The book Social Entrepreneurship, The Secret to Starting a Business Worth Living For, published online
in October 2014 on the portal lulu.com, was written by Marcel N. Kwedi. The book has 470 pages, costs $2.46 as eBook, and $119 in hardcover. The ISBN of the book is 9781312567887.
The book Social Entrepreneurship has two main ambitions. First the book wants to demonstrate through logical reasoning that Social Enterprises generate greater rates of return on investment than other businesses focused solely on profit maximization. Second, the book ambitions to provide the basic knowledge anyone would need to successfully run a Social Enterprise. In short the Book first presents the Why and then the How of Social Entrepreneurship.
The Why aspect of Social Entrepreneurship is addressed by the author in the first two chapters of the book, the chapter Introduction and the chapter Economics, where the main purpose of the book is presented and demonstrated using economics logic. The How aspect of Social Entrepreneurship is dealt with in the following five chapters of the book (Marketing, Operations Management, Accounting, Financial Accounting, and Management Accounting) help the reader gain a deeper knowledge of business administration as applied to Social Entrepreneurship. Those subjects, Marketing, Operations Management and Accounting, are presented in such a way as to make easily understandable even by people with no business education whatsoever.
The last three chapters are dedicated to the presentation of a unique innovation process: the Strategic Innovation Process. Innovation being at the core of any new Social Enterprise, these chapters present a step by step method of turning any idea into a new product or service.
At the end of the book the author provides three exhibits on market research, operations simulation and a sample complete business plan of an hypothetical Social Enterprise.
In my opinion it is difficult to evaluate whether the author has succeeded in achieving the first purpose of the book, namely proving that Social Enterprises necessarily generate superior return rates. However, it is definitely clear that the second objective, giving practical knowledge in Business Administration to potential new Social Entrepreneurs, has been achieved brilliantly.
First, in proving the theory presented in the book, according to which Social Enterprises will generate greater R.O.Is than traditional companies, the author bases himself solely of previous work by C.K. Prahalad and on economics logic. This methodology might seem a bit weak, but is understandable given the fact that Social Entrepreneurship is still a new subject.
Second, the way the author presents common subjects in Business Administration, such as Marketing and Accounting, is very logical and down-to-earth so as to make it even understandable by a small grammar school child. The author has stripped the main subjects of Business Administration, Marketing and Accounting, of all their technical jargon to show only what is essential.
The writing style of the book is mostly simple using common vocabulary. Technical terms are first defined before being used in the dissertation. Some part of the book though might be difficult to apprehend given the abundance of tables. However the presence of such technicalities might be understandable as the book Social Entrepreneurship was apparently meant to be a textbook rather than a one-time read.
The Strengths of the book lie in the out-of-the-box presentation of complex subjects such as Marketing, Operations Management, and Accounting (both Financial and Management). The main weakness of the book, though, is that it lacks case studies of real successful Social Enterprises that have applied the methodology presented in the book. However, since the book is only in its first edition, it is normal to expect that such additions will be present in the following editions as the subject Social Entrepreneurship gains momentum in Business Administration.
Case studies of successful Social Enterprises can also be directly taken from the author’s own background. At the end of the book we learn that the author, Marcel Kwedi, runs the crowd-funding portal Wohaoo.com, where dozens of social enterprises around the World can be followed up. We also learn that the author holds a MBA degree from a top European university. It is therefore logical to assume that he has a thorough knowledge of the subjects he talks about in the book, namely, Marketing, Operations Management, Accounting and Innovation.
Personally I am already looking forward for the next edition of the book. I believe that the book will go a long way in promoting the concept of Social Entrepreneurship around the World. If the main theory of the book is true, and I am convinced it is true, namely that Social Enterprises are more profitable than classic businesses, current environmental abuses we see happening in various places on Earth will simply disappear giving place to a harmonious relationship between business and nature.
I therefore strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in Sustainable Development. In fact, among the many books that I have read on the subject, it is the first time that Sustainability is directly embedded in the new product development process.