25 must-read books for social entrepreneurs

Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works – Roger L. Martin

In this compelling book, strategy guru Roger L. Martin and Skoll Foundation President and CEO Sally R. Osberg describe how social entrepreneurs target systems that exist in a stable but unjust equilibrium and transform them into entirely new, superior, and sustainable equilibria.


Understanding Social Entrepreneurship: The Relentless Pursuit of Mission in an Ever Changing World – Jill Kickul & Thomas S. Lyons

Understanding Social Entrepreneurship is the leading textbook that provides students with a comprehensive overview of the field. It brings the mindset, principles, strategies, tools and techniques of entrepreneurship into the social sector to present innovative solutions to today’s vexing social issues.


Social Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century: Innovation Across the Nonprofit, Private, and Public Sectors – Georgia Levenson Keohane

“Entrepreneurship and venture thinking don’t reside only in Silicon Valley; they can be found in the nonprofit sector, and they are changing the social fabric of nations and cultures around the world. Just how the nonprofit sector has evolved into a powerful agent of social change is the story expertly told by Georgia Levenson Keohane in Social Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century. This is a hugely important book for those who want to understand the nonprofit world and its evolving role.” –ELIOT SPITZER, former governor of New York and host of Current TV’s Viewpoint


Social Entrepreneurship: New Models of Sustainable Social Change – Alex Nicholls

Themed around the emerging agendas for developing new, sustainable models of social sector excellence and systemic impact, Social Entrepreneurship offers, for the first time, a wide-ranging, internationally-focused selection of cutting-edge work from leading academics, policy makers, and practitioners. Together they seek to clarify some of the ambiguity around this term, describe a range of social entrepreneurship projects, and establish a clear set of frameworks with which to understand it.

The Business of Good: Social Entrepreneurship and the New Bottom Line – Jason Haber

Haber shares the stories of inspiring young people that are disrupting established norms and changing the world. This is a must read book for Millennials, business executives, nonprofits, doers, and dreamers–The Business of Good brings a much-needed fresh and innovative look at social entrepreneurship.


People Over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful – Dale Partridge

Every day major headlines tell the story of a new and better American marketplace. Established corporations have begun reevaluating the quality of their products, the ethics of their supply chain, and how they can give back by donating a portion of their profit to meaningful causes. Meanwhile, millions of entrepreneurs who want a more responsible and compassionate marketplace have launched a new breed of socially focused business models.


Solidarity Economy and Social Business: New Models for a New Society – Noriatsu Matsui & Yukio Ikemoto

With an ever-greater disparity between the world’s rich and poor, actions have been taken to remove the imperfections and remedy malfunctions of the market mechanism. An underlying theme of these activities is to connect people and make them directly visible to one another; thus the integrating concept of the “fi economy” emerges. This volume analyzes diverse examples and practices of solidarity economy.


Social and Solidarity-based Economy and Territory: From Embeddedness to Co-construction – CIRIEC & Xabier Itçaina

SSE provides an innovative answer to changes in socio-economic and political regulations, by promoting new forms of territorial cooperation. Despite the differences between the case studies, all the chapters of this book contribute towards a balanced approach to the territorial regimes of the SSE which interweaves socio-economic approaches to local and community development, analysis of SSE governance, social mobilizations and territorial policymaking.


Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know – David Bornstein & Susan Davis

In development circles, there is now widespread consensus that social entrepreneurs represent a far better mechanism to respond to needs than we have ever had before–a decentralized and emergent force that remains our best hope for solutions that can keep pace with our problems and create a more peaceful world.


Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship – Teresa Chahine

Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship summarizes the basic steps and tools needed to understand the challenge you are tackling, develop potential solutions, build a business model, measure, and grow your impact.


Systems Thinking For Social Change – David Peter Stroh

Systems Thinking for Social Change enables readers to contribute more effectively to society by helping them understand what systems thinking is and why it is so important in their work. It also gives concrete guidance on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning without becoming a technical expert.


Design Thinking for the Greater Good – Jeanne Liedtka

Through ten stories of struggles and successes in fields such as health care, education, agriculture, transportation, social services, and security, the authors show how collaborative creativity can shake up even the most entrenched bureaucracies―and provide a practical roadmap for readers to implement these tools.


Building Social Business – Muhammad Yunus

In Building Social Business, Yunus shows how social business can be put into practice and explains why it holds the potential to redeem the failed promise of free-market enterprise.


Social Entrepreneurship: A Modern Approach to Social Value Creation – Arthur C. Brooks

This book brings together the established pedagogy of entrepreneurship with cutting edge nonprofit and public management tools.


The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook – Ian C. MacMillan

Filled with accessible frameworks and tools, as well as inspiring stories of social entrepreneurs, The Social Entrepreneur’s Playbook is a must-read for any aspiring or active social entrepreneur, as well as philanthropists, foundations, and nonprofits interested in doing more good with fewer resources.


Social Entrepreneurship: An Evidence-Based Approach to Creating Social Value – Chao Guo & Wolfgang Bielefeld

In Social Entrepreneurship, you’ll learn how to read markets and environments to identify opportunities for entrepreneurial activity. Then, the authors show to convert opportunities into successful ventures: one-time initiatives, ongoing programs and new, mission-driven organizations are all covered. Sector-specific strategies and recommendations guide readers directly to the techniques that will have the biggest impact.


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

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.


Social Entrepreneurship : Theory and Practice – Ryszard Praszkier & Andrzej Nowak

Social Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice details how social entrepreneurship can creatively solve pressing and seemingly insurmountable social problems. Theories of social change are presented to help demystify the “magic” of making an immense, yet durable and irreversible social impact.


The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change – Adam Braun

The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by [Braun, Adam]

The riveting story of how a young man turned $25 into more than 200 schools around the world and the guiding steps anyone can take to lead a successful and significant life.


Social Entrepreneurship: From Issue to Viable Plan – Terri D. Barreiro & Melissa M. Stone

This book introduces concepts that frame new ways to approach information gathering and analysis for social entrepreneurial ideas. The book provides you guidance on: (1) how to move from heart-tugging issues to social entrepreneurial opportunities with high potential; (2) how to understand and assess the societal and policy environment in which the opportunity would be implemented; (3) how to analyze and select the best approaches for that circumstance; and (4) how to communicate the product or new approach to gain investors, grants, and community engagement.


Social and Solidarity Economy: Beyond the Fringe? – Peter Utting

Bringing together leading researchers and thinkers from around the world, Social and Solidarity Economy blends theoretical and empirical analysis and draws on case studies from a variety of countries.


The Solidarity Economy Alternative: Emerging Theory and Practice – Vishwas Satgar

A crucial idea and practice emerging from this ferment is the solidarity economy alternative. This book brings together contributions from leading thinkers and practitioners supporting the solidarity economy alternative in South Africa, the US, the UK, Brazil, and Italy. For the first time, there is an attempt to clarify, rather than codify, meanings of the solidarity economy, to emphasize crucial theoretical concepts at work in the emergent solidarity economy, and to highlight situated movement-building experiences and ways in which the anti-capitalist logic of the solidarity economy can be constituted from below. The book is for anyone concerned about democracy, transformative politics, and emancipatory utopian alternatives.


Solidarity Economy: Building Alternatives for People and Planet Carl Davidson

This book contain the core papers, discussion and debates on the topic at the U.S. Social Forum of 10,000 people in Atlanta in the summer of 2007.


Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities – J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, Stephen Healy

Full of exercises, thinking tools, and inspiring examples from around the world, Take Back the Economy shows how people can implement small-scale changes in their own lives to create ethical economies. There is no manifesto here, no one prescribed model; rather, readers are encouraged and taught how to take back the economy in ways appropriate for their own communities and context, using what they already have at hand.


What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism – Fred Magdoff, John Bellamy Foster

What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism tackles the two largest issues of our time, the ecological crisis and the faltering capitalist economy, in a way that is thorough, accessible, and sure to provoke debate in the environmental movement.


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