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


Book Reviews


Excerpts and reviews of top books on social innovation


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.


Human Rights

The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence

By Gary A. Haugen & Victor Boutros | Reviewed By Connie Rice

Lawless violence in the developing world is a plague that undermines efforts to end extreme poverty.



Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource

By David L. Sedlak | Reviewed By Eric Stowe

Meeting the world's growing demand for water will require advances in technology that build on 3,000 years of progress.


Civil Society

Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread—The Lessons From a New Science

By Alex Pentland | Reviewed By Amir Goldberg

An emerging "data-driven" science of human behavior promises to help us understand and solve social problems.


Nonprofit Management

Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less

By Robert I. Sutton & Huggy Rao | Reviewed By Sam Goldman

The art of expanding an organization is less about aiming high than about "grinding it out."



Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much

By Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir | Reviewed By Timothy Ogden

The new book Scarcity provides critical insights for designing better anti-poverty programs, but not for allocating scarce philanthropic resources.