Books Every Social Entrepreneur Should Read

Books take us on an incredible journey—sometimes real, and sometimes not—that hopefully encourage us to be creative, to realize what is possible, and to imagine new possibilities.

What books inspire you? What books have really stuck with you? And what are you looking forward to reading?

We asked the 2011 Echoing Green Finalists these questions and they shared books ranging from fiction, to how-to, to nonfiction and childhood favorites. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was a top pick among many, as was Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, How to Change the World by David Bornstein, and Good to Great by Jim Collins. Who we are as children and what we want to be when we are young are wonderful indicators of our future careers—so it was enlightening to see books from Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein amongst the books as well.

Our colleagues have also generated some wonderful collections:

  • took an interesting angle, sharing five history books social entrepreneurs should read:
  • Acumen Fund’s list, quite appropriately, concentrates on those books that focus on the bottom of the pyramid:
  • SocialEdge has two lists, no less! A broad list of good reads and more helpful books on the nuts and bolts of social entrepreneurship:

So, what’s on your list? Share them with us. We’ll compile them and share it out!

Photo by Paul Watson.