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Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know(r)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  458 ratings  ·  41 reviews
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.

David Bornstein's previous book on social entrepreneurship, How
Paperback, 176 pages
Published April 15th 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2010)
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Mal Warwick
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Social Entrepreneurship:L What it Is, How it Works, and Where it's Going

After three decades of increasingly widespread public attention, a surprisingly large number of commentators in the field of social entrepreneurship continue to argue about the most basic question of all: What is a social enterprise, and what isn’t? In this superb little book, David Bornstein and Susan Davis straightforwardly put this question to rest: “Social entrepreneurship is a process by which citizens build or transfor
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a neat book. It's a quick read and gives a good synopsis of some of the most important principles and ideas for successful social ventures and entrepreneurship. This kind of work is so exciting to me! I love learning about it and am inspired by the work people are doing to make a difference in the world. Many want to help, but don't know where to begin. I still feel that way, but am inspired again to figure it out for me! :)

Social entrepreneurship is a process by which citizens build or
Prerit Jain
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book is really a good introduction to social entrepreneurship, you can have all your questions answered here. It is great to start with and understand the basics of what a social entrepreur do and what are the characterstics he/she should have. I totally recommend this book to all my socially motivated friends out there.
Nishant Gupta
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is divided into three parts, and I was going to give it one star after reading the first part of it. First part tries to define Social Entrepreneurship, and it uses too many euphemisms and jargon and projects Social Entrepreneurship as the most challenging holy grail and Social Entrepreneurs as larger than life people. I found it very conceited and obnoxious.
The tone mellows in the second part, and the third part of the book provides the much-needed redemption. Third part talks about h
Kressel Housman
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this while the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration was going on, and as pictures rolled in on my Facebook page (yes, I have friends down there), I couldn’t help but feel that I ought to take this book to the protest, stand up on a podium, and read it out loud. I sympathize with the anger that people feel over the financial crisis, but I just don’t see that protest engenders solutions. The ideas in this book, however, can. The author defines social entrepreneurship as a hybrid between phila ...more
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Social Entrepreneurship is a great primer in this exciting new area of business impacting social change. Bornstein and Davis provide thorough background and many examples of how social enterprises have evolved from the traditional humanitarian model to that of a viable business model. One phrase that stood out for me personally comes at the end of the last chapter and reads "The more honest your intention, the more genuine your attachment to the work, the more effective you will be- and the more ...more
Jena Anderson
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a great introductory book to the field of social innovation. It provides great theoretical and hands-on advice for anyone interested in making a difference in the world as a social entrepreneur. I was also impressed with the overarching principles of change-makers, and felt them applicable to other facets of life (part III was especially moving to me). This book is great for anyone who wants to learn about social entrepreneurship or think about their possible impact on the world.
Paulson Pulikottil
This is simple but all in one book on social entrepreneurship. Everything one need to know about social entrepreneurship and how to get involved is presented in a nutshell.
Read the complete review of this title at
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Despite the awful cover, I think this is a really great read for anyone wanting an introduction to social entrepreneurship. It also has a great list of recommended titles in the back pages.
Evan Armstrong
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book was a quick read into the basics of Social Entrepreneurship. I would definitely recommend it to those who are looking for an intro into Social Innovation/Entrepreneurship.
Feb 23, 2021 rated it liked it
This concept of this book, about the value of social entrepreneurship, is great. The execution left much to be desired. A few things which I appreciated. (1) The discussion about how entrepreneurship is vastly superior to government programs to solve complex issues in the world at all socio-economic classes was great. (2) The basic recognition of the great social entrepreneurial work happening around the world. (3) The basic laying out of ideas and struggles which entrepreneurship.

However, the m
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Since I'm falling behind on my reading goals, I'm officially counting all textbooks on Goodreads, as well. And this one is particularly interesting given my interest in the public sector. As a public administration student, it's different and refreshing to see a different take on social service provision from a private sector perspective.

Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know is a short and punchy guide to the emerging movement, and after finishing the book, I can understand its a
May 15, 2021 rated it liked it
This little book provides an overview of social entrepreneurship, but it will seem reasonably only if you’re not aware of non-US social entrepreneurship discourses. The neoliberal approach to social entrepreneurship typically focuses quite a bit on the individual, the hero that comes along and does something against all odds. Think American Dream. But social entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily that. In Europe, discourse around SE centers around the power of community and collaboration.

As a resul
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great introduction to the world of social entrepreneurship. Growing up as a young woman in America, society biased me towards pursuing non-business career opportunities. I grew up thinking business was about men and women in suits trying to get money for themselves and their ethically-questionable products. Not all businesses operate this way. This book educates and provides models of how business can be a force for good.
Janelle Año
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
A good introduction to social entrepreneurship, although not too technical.

Hoping for an expanded edition with more examples (not just Ashoka and Grameen Bank!) and resources for aspiring social entrepreneurs.
Nov 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Densely packed with knowledge about the social entrepreneurship field - the authors have uncovered gems in the field sharing their lessons learned, alongside broader ideas to allow individuals and corporations to support / contribute to improvements in society
Stefanie Halwas
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book to start. Easy to understand.
Mohammed Faiz Kamaludin
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent read on social entrepreneurship, concepts and introduction to this niche field of study.
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cmich
This book is a very digestible overview of social entrepreneurship and its relationship to society and governments. In my mind, it is a must-read for anyone who considers themselves an agent of change; it offered many simple but key insights into the field and how individuals engage in this work.
As a former high schooler involved in social justice and policy work I used to think I just happened to be involved in a really cool extra-curricular activity. I never really understood the potential for
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was given to me by a friend, after I mentioned I was looking to start a business that's environmentally and socially conscious.

I found that the first third of the book, which gives a definition to social entrepreneurship was long-winded and unnecessary. The second part of the book addressed the challenges of causing change, but was just as dry as the first third. Most people remotely interested in the topic would be able to list the majority of the problems listed in the book off
Ferhan Patel
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Social Entrepreneurship is an inspirational and hard-to-put-down book about what exactly social entrepreneurship is, and how it can be utilized for good. I love this book because it makes the idea of social entrepreneurship simple. It is not a complicated enterprise; rather, social entrepreneurship is a process that finds solutions to social problems, and makes life better for all. Bornstein writes this in his matter-of-fact way, putting the controversy over what exactly social entrepreneurship ...more
Sachin Ganpat
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a great read, as I have an interest in social enterprises and really liked how the authors laid down how social entrepreneurs are doing some great work out there.

The authors didn't go in depth as to how to create a social enterprise, but they did give some really great ideas as to the kinds of things you can do to help get social enterprises off the ground and how to handle the challenges ahead.

On the whole, I would recommend this book for anyone who wants an introduction to the world
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great overview over the field of social entrepreneurship. The outline is very clear and explains the history and development of the continously growing field. It is easy to read and recommendable to anyone who wants to know how they can create a sustainable change in the world. It shows very well that social entrepreneurs come from all walks of life including doctors, lawyers, business contains a lot of resources for those interested in engaging in the field be it studies, foundation ...more
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is thinking, or has thought about starting their own non-profit or social change organization. It discusses what social entrepreneurship is and its benefits and struggles in today's society.

It approaches social entrepreneurship as a process and also talks about interesting entrepreneurs who have been game changers on a global scale, i.e. Muhammad Yunus with the Grameen Bank.

Very interesting and a quick book that will make you think.
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A good follow-up to another of Bornstein's books: How To Change the World. Whereas that one was mostly about the rise of social entrepreneurship, and giving illustrative examples of organizations like Ashoka, this one focuses a bit more on finding ways to generalize the qualities that make these organizations work (though still showcasing many great examples). Recommended for anyone seeing inspiration for social justice and organizing for change. ...more
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great intro to the field and powerful ending leaving me with a feeling of empoweredness

I was already interested in SE since many years but never had heard the term until recently. This book does a great job at framing modern social change through SE and connecting all the different elements of society in this story: business, government, philanthropy, social entrepreneurs etc.

Recommended for anyone who would like to change the world but is not sure where to begin.
Jared Knowles
Aug 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Trite, disorganized, and full of hollow advice. This book gives you a lot of inspiring statements about how the world can be a better place and you can be part of it -- but lacks any tangible information about how to move forward. It is also promoting an alleged non-idealistic neoliberal view of social change that could be very dangerous for some types of causes.

Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
This gives a great full picture of the opportunities available today for social entrepreneurs. It helped set the stage for the various channels that passionate, dedicated, and globally aware people can make real change in their communities.
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It gives a very good overview of the topic and good references as resources to learn more about the topic, explore options to be engaged in change, and look for jobs in the field. I highly recommend it.
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it
The book is a quick read, and it is pretty informative about some of the social enterprises that have done well as well as provided a lot of additional information about where you can find out more info about social enterprise, as well as means of capital.

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David Bornstein specializes in writing about social innovation. He is the author of The Price of a Dream and How to Change the World, which has been published in 20 languages. His articles have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times, and many other publications globally. He co-wrote the PBS documentary "To Our Credit." He is the founder of, a Web site devoted to uncovering ...more

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12 likes · 2 comments
“In describing the causes of poverty, Muhammad Yunus has often compared a poor person to a bonsai tree. The seed of a bonsai has the potential to grow into a full-size tree, but, planted in a tiny pot, its growth is stunted. To Yunus, a person deprived of education or opportunity is like a bonsai. The constraint isn’t the seed, it’s the pot.” 0 likes
“Their stories have gone underreported. Even as news and information inundate us, the proliferation of people building new organizations to address social problems—millions of them—remains” 0 likes
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