How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas --- A Book Review

Recently, I read How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein. This book started off as somewhat vague in my opinion and I thought to myself how can this be just about new ideas changing the world!? There must be something more these people do. And in fact, as I read through the book, I realized that the author was trying to draw the reader's attention to the fundamental reason why any change occurred.

Right off the bat, let me point out one of the major flaws in this book. The title implies that this will be a guide in HOW TO to do something. The many examples can instill hope and inspire you to want to bring about change, but never guides you in how to implement the change. Nevertheless, this book can be of great inspiration to perhaps start training your mind is identifying opportunities where there may be the possibility of change.

The book tries to illustrate the power of ideas in its various forms by using for a lack of better word case studies. It focuses its lens into the non-profit sector and explains the ideas that come through to create a more just and equitable future for the players involved in that field.

A couple of things that really stuck with me was this idea of what social entrepreneurship was.“Social entrepreneurship is not about a few extraordinary people saving the day for everyone else. At is deepest level, it is about revealing possibilities that are currently unseen and releasing the capacity within each person to reshape a art of the world” (Bornstein, xvi). I was really inspired by this simple notion to think that the moment an opportunity can be seen and explained, it could be the easiest path for change. Having volunteered for many non-profits over the years with different aims, it kind of put into perspective why time and energy were being spent in these areas.

Bornstein also talks about this idea of creative destruction. I found this to be quite important as whenever there is change that needs to be made, my first thought is always, how can I be least controversial about this. However, he tries to bring to attention the necessity often to chip away at structural discrepancies or hindrances that prevent even the opportunity for change to come about and therefore, it sometimes becomes about working towards stopping what isn't working and then coming up with something that will.

It would be easy to keep going about the different things, and perhaps this post seems just as vague as I believed the book to be when I began reading it. However, pondering the ideas presented and thinking about them if you wanted in terms of the case studies presented really makes you think about non-profits and the idea of change in a new light.

As a final thought, I want to leave you with a rough framework that Bornstein provides for creating change. He proposes that first attitudes, expectations,and behaviors need to be changed. Meanwhile, disbelief, prejudice, and fear need to be overcome.Finally, a new order needs to be found that is ethically driven.
Again, this may theoretical in nature, but it definitely has its value when evaluating your own ideas of change and the role of non-profits.

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