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Becoming a Changemaker: An Actionable, Inclusive Guide to Leading Positive Change at Any Level

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“… A catalyst for a new generation of leaders committed to changing the world for the better.”--Dan Heath, co-author of Switch and Made to Stick.

In Becoming a Changemaker, Alex Budak provides a fresh, inspiring and research-backed guide to developing the mindsets and leadership skills needed to navigate, shape, and lead change and to make a positive impact in our lives, career, and communities. 
Through a diverse series of case studies, and brand new insights from his original research on the traits the most successful changemakers have in common, Alex provides an actionable, inclusive guide for people of all backgrounds, levels, ages, and industries to get unstuck and to start leading change from wherever they are.
The book is based on Budak’s wildly-popular class of the same name at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business that changemakers like Olympic athlete Alicia Wilson describe as "life changing."   Accessible and energizing concepts like Microleadership show how each of us can lead from where we are, and principles like “Confidence without Attitude,” “Question the Status Quo,” and “Beyond Yourself'' provide a framework for stepping into our own unique changemaker potential.    

304 pages, Hardcover

Published September 13, 2022

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About the author

Alex Budak

1 book15 followers
Alex Budak is a social entrepreneur, faculty member at Berkeley Haas, and the author of Becoming a Changemaker. He teaches, speaks, and writes to help people make a positive impact in their lives, career, communities, and society.

At UC Berkeley, Alex created and teaches the transformative course, “Becoming a Changemaker,” and is a Lecturer and Faculty Director for Berkeley Executive Education programs.

As a social entrepreneur, he co‐founded StartSomeGood.com, ran Sweden’s most prominent social innovation incubator, Reach for Change and helped Change.org scale globally.

He has given talks on leadership, entrepreneurship, and changemaking around the world from Cambodia to Ukraine to the Arctic Circle, and at the White House, UN Agencies, and leading companies.

A graduate of UCLA and Georgetown University, Alex loves travel adventures (39 countries and counting), rooting for the underdog, and spending time with his two favorite changemakers: his wife, Rebecca, and their toddler son.

More at alexbudak.com.

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Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews
1 review
September 11, 2022
Through this book, I was able to develop a changemaker mindset and seek opportunities to lead change no matter where I am. It includes numerous diverse and insightful stories that make change seem less daunting, and it emphasizes changemaking as an action that anyone can take. This book feels especially important to the younger generation as we are the ones catalyzing change to build a better world. Overall, I strongly recommend it!
Profile Image for Steph Cheng.
4 reviews
September 5, 2022
Reading this book felt like the wakeup call I had been seeking for years now. Many books of this genre either fall too far on the fluff/inspiration side, or the dry social science research side. Becoming a Changemaker hit that sweet spot between absolutely perfectly! I really appreciated that the case studies in the book are honest and realistic looks and what it takes to lead change, and that the author clearly put effort into highlighting a diverse collection of changemakers across every dimension. The chapters close with neat summaries and challenges, and so I found myself regularly feeling equal parts inspired, and also ready to take action because of what I had just read. I really can't say enough good things about Becoming a Changemaker. I think it's a magical and transformational book and I will keep coming back to it in the months and years ahead I'm sure.
24 reviews21 followers
September 12, 2022
Thank you to Hachette for sending me an advanced copy for this phenomenal book! I am always looking for ways to improve and Becoming a Changemaker was the perfect read for this. I love how the concepts were always illustrated by examples, making the book relatable, fun, and easy to read. Highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about leading change (even in your daily life).
Profile Image for Judith Altman.
10 reviews2 followers
September 6, 2022
These days when the issues of the world can be overwhelming and discouraging, I welcome this actionable and inspiring book. It makes the point that you don’t need to “be in charge” to make a positive impact. On the contrary, the premise is that each of us has the potential to generate positive change.

This book, based in research and utterly approachable, helps one to develop the mindset and the skills to lead positive change and shape a better future. The book is based on the author’s popular course at UC Berkeley which teaches students to lead positive change as a way of being and not waiting until one is in a more formal leadership role.

Each chapter in the book addresses important topics such as building a changemaker mindset, questioning the status quo, maintaining confidence without attitude (yes!), seeing beyond yourself, always being a student, leaning into changemaker leadership, and making change that sticks.

It is filled with many interesting case studies and numerous illustrations and examples. The stories are engaging and insightful. Unlike many leadership books, they aren’t the typical stories of CEOs but rather span across multiple industries, age levels and inherent abilities. Each is an insightful and relatable example of what being a changemaker looks like in action.

What I appreciate most in this book is the inclusiveness of the author’s approach. He makes the point that absolutely anyone can be a changemaker if they are guided by a changemaker mindset. As a result, this book left me with a sense of hope and empowerment about having a positive impact on the massive challenges and issues that we face in our world today.
September 9, 2022
Becoming a Changemaker is such an inspiring and well written book. Professor Budak provides so many pieces of meaningful advice, real changemaker stories, and other valuable information about creating an impact and also about how anyone is capable of creating a positive impact. I truly believe anyone can take something meaningful away from this book.
1 review
September 9, 2022
"Becoming a Changemaker" talks about creating social impact, psychological safety, failure, leadership styles and other relevant topics interesting for those who want to learn how to play a role in making a positive change in any level in our society. I totally recommend it! Super enjoyable :)
Profile Image for Julie.
213 reviews
January 17, 2023
I read this book for a work project, and I admit it's not a narrative style I would typically choose to read. The author, a professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, bases the structure on his own course syllabus, a claim substantiated by examples of student approaches to tasks described as part of applying the concepts presented. Still, it reads more as a mass market self-help book than a business school text, but that's perhaps appropriate for a broad audience. The strength of the book, and its relevance especially to entry level and less senior staff, is in the acknowledgement of hierarchical structures in a typical workplace and the challenges of emerging as a changemaker early in one's career. In fact, I'd recommend the book specifically to those early in their career and lower in organizational hierarchies. Rather than being one of many many books on leadership strategies, this is genuinely a guide to being just what it says, a changemaker, someone who sees opportunity for social and/or organizational change and strives to be an agent of change, with a focus on strategies for influencing change when one does not yet have a position of influence or authority.

Honestly, I wish I'd read this book earlier in my career, and I would recommend to those who I recognize as having that desire to be a changemaker irrespective of their position in an organizational hierarchy.
Profile Image for Omar Rincon.
1 review
September 13, 2022
This book offer a very digestible way to organize your ideas and transform them into action with a specific framework in mindset and leadership application. Very smooth reading, rich in current stories as close as the COVID-19 crisis, that help you picture and put concepts in the real world. What I think is most important, this book will empower you. It will help you understand the capacity you have to create Change and how important is to not limit your ideas but rather thinking on scalable systematic changes. At the same time, it remind you the impact you can have in a micro level, and how leadership go farther than simply having a title.
1 review
September 13, 2022
Anyone can be a changemaker-- my core takeaway after reading this book in one sitting!

If you’re a young leader, entrepreneur, or even a professional wanting to take the next step in their career, this is the read for you! Not only was this book eye-opening and confidence-boosting for me as an introvert, but it tangibly instilled the skills (accompanied by tons of real-life cases!) needed to thrive as a leader no matter the personality, background, or industry you belong to.

This book could not have come at a better time for me. Check out this book written by one of UC Berkeley Haas’s top faculty members!
1 review
January 4, 2023
I read this book about 3 weeks ago and literally can't stop thinking about the stories and insights from it. I normally read on Kindle but I specifically bought the physical book because I had SO many notes that I had to write in the margins. There's sometimes that the right book comes at just the right time and this was it. It's written in an inclusive way with stories of so many different types of changemakers that even though I started it wondering if I actually was or could be a changemaker and I finished it knowing that I AM A CHANGEMAKER. I never write review of books, that's how strongly I feel about this book and its impact!
23 reviews
January 20, 2023
Alex Budak provides a clear and attention grabbing manual to leading change in an age where anyone can make a difference.

Many of the insights in this book have reminded me of challenges i've faced and lessons I've learned in my own changemaking journey. The rest have already started to change my mind about how to lead change going forward. I've already decided to keep this book by my bedside as a manual/sanity check anytime I am leading a changemaking initiative going forward.

I'd recommend this to anyone interested in getting things done, moving the world forward, and making change wherever they go.
September 13, 2022
I love this book, especially all the little activities laid out within the lessons that help put things in a visual aspect, which I appreciate as a visual and demonstrative learner! Alex Budak has a sense of humbleness and wiseness that pops out throughout the book. This book sets such an inspiring tone that lets everyone know that we are worthy of becoming changemakers no matter our background and provides us the tools to do so. I 10/10 recommend this book, especially to those aspiring to create change, no matter how big or small, but don't know where to start!
Profile Image for Ben Lamorte.
Author 3 books9 followers
November 10, 2022
Made me want to take the class at Berkeley.
I love the “Go Fail” exercise.

While a third of this book refers to basic info that most educated people should already know, it is packed with poignant real changemaker case studies that will inspire most every reader.

This is a timely book right now as the problems in the world seem to be growing exponentially. If we all read this book, I expect many of the problems will get solved. Kind of a must read for all of us. We can all be part of the solution.
Profile Image for Fred Rose.
508 reviews14 followers
December 2, 2022
Not as helpful as I had hoped but nonetheless a good book. The Canvas is probably the most useful part, it's an easy way to build this into a course or workshop; or to develop conversation around the topics. It's a blend of business model canvas, Theory of Change and personal skills/attributes so its worth being on the shelve if you teach or coach aspects of this. Unlike just a list of anecdotes, the canvas gives some action steps which makes it worthwhile. There is nothing revolutionary in the book, it's a good solid compendium of best practices.
Profile Image for Fay Gordon.
4 reviews
December 14, 2022
Excellent book! I am not someone who would ever think of myself as a changemaker, but the research and stories throughout this book shifted my thinking. The author uses clear details from his class and research to illustrate his ideas, and they certainly stay with the reader. My one disappointment after reading the book is that I can't go back to college and take the author's course! An energizing and inspiring read.
September 6, 2022
The idea at the core of this book — that anyone can become a changemaker — is amplified by stories of leaders like Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia), Jacinda Ardern (Prime minister of New Zealand), and Caroyln Davis (Walmart). This book is relatable, a fun read, and extremely inspiring. Thanks to Hachette for sharing an advance copy of the book with me!
September 11, 2022
This book is a fantastic read for those who have an itch to spark change in the world but don't know how. Budak gives provides a tool kit to become the change you like to see in the world. Even if you are not interested in making change on a large scale, this book is fantastic for learning how to make a positive change from where you are.
September 11, 2022
This is an incredible book that touches beyond just business and provides tangible mechanisms to build changemaker qualities. I have already started implementing some of the tips that the author outlines in areas like empathy, microleadership, and having a growth mindset. If you want to be a leader that actually creates meaningful change in the world, this book is for you.
September 13, 2022
I would recommend this book to anyone who is trying to fulfill their purpose, whether it be in their family, at their, job, or in their community. The chapter that resonated with me most was Chapter 8: Becoming the Leader You Wish You had as this helped me understand from a fundamental level that we don't necessarily need a strong role model or mentor in order to become one.
1,593 reviews22 followers
Want to read
October 7, 2022
Good stuff for leaders and aspiring ones. A good addition to your leadership library. This is polished material presented over a long time in a classroom setting.

I really appreciate the free review copy for review!!
Profile Image for Jim.
633 reviews
October 12, 2022
An actionable story of how one can become a changemaker and take action now. An easy to follow guide that allows anyone to take action and invoke change in their part of the world. Well worth the time to read and implement.
Profile Image for Carmen Glass.
17 reviews1 follower
Shelved as 'maybe'
November 1, 2022
An interesting read for people in business/those in or wishing to be in leadership roles. This is a well-researched read that's backed by the author's case studies and research. Overall, a very interesting read!
Profile Image for Kat Murray.
1 review3 followers
October 5, 2022
Terrific read with lots of anecdotes and actionable guidance for anyone who wants to be more active in building their world towards a better version of what we can all be.
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews

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