Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change


Book Reviews


Excerpts and reviews of top books on social innovation



Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

By George Marshall | Reviewed By Andrew J. Hoffman

People tend to avoid reckoning with climate science—for reasons that have little to do with science.



The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose

By Christian Smith & Hilary Davidson | Reviewed By Kieran Healy

Those who engage in altruistic behavior reap benefits that are significant and measurable, two sociologists argue.



Think Big, Start Small, Move Fast: A Blueprint for Transformation from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation

By Nicholas LaRusso, Barbara Spurrier, & Gianco Farrugia | Reviewed By Gabriella Rosen Kellerman

The Mayo Clinic achieves patient care improvements through innovation that is incremental rather than disruptive.


Economic Development

The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism

By Jeremy Rifkin | Reviewed By Timothy Ogden

A "big think" look at the future of capitalism fails to reckon with the factors that make capitalism so resilient.



On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools Are Pushing the Envelope

By Richard Whitmire | Reviewed By Catherine DiMartino

In one prominent effort to reinvent public schools, promise and performance don't necessarily match up.


Impact Investing

The Power of Impact Investing: Putting Markets to Work for Profit and Global Good

By Judith Rodin & Margot Brandenburg | Reviewed By Cathy Clark

Two impact investing pioneers offer a primer on efforts to generate both social benefits and financial returns.



Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government

By Aneesh Chopra | Reviewed By Sonal Shah

The first chief technology officer of the United States offers a vision for remaking public services.


Economic Development

The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor

By William Easterly | Reviewed By Kevin Starr

The limits of technocratic, one-size-fits-all approaches to economic development have become all too evident.


Socially Responsible Business

The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist

By Christine Bader | Reviewed By David J. Vogel

A veteran corporate social responsibility leader reflects on “doing well and doing good” at a big oil company.


Technology & Design

The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving Our Most Complex Challenges

By Zaid Hassan | Reviewed By Lucy Bernholz

An emerging method for enabling innovation focuses not on plans or projects, but on broad social challenges.