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The Social Entrepreneur: Making Communities Work Paperback – 1 Jan 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (1 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843546612
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843546610
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"'The Richard Branson of the social sector.' Libby Purves on Andrew Mawson '[Mawson] combines the conscience of the social activist harnessed to the can-do skills of the modern business shaker.' Independent"

About the Author

Andrew Mawson's career in the social sector has spanned over 20 years. He developed the renowned Bromley-By-Bow Centre in East London and co-founded the Community Action Network in 1998. He is currently involved in developing London's Water City. He was awarded a Life Peerage in 2007 and sits on the cross-benches in the House of Lords.


Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We've heard about the loneliness of a long distance runner, well that's nothing compared to the loneliness of a social entrepreneur. Andrew Mawson is a great comforter - he does things because they are worth doing - a radical and profoundly subversive attitude to the world. Anyone who has rejected conventional employment and material security, to do something they believe in, will love this book.

Mawson describes a familar path of fulfilment and profound frustration. My experience is business- good - charities - bad, I'm so glad that Mawson agrees. If you 'make things happen', you seem to loose the ability to have a dialogue with councillors, think tanks and academics - Mawson explains why. He doesn't use statistics or quote from academic theorists, he just tells stories.

I ran a community website in Paddington and Bayswater for seven years, then I moved to Bournemouth and set up a creative group called BomoCreatives. I shall be urging my fellow members to read this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is great value. If you're planning to start a social enterprise, or simply want to make life better for those in your neighbourhood, then this is a book for you.

Mawson describes how he made his unique journey from protester to Peer in just a few short years. He challenged the bureaucrats who said no; he proved them wrong then uniquely, went on to win their support. He did what he did, not to prove that he was right, but to prove that what people said they wanted was actually what they needed too!

If you feel you're fighting a losing battle, this book will give you the strength to fight on!
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Format: Paperback
This book is truly inspirational. Unlike many books about business and entrepreneurship, which are too often all about the theory, are full of soundbites and have little practical benefit to the likes of you and me, Andrew Mawson is someone who has done it and more to the point is able to communicate it in a highly readable and informative style.

Witty and honest, the book charts his account of his experience - warts and all - establishing the Bromley-by-Bow Healthy Living Centre, which gradually over 20+ years has demonstrated how run down areas and deflated communities can change, if only we truly believe in the capacity of individuals and empower them to make things happen, then leave them alone to get on with doing it rather than prescribing how it should be done by textbook civil servants.

Significantly, he identifies how the bureaucratic mindset endemic within the corridors of power, whether that be Whitehall, local government, or even much of the voluntary and charity sectors, with the obsession on process, procedure, policy, 'equity' and 'fairness', has not only undermined the opportunity for wide-scale social change, but actually exacerbated the problems and wasted billions of pounds of taxpayers money. Sobering stuff.

Still, if you really want to make a difference, but think it is all just wishful thinking then this book will make you think again and give you the impetus to get going.
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This book is based on the authors experiences of setting up various projects in the Bromley by Bow area of London. It tells the story of the accomplishment and I think sets out to inspire and illustrate alternative approaches rather than a step by step guide or a 'how-to'. I found it quite preachy as it felt like the author was constantly saying "if only they would do everything my way". In some (indeed many) circumstances that may prove true (especially when dealing with Government bureaucracy)however it did grate a bit after a while and lessened the impact for me.
I also felt it would have been really useful if the author had given more detailed advice on HOW to go about doing the things he did. Some good ideas in this though.
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Format: Paperback
I was really excited about reading this book but after one third of the way into it I realised the initial anecdotes and potential promise of things to come were to continue for the rest of the book. I wanted a real understanding of how social entrepreneurs and sustainable social enterprise work; sadly any details to this effect are not discussed in any insightful way, just lots of 'I did this' but no information as to how. Andrew was fortunate enough to start with a building (the church and its out buildings and land) which he could leverage from, and also received government funding to establish the Bromley-by-Bow Center. As such, I felt disappointed there was no real insight into how the average Joe can work within his community to make real sustainable change. Apart from his Bromley-by-Bow Center and Jamie Oliver's Kitchen Dinners there are no real examples given of successful social enterprises. Therefore its hard not to see the book as a bit of self promotion. In fact later in the book Andrew goes on to say only people with 20 years track record as proven social entrepreneurs such as he and John Bird (Big Issue founder) should be given more funds to continue 'making communities work'. Why he doesn't just run for PM..?? Ultimately I felt the book overall was a little like the government departments Andrew rails against: didn't really deliver what it promised.
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