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Inspirational Reading for Creators of Impact

Good reads and the holidays just seem to go together, whether we’re curling up on a couch with a page-turner or unwrapping a package that can’t quite hide the unmistakable feel of “a book.”

If you’ve got time off over the holiday season, or are looking for a last-minute gift idea, our team has selected book that make great reading for those who are seeking to create impact in their work. 

So, let’s celebrate this magical reading season and turn the page, shall we?

The Magic of Tiny Business

Sharon Rowe

Do you need reassurance your social impact purpose will help you succeed, that you CAN put your family before your business, and that your business transitions are normal? Sharon Rowe’s book, The Magic of Tiny Business, is a tour of how to build the kind of purpose-driven company you desire. Rowe offers a radically honest account of her business journey – the insecurities, cash flow crises, last-ditch efforts—even wanting to throw in the towel at one point. The book’s central idea is about “finding your why,” your personal purpose, for starting your business in the first place. Turns out, a definitive “why” is essential for weathering the inevitable rough spots. It’s all here in 140 pages that are funny, relatable, and unflinchingly real. – Polina Pinchevsky

Lean Impact

Ann Mei Chang

Lean Impact explores how to innovate for radically greater social good. Ann Mei Chang shows you how to stay lean throughout your relentless pursuit of impact by prioritizing rapid experimentation and iteration, customer insights, and audacious goals. Perhaps the most impactful takeaway from the book is the distinction Chang draws between impact metrics and vanity metrics. While vanity metrics simply monitor a company’s impact-driven business efforts, true impact metrics measure the result of those efforts. By being more intentional and goal-oriented when determining impact metrics, they can be used to quantify the tangible influence of the impact-driven efforts, rather than just the efforts, which alone, may not help you achieve your audacious goals. – Stephanie Monmoine

Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism

John Elkington

A book urging us to “be grit in the corporate oyster”? We’ll shuck its cover any day. John Elkington is the godfather of sustainability – in 1994, he coined the term “Triple Bottom Line,” aka People, Planet, and Profit. Elkington presents another new concept in Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism. (The idea of “Green Swans” is a riff on The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a worthy read itself.) Green Swans are paradigm-changing shifts in the market that offer hope for a challenging future—think stakeholder capitalism, for one. Elkington also identifies six wicked problems with the potential to go exponential. One came as a complete surprise to us: Man-made space debris. Apparently, trashing our planet isn’t good enough for us, and space pollution, people, has big ramifications. – Russ Stoddard

Beyond Books

While the eyes may have it, the ears are coming in a close second these days. Here’s a podcast to make your ears and brain happier: Cory Ames of Growth Ensemble engage with agents of positive change and impact provocateurs on The Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Podcast.

And in case this dumpster fire of a year caused you to miss these when we originally published them, here are several of our more popular blog posts from 2021: