Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book Review: How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein




My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I remember feeling very self-conscious whenever I read or carried this book around in public. Friends, whenever they see you carrying a book, will always ask "What are you reading?" I'd sheepishly show them the cover, anticipating what I know was coming next.. An "Emily, are you really trying to change the world?" or "Oh Em, you know you can't save the world, right?"


Had I read Novogratz by then, I would have retorted with a "Probably not, but I'd be happy enough if I could manage to give it a nudge." But I haven't read 'The Blue Sweater' by then, so I usually just smiled back and kept quiet.


Anyway, on to my review..


David Bornstein's "How to Change the World" traces the beginnings of the Ashoka Foundation, starting with the vision of its founder, Bill Drayton. Through a series of case studies on the different Ashoka fellows, Bornstein outlines and illustrates Drayton's principles of how Social Entrepreneurs can change the world.


I was intrigued by the concept of a Social Entrepreneur. I've always wanted to figure out the best way that I can merge advertising/marketing and advocacy. In the Social Entrepreneur, I saw that Drayton has found a way to merge business principles and social change. I wanted to know how he did it.


So I absolutely loved the fact that Drayton is a practical sort of man. As with anyone with a strong advocacy, he values passion and empathy in people. But at the same time, he acknowledges that it takes a certain kind of personality, skills and thinking to be able to make a real difference. He specialized in sifting through people with good hearts to separate the theorists from the real change agents. The "particular type of actor who propels social change." And this book covers everything from how to spot those people, how to support them, how to breed a whole generation of them, and a blueprint of how to replicate successful models all over the world.


Bornstein puts it this way:


"Over the past century, researchers have studied business entrepreneurs extensively..


In contrast, social entrepreneurs have received little attention. Historically, they have been cast as humanitarians or saints, and stories of their work have been passed down more in the form of children's tales than case studies. While the stories may inspire, they fail to make social entrepreneurs' methods comprehensible. One can analyze an entrepreneur, but how does one analyze a saint?"


And realizing this, Bornstein and Drayton gave us the Ashoka Foundation and "How to Change the World" so we have a practical map to change instead of another lovely fable.














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