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Biographies of social innovators

There is a growing literature of books by pioneers of social ventures. They are remarkable narratives, containing many ideas and lessons for those engaged in social venturing. There are striking similarities in the kinds of obstacles and hostilities that they often meet with and how they are dealt with. They also show an inversion of customary ways of doing things, that have led to so many radical technological and organisational innovations.

Autobiographies and biographies of social ventures

Abdul Sattar Edhi, A Mirror to the Blind, A.Sattar Edhi Foundation, 2006

Andrew Mawson, The Social Entrepreneur: Making Communities Work, Atlantic Books, 2008

Augusto Boal, Legislative Theatre, New York, Routledge, 1998

Carlo Petrini, Slow Food Revolution, Rizzoli International, 2006

Danilo Dolci, The Outlaws of Partinico, MacGibbon and Kee, 1960

Dee Hock, One from Many, Visa and the Rise of Chaordic Organisation, Berrett-Koehler, 2005

Ela Bhatt, We are Poor But So Many, Oxford, 2006

Finkelpearl (ed) Dialogues in Public Art, MIT Press, 2001.

Harriet Lamb, Fighting the Banana Wars & Other Fair Trade Battles, Rider, 2008

Hilary Wainwright, Public Service Reform But Not as We Know it, Picnic, 2009 (the story of change in IT systems in Newcastle City Council).

Ian Smillie, Freedom from Want, The Remarkable Story of BRAC, Kumarian, 2009

Ibrahim Abouleish, Sekem: a Sustainable Community in the Desert, Floris, 2004

Jaime Lerner Acupuntura Urbana, Rio de Janeiro, Editora Record, 2003

M.P. Parameswaran, Democracy by the People: the Elusive Kerala Experience, Alternatives Asia, 2008

Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution, Rodale Press, 1978

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, “On Maintenance and Sanitation Art” in Tom

Muhummad Yunus, Banker to the Poor, Aurum Press, 2003

Pooran Desai and Sue Riddlestone, BioRegional Solutions for Living on One Planet, Green Books, 2003

Saul Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals, Vintage, 1969

Tim Smit, Eden, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2005 


Positioning of a Social Invention Centre Social inventions are the first time creations of laws, organizations and procedures that affect the ways people relate to themselves and others individually or collectively. Social innovations are inventions that have...