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Looking for literature that examines multiple ways for entrepreneurs to give back through corporate social responsibility initiatives can be challenging. Sure, tons of articles touch upon the topic, but finding works that take a deep look into the world of social corporate responsibility, nonprofit creation and self-sustaining social initiatives can take more digging.
If you’re determined to become a social entrepreneur, I applaud your passion and vision. I also have a few books to recommend for your reading list this year. Each one provides valuable insights, shares insider hints and covers concerns specific to social entrepreneurs.
According to plenty of outdated business beliefs, successful companies must place profits above all and greed helps founders sleep better at night. Peter Milewski lays these myths to rest by highlighting how putting philanthropy first and profitability second makes sense if you intend to create a lasting legacy. I’m a big believer in the power of giving instead of receiving, and this book points out why it’s a smart corporate model. Feel Good will resonate with anyone who lives by the principle of altruism rather than avarice.
Social entrepreneurs may want to save the planet, but they have a peculiar Achilles’ heel: They neglect themselves. I should know—I’ve been guilty of trying to play the hero, only to fall short because I burn myself out. Alex Counts argues that a dreamer without personal life balance can never truly achieve his or her bigger missions. He recommends that service-driven leaders be just as caring of their own needs as they are of others’.
In Thirst, Scott Harrison recounts his personal transformation from frequently drugged-out nightclub promoter to the founder of a charity: water, a nonprofit that has provided clean drinking water to 9.6 million people—and counting—around the world. In true social entrepreneur style, Harrison united deep commitment to his cause with the promotional and branding skills he acquired as an NYC businessman, bringing life and health to millions in the process. I dare you not to be inspired by Thirst.
Yes, you can build a better social entrepreneurship mousetrap. You just have to start from square one with new eyes. Jacob DeNeui outlines strategies to reframe your organizational structure based on what makes sense for your mission, not what other businesses have done. I’m no design specialist, but the way the author uses graphics to illustrate his words makes me confident I can put his wisdom to use. Besides, I’m a fan of anyone who dares to be a pioneer.
I served in the U.S. Peace Corps, so the title of this book alone was enough to draw me in. After that, I was blown away by the gamification concepts Katie Patrick uses. She brings a fresh sense of play and perspective to tough, serious topics like saving the planet. At the same time, her assertions make sense as she lays out her strategies and then proves them using game theory concepts. You can’t help but be transformed by How to Save the World.
Does it seem like some movements swell out of nothing to take on lives of their own? Would you like your social idea to do likewise? Gregg Satell argues that movements can be planned and foster predictable outcomes. The key is setting up the change process so it follows a reliable growth pattern. I particularly appreciate the way Satell uses observations from past failed and winning disruptive events to prove his points.
Building a Successful Social Venture: A Guide for Social Entrepreneurs by Eric Carlson and James Koch
Sometimes, we need a playbook to breathe life into our goals. This book provides a framework for constructing a social enterprise based on a bottom-up perspective. Not only does it offer how-to advice, but it challenges our thoughts about the way organizations are supposed to be set up. I love a good mental shake-up that gets the creative juices flowing, and Building a Successful Social Venture certainly delivers.
June 30, 2019 at 09:03PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs