides vivid profiles of social entrepreneurs. The book is an In Search of Excellence for social initiatives, intertwining personal stories, anecdotes, and analysis. Readers will discover how one person can make an astonishing difference in the world.
The case studies in the book include Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for the international campaign against landmines she ran by e-mail from her Vermont home; Roberto Baggio, a 31-year old Brazilian who has established eighty computer schools in the slums of Brazil; and Diana Propper, who has used investment banking techniques to make American corporations responsive to environmental dangers.
The paperback edition will offer a new foreword by the author that shows how the concept of social entrepreneurship has expanded and unfolded over the last few years, including the Gates-Buffetts charitable partnership, the rise of Google, and the increased mainstream coverage of the subject. The book will also update the stories of individual social entrepreneurs that appeared in the cloth edition.

Book Description
Published in over twenty countries, How to Change the World has become the Bible for social entrepreneurship. It profiles men and women from around the world who have found innovative solutions to a wide variety of social and economic problems. Whether they work to deliver solar energy to Brazilian villagers, or improve access to college in the United States, social entrepreneurs offer pioneering solutions that change lives.

Discover surprising facts about social entrepreneurs from author David Bornstein
  • According to a recent Harris Poll, a whopping 97% of Generation Y are looking for work that allows them "to have an impact on the world."
  • In recent years, courses or centers in social entrepreneurship have been created in over 250 universities and colleges such as Harvard Business School, Yale School of Management, Duke, NYU's Stern & Wagner, Wharton, Oxford, and Stanford.
  • Teach for America received 25,000 applications for 3,700 slots in 2008, an increase of more than a third over 2007. In Ivy League schools such as Yale, Cornell, and Dartmouth, close to 10% of all graduates applied to the program.
  • In the past two years, the Acumen Fund, an organization that supports social entrepreneurs who solve major problems through business solutions (eg. malaria nets, water purification, loans for housing), received more than 1,000 applications from top ranked business students for just 15 fellowship positions.
  • The list of top business entrepreneurs who are focusing either full time or a considerable amount of time on social entrepreneurship is highly impressive:
    1. Pierre Omidyar, founder of ebay, created Omidyar Network to "enable individual self-empowerment on a global scale."
    2. Jeff Skoll, cofounder of ebay, also runs Participant Productions, which makes socially conscious films including An Inconvenient Truth and Goodnight and Good Luck.
    3. Bill Gates has left Microsoft to pursue a full-time career in philanthropy.
    4. Warren Buffett recently donated $30 billion to the Gates Foundation.
    5. William Draper, one of the biggest venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, created the Draper Richards Foundation to support social entrepreneurs.
    6. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum (Davos), founded the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
    7. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google, created, which supports social entrepreneurs and has raised over $1 billion.
    8. Legendary venture capitalist John Doerr is leading an effort to raise $100 million for microcredit loans.
  • The Grameen Bank, the leading example for social entrepreneurs worldwide, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
  • The Bridgespan Group, a consulting group that advises social entrepreneurs, received 1,800 applications for 18 job openings in 2006.

Customer Reviews:

  • A remarkable anthology of the contributions
    How To Change The World: Social Entrepreneurs And The Power Of New Ideas is a remarkable anthology of the contributions of pioneer visionaries, whose ideas were so groundbreaking they sparked an improvement in the fabric of society. From seemingly invisible social movements in Brazil, to a child protection hotline in India, to assisted living for the disabled in Hungary, and so much more, How To Change The World spotlights organizations, people, and philosophies all dedicated to making the world a better place. A scattering of black-and-white photographs adds a visual touch to a supremely upbeat and uplifting look at the positive changes that can be brought to humanity as a whole.

    ...more info
  • The perfect combination of inspiration and instruction!
    First of all, David Bornstein is an excellent writer. This book is very readable and without jargon, but it is not "dummed down" whatsoever. It is very thorough in both describing how various "social entrepreneurs" from around the world have succeeded in realizing their dreams to make the world a more liveable place and in laying specific guidelines for what it takes to become a successful social entrepreneur. He also alternates chapters from specific case studies to more general and practical tips on what one needs to do to succeed, thereby making it all the more interesting. In other words, after reading a case study, I would find myself inspired and wondering what I could do to put myself on the path towards social entrepreneurship. The next chapter would answer a lot of those questions and by the end of that chapter I couldn't wait to read more about real people and what they were doing to change the world.

    Before reading this book, I thought the title may too much hyperbole or perhaps a little "cheesey", but after finishing the book, the I think the title is perfect. In short, I highly recommend this book to anyone who's ever wished they could change the world for the better....more info
  • This way to Change!
    My takeaway from this highly inspirational book is: Dare to care. In a self-obsessed world, where the "I" reigns supreme, along comes a book that has the potential to change that for ever. I would be surprised if this book did not serve as a catalyst for all those people who are aching to leave their mark on the earth's future by altering the world for the better.

    In How to Change the World, author David Bornstein presents short biographies of ordinary citizens who have cared enough to actually go out and change what is wrong in society. The nine stories of social entrepreneurs or innovators, dubbed 'transformative forces' by the author, have the power to inspire readers to want to do something. The fine examples of social entrepreneurship within the pages of this book make one realize that there is hope for the planet after all.

    To quote Bornstein, "Across the world, social entrepreneurs are demonstrating new approaches to many social ills and new models to create social wealth, promote social well-being, and restore the environment." What is tremendously energizing is that so many of these change agents already exist and are moving mountains for you and me, and for our children.

    The major contribution of the book is that it underlines that one doesn't have to be rich or powerful to alter the current reality. What is required is to feel empathy and concern in high doses, and to recognize and understand a problem. The stories trace how, if one is sufficiently charged, creative ideas for `getting around' problem areas -- be it public apathy or bureaucratic indifference -- flow naturally. The hallmark of a true social entrepreneur really shines through at the next stage, when these ideas are converted into reality.

    For Bornstein, these illuminating stories are merely the fireworks display. What he goes on to do is to distill for us the factors that ensure success of any venture -- the do's, the don't's, the must-watch-out-for's, the how-to's. Everything that you ever needed to know about entrepreneuring, but didn't know where to start, is in here. What is the citizen sector and what have been its achievements thus far? What are the qualities of successful social entrepreneurs? What is so cutting-edge about their work that makes their strategy stand apart? Are they really effecting a systems change as against providing band-aid? What are the Four Practices of innovative organizations? Whom do you turn to if you want to become a social entrepreneur?

    Bornstein attempts to answer all these, and more. For the very first time ever, we have been given a viable, highly sophisticated blueprint for pattern-changing social action. Bornstein has done the world a service by putting this into the easy reach of anyone who has a conscience.

    Policy makers should make note of the book as it offers insights on how to look at problems and problem solving. It is particularly enlightening to note that all the social entrepreneurs in the book have facilitated some form of cross-sectoral partnership, be it with municipal-level governing bodies, state-level government departments, or businesses.

    The book also spotlights win-win models of strategic convergence between social good and businesses. Original and ingenious examples of the entrepreneurship process, and its effectiveness of strategy, could serve the business sector well.

    For academia, the book throws up diverse areas of social and economic concern that beg a relook and analysis.

    The media, saturated as it is with reports of a world gone horribly wrong, could infuse fresh hope and energy with incisive stories on the work of social entrepreneurs.

    And for young people, who hold the keys to the world's future, this book is a must-read. At an age when cynicism is almost a virtue, it will inspire them, and hammer home the realization that there is an alternative route to getting meaning from life. By changing others' lives....more info

  • Single best book I have read in past five years
    I read a lot, almost totally non-fiction, and for the past several years, after accidentally becoming a top Amazon reviewer on the strength of 300 reviews lifted from the annotated bibliographies of my first two books, I have been dedicated, as a hobby, to reading in the service of the public. My goal in life at the age of 55, what I learned from this book is called an "encore career," is to be intelligence officer to the five billion poor, and--I now realize from this book--to the social entrepreneurs that are changing the world on a scale and with a speed that governments cannot match.

    This book blew my mind, literally. It has not altered my course, but it has dramatically accelerated my ability to make progress by illuminating a path I thought I would have to discover. This book is the first "map" of a completely new form of endeavor, profoundly individual in inspiration and global in scale, that of social entrepreneurship, not to be confused with non-profit or non-governmental, more traditional forms.

    The author, apart from mapping examples (33, focused on education, health, protection, and access to electricity and technology), provides what I consider to be the single best preface/introduction I have ever read. Here are a few of the underlined bits:

    + hidden history unfolding
    + landscape of innovators
    + ratio of problem-focused information to solution-focused information is completely out of balance
    + reality distorted, people deprived of knowledge they could use
    + individual social entrepreneurs advancing systemic scalable solutions
    + new sector of social entrepreneurship now being taught, funded, and respected
    + two Nobel Peace Prizes (2004, 2006)--micro-finance now micro-everything
    + Ashoka, founded by Bill Drayton is the spine of the book
    + conceptual firewalls coming down, "whole brains" being used
    + influencing conventional businesses (going green, good) and governments (adopting unconventional education, kids teaching parents, etc)
    + "social entrepreneurs are uniquely suited to make headway on problems that have resisted considerable money and intelligence"
    + government are looking at problems from the outside, social entrepreneurs see problems--and solutions--from the inside
    + scale still a challenge, but coming
    + Students and local groups actively interested in hearing about this now
    + Students are leading the way, pushing for change in curriculums
    + optimism, hope, energy are being unleashed as never before--but not being properly mapped, reported, or appreciated outside small circles
    + new pathways being discovered every day in every place
    + changemakers far more numerous than any might have imagined
    + many levels of changemaker
    + charaqcterized by first-hand active engagement in reality
    + individuals driven to understand, and driven to remove shackles from others with shared knowledge (e.g. kids learning to fix pumps and spreading knowledge across villages with a speed and energy only quick-witten children could apply)
    + social entrepreneurship network now has sensors everywhere, millions of changemarkers, tens of thousands of organizations
    + far better mechanism to respond to needed than we have ever had before
    + decentralized and emergent force

    - not yet properly financed
    - lacking holistic public intelligence for voluntary harmonization against the ten threats, with the twelve policies, with a special focus on the eight challengers. (Learn more at Earth Intelligence Network)
    + emphasis on metrics slows down the needed pace of funding for innovation

    Core principles for social excellence (chapter twelve):
    + Putting Children in Charge
    + Enlisting "Barefoot" Professionals
    + Designing New Legal Frameworks for Environmental Reform
    + Helping Small Producers Capture Greater Profits
    + Linking Economic Development and Environmental Protection
    + Unleashing Resources in the Community You Are Serving
    + Linking the Citizen, Government, and Business Sectors for Comprehensive Solutions (this is where shared public intelligence and a shared Range of Gifts Table can harmonize disparate capabilities with a common interest in stabilization, reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, and relief)

    The book ends with a superb resource section including the following headings for lists of one-line access points:
    + Resources for People Seeking Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities
    + Organizations that Identify and/or Support (or Invest in) Social Entrepreneurs
    + Management, Funding, and Networking Resources for Citizen Organizations
    + Academic-Based Resources
    + Resources for Funders
    + Resources for Businesspeople

    The notes and index are totally professional.

    I put this book down with one final note: WOW!!!

    This is an Earth-changing book, an utterly brilliant, timely, ethical, wonderful piece of scholarship, journalism, vision and information sharing. I actually have tears in my eyes. This book is Ref A for saving the Earth seven generations into the future and beyond.

    Other books that support this one, but this one is unique:
    A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
    The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
    The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today's Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems
    The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter
    Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World
    Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
    Society's Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
    Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace
    The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
    The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)

    See also the books I have written, helped edit, or published, including our forthcoming COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace, edited by Mark Tovey with 55 contributors. It will be on Amazon 1 March 2008, and is offered free online at Earth Intelligence Network.

    In addition, I recommend the "52 Tough Questions" with transpartisan answers at Earth Intelligence Network, that address the ten high-level threats to humanity as identified by the UN study on "Creating a More Secure world" (free online and also sold via Amazon), the twelve policies that must be harmonized, and the eight challengers whom we must help avoid our mistakes of the past 100 years.

    This book by David Bornstein could not have come into my life at a better time--the New York Times calls it a bible in the field, I consider it to be my inspiration for my encore career. Simply spectacular. AMAZING--not just the book, but every person and organization the book names and discusses. WOW!!!...more info
  • Packed With Knowledge!
    You could fill a small library with books on what entrepreneurs do, how and why. However, until now, that library would have little to offer readers interested in non-profit entrepreneurship. The nine successful social entrepreneurs profiled here are global agents of change, risk takers and organization builders. However, they measure success not by how much money they make, but by how many lives they change. They care about helping abused children or parents with AIDS or impoverished farmers. In a saga that began as an article for The Atlantic Monthly, author and journalist David Bornstein profiles Bill Drayton, who founded an organization to support social entrepreneurs and foster citizen involvement. The book is a unique treatment of an important subject, and therefore valuable. Organizationally, it suffers from the author's decision to chop up the Drayton story and interject profiles of social entrepreneurs between the segments. The technique would probably work well in a television documentary, but gets a bit disjointed here. That quibble aside, we highly recommend this very significant book to anyone who wants to make a difference....more info
  • Blah, blah, blah
    Generalities, vague, smokey, generalities. Let's make nice and not say anything that might offend the powers that be.
    Want to REALLY change the world? Read: HOW TO SAVE AMERICA AND THE WORLD by Joseph Francione...more info
  • If you want real change in the world or your life, read this
    David Bornstein's book How to Change the World is worth reading if you
    a) prefer action instead of stagnancy
    b) prefer good solutions instead of persisting problems
    c) prefer justice and opportunity instead of poverty and neglect, or,
    d) prefer good writing, period.

    Bornstein accurately writes, "Anyone who has ever dreamt of solving a problem or making a positive change in his or her environment will find encouraging and instructive stories here." He takes us around the world to visit social entrepreneurs and find out what makes these people tireless fighters for their causes.

    Each profile is like an episode of VH1's Driven - we see what inspires these people, how they overcome obstacles, and why they succeed - but instead of following a pop star to a record deal and a fleet of Escalades, we watch social entrepreneurs achieve rights for people with disabilities, compassionate home care for HIV / AIDS patients, and electricity for the rural poor. Unlike celebrities or CEOs, these folks have no interest in fame and fortune. We are lucky indeed that Bornstein has taken it upon himself to describe their efforts; they are far too busy pursuing their dreams of a better world to stop and promote themselves. Many advocate endlessly for their causes, but as Bornstein points out, they have in common a willingness to work quietly, to share credit, and to plow through their own savings and time to make progress. Social entrepreneurs have a greater attachment to finding solutions than to being right, rich, or recognized.

    These and other common traits are highlighted throughout the book. We see that social entrepreneurs don't start with the perfect plan, they just have a complete commitment to solving a problem. Like a river they flow around obstacles of status quo, regulations, lack of funding, program design flaws, and changing needs, always adjusting and maneuvering to still reach their goals.

    The book is especially appropriate now because:

    1) Many people are questioning their ability to create change. No matter what your political leanings, it is easy to feel far from positions of power and authority. These profiles demonstrate that there is no stopping the power of a good idea in the hands of a passionate individual. Javed Abidi spent a year and a half lobbying for legislation that would ensure the rights of people with disabilities in India. With three days left of the government's session, the political parties were at an impasse. Abidi organized a protest of 300 people, got media attention, met with leaders, and the bill was signed into law. Abidi said, "India is a country where rallies of hundreds of thousands of people are not uncommon. Here was just a handful of people. But because they didn't stay home, it happened." Because Abidi called them, they didn't stay home.

    2) Many people question the meaning and richness of their lives and careers. For people who are looking for a more rewarding and fulfilling sector, there is endless opportunity in being or supporting a social entrepreneur. Jeroo Billimoria was headed for a career in accounting, but when her father died she rethought her plan and moved into social work. Billimoria started Childline, a toll-free number that street kids in India can call for help. Former street kids answer the phones (learning skills through the work) and connect those in trouble with the agencies that can help them. Childline gets 1.5 million calls a year, and is spreading to 57 cities, and now, internationally. You could be another Jeroo Billimoria. Or one of the social workers who helped her. Or an employee who works in her program. Or a politician who is spreading her ideas. Or a donor who is funding them.

    3) Many people are more aware of global problems. It's easy to get depressed upon realizing the widespread poverty, disease, and disadvantages that are so pronounced in the developing world. And it's easy to get even more depressed when you see that well-funded, top-down, international aid programs aren't really working. This book doesn't overwhelm with bleak statistics, but instead makes you realize that there are people with answers. You can be one of them, or you can help one of them, and that will make the difference. The book shows that this is a global phenomenon, and one that can be nurtured by global communication and access. Veronica Khosa didn't set out to change healthcare of AIDS patients globally. She wanted to help those who were not receiving treatment in her township in South Africa. Her homecare model was spotted by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS, and is now being supported and replicated.

    For those who are looking for real change, Bornstein offers this: "One of the most important things that can be done to improve the state of the world is to build a framework of social and economic supports to multiply the number and the effectiveness of the world's social entrepreneurs." The first step is to get this book....more info

  • great read on the subject of social entrepreneurs
    I enjoyed reading this book because it reminded me of chicken soup where every chapter started a new story about someone....more info
  • Great book - I recommend it to anyone
    This book is an easy read. Great book with stories about people who are having a major impact in the world. Unfortunately we don't read about them often enough in the newspaper and periodicals. Very inspiring. Enjoy!...more info
  • A historical and biographical account of social entrepreneurial heros and heroines
    I found it inspiring and at the same time intimidating to contemplate the brilliant, hardworking people who inhabit this book. All of them committed their lives, talents, and fortunes to tackle seemingly endemic and chronic social problems, starting small and eventually spreading their good works throughout their nations and even globally. I recommend the book for anyone trying to improve their communities' health and welfare....more info
  • Entrepreneurship at its Best
    As a serial entrepreneur and teacher of entrepreneurship at the college level, I see social entrepreneurs emerging all around me. While many of the tools and techniques used by social entrepreneurs are the same as those learned and used by their more traditional counterparts, there's a tremendous amount to be learned from role models who are focused on developing enterprises that target social causes. This book does a wonderful job introducing social entrepreneurship through the stories of people who are actually doing it. The individuals profiled in this book, along with their causes, are diverse and can teach us a lot, irrespective of how we label ourselves as entrepreneurs. In general, I found this book to be well written, informative and inspiring, and believe that it has a lot to offer to anyone who wants to make a difference in the world.

    Steven K. Gold
    Author, Entrepreneur's Notebook: Practical Advice for Starting a New Business Venture...more info
  • Motivation for Change Agents
    How to Change the World is a great compilation of social entrepreneur case studies. Just don't take the title too literally. This book is not a "how-to" manual for changing the world. I would also challenge the premise that non-profit entrepreneurs are the only people committed to positive world change. Nevertheless, the book serves as an inspirational review of good ideas and people committed to serving others. ...more info
  • Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!
    How to Change the World... is a fantastic book! I founded and this book has provided me so so so much insight and excitement. David, has out done himself, thank you Harry for gifting me this book! I will gift this book to all my social entrepreneurial friends.

    A must read for people who desire to change the world.

    Bravo, Ari...more info
  • Not exactly things that you can do in your off hours
    The "How to" in the title is deceptive. This isn't yet another book that advises you to conserve electricity in your home, or to donate to charities, or to volunteer at local homeless shelters. This is effectively a collection of short nonfiction stories telling about many personal accounts of social entrepreneurs: the sort of people who devote their entire lives to actually *go out there* to make changes happen, who create organizations, not people who just support organizations. These are stories about people who actually went out and helped construct solar panels to bring electricity to rural Brazil, people who actually run a street-youth safety hotline in India. These are in a very different league from things like conserving water by turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth. These aren't things that anybody can just do in their spare time. A lot of the cases of social entrepreneurship described in this book are things I haven't even heard of before. There are grayscale photos of the people and events. There's a lot of statistics. Both defeats and victories are described. This seems to be a college textbook, not light reading. At the back are extensive lists of reference websites.

    Suggestions: if possible, get it from the library before buying it, to decide if you're ready for owning this heavy of reading. Expect to read a few chapters at a time, not in a single sitting. You probably don't need to take notes to keep track of it. This would be an excellent book to have a friend read also, so that you can discuss the significance of the anecdotes told in it. ...more info
  • Inspirational and Practical
    Having been most inspired by his remarkable study of the Grameen Bank (The Price of a Dream) and his articles for Ashoka at, I was delighted to a new Bornstein tome. And, in fact, this surpasses all my expectations. What a phenomenal tour of some of the most remarkable changemakers who, quite independently from one another, are creating a quiet revolution in how we think about creating a new world that is based not on top-down solutions but on local initiative. This is much more than a compendium of fascinating stories, however; Mr. Bornstein provides a very profound study of just what we can all do to become participants in this adventure of social entrepreneurship. Bravo, Mr. Bornstein!...more info
    This inspirational book should be in the hands of every career development person in every high school, college, and university. If I had known in my twenties or thirties (quite a while ago) that the field of "social entrepreneur" existed, it would have influenced my career path. Bornstein gives full credit to Bill Drayton's pioneering work with Ashoka in identifying the skill and character set necessary to succeed as a social entrepreneur and then finding and supporting these people in numerous countries around the globe. Readers can begin to assess, perhaps with feedback from friends and colleagues who know them well, whether or not they have what it takes to make it as a social entrereneur. By publicizing this field, which up until now has largely been flying under the radar of media attention, Bornstein has provided a significant public service. As more people learn about this new profession, more people with the skill and character set will get into it. As a result, more social problems in more countries will be addressed in ways that work and that can be replicated regionally and nationally. Just as social entrpreneurialism is a powerful leverage point for positive social change, I predict this book will be a leverage point for the development of social entrepeneur as a new career option. IF, and this is an important "if", it gets into the right hands, namely, people who influence career choices. After reading this book, if you agree, you can amplify the public service by recommending it to any career development professionals you know. Some future social entrepeneurs and the future beneficiaries of their work will thank you....more info
  • Is there hope?
    Is there hope? Can we change the world? Is globalization a benefit to the world or a curse? The western world look at globalization as a curse (the loss of wealth and power status) while the rest of the world looks at it as hope for life and quality of life. Social Entrepreneurs have these and many other issues to contend with. This a good book and highly recommended. Also, Stop Working by Rohan Hall which deals with globalization and entrepreneurship is an excellent companion book that also deals with these challenges....more info


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