Finished reading the book How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein a couple of days back. The book was given to me by CSIM(Center for Social Initiative and Management) as part of joining kit for the SEOP (Social Entrepreneurship Outlook Program) course. I was wary of the book because of its title which sounded on the lines of "How to get rich" and "How to make friends". So I was out of town for a couple of days and decided to start reading it. It is a book worth reading and, no, it not exactly on the lines of the "get rich" type of books.David delves into the experiences of Bill Drayton, Ashoka (the organization he founded) and Ashoka fellows to explore the field of social entrepreneurship. What I like about the book is that the it realises that there is no magic potion for an entrepreneur or more specifically a social entrepreneur. Keeping this in mind, the author travels across countries and meets social entrepreneurs working in diverse fields, under diverse conditions - type of government being just one of them. Stories of these Ashoka fellows is interspersed with chapters where the author tries to find a thread connecting social entrepreneurs and make for an interesting read. I would recommend the book for even those who are just plainly interested in reading a good book.The parts that I particularly like - Bill Drayton's life and his meticuloous approach to selecting fellows, James Grant and his tenacity, Fabio Rosa and his willingness to
"...make one heap of all your winningsAnd risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,And lose, and start again at your beginningsAnd never breath a word about your loss;...."
Readers who may not have heard about Jeroo Billimoria, Joe Madiath, Gloria de Souza will really like their stories and appreciate their contribution to Indian society. Coming to wanna-be social entrepreneurs, again, the book does not claim to be a Do it yourself guide to Social Entrepreneurship but the patterns it discovers in organizations and individuals working in the social development sector are compelling. I would have liked to see more stories on projects/ideas that could not take off. It really helps put things in perspective instead of painting a hunky dory picture of light at the end of the tunnel. At the same time I feel there are occassions where committed individuals have not let failures affect them and hence we do not see Fabio Rosa's efforts go in vain (because of the government of the day).
Do read it.