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How to Change the World February 27, 2008

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Books, Reviews.
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[Cross-posted at the BBFI Blog.]

At a time when corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship and private philanthropy have moved front and center in the public consciousness, David Bornstein has put together a valuable resource by way of his book, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurship and the Power of New Ideas.

The book is structured mostly as a set of “case studies” in social entrepreneurship. It details the experiences of remarkable individuals around the world that have made a difference in their communities or fields of concern. Their achievements have also allowed them to be elected as Ashoka Fellows — Ashoka being the premiere global association for social entrepreneurs. As such, the book not only chronicles cases of ingenuity and perseverance in the realm of social development but also paints a vivid picture of the remarkable work that institutions such as Ashoka and the individuals associated with it do worldwide.

There is no disputing that Bornstein has made yet another important contribution to the literature on social entrepreneurship (the first being his earlier book on the Grameen bank). Indeed, it sometimes seems that the book seeks to do too much. Early on, it becomes clear that How to Change the World is at once a compendium of success stories on social entrepreneurship, a manuscript about the principles and workings of Ashoka, and a collection of personal insights on social entrepreneurship all rolled into one. For the individual sections concerned, the book manages to be each; yet taken as a whole, the discerning reader will find that Bornstein’s work is at best only two of these three things, depending on what she expected of the book coming into it. To be sure, this is not for lack of journalistic ability on the author’s part, but rather demonstrates an abundance of enthusiasm for the subject he is writing about.

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1. Books of 2008 « BRAIN DRAIN - December 30, 2008

[…] How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas […]


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