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BookThe Power Of Unreasonable People

Since 2001, I have been working with a growing range of social and environmental entrepreneurs—and with those who fund or otherwise support them, including The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship (http://www.schwabfound.org), The Skoll Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship (http://www.skollfoundation.org) and The World Economic Forum (http://www.weforum.org).

Written with Pamela Hartigan, at the time Managing Director of The Schwab Foundation and now my colleague at Volans Ventures (http://www.volans.com), this book aims to distil the lessons we have learned to date—and to lay out a manifesto for the future.

Published on 5 February 2008 by Harvard Business School Press, with a foreword by Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

Back cover:

“The Power of Unreasonable People profiles a new generation of entrepreneurs whose path-breaking innovations and courageous leadership have driven remarkable change in the world. They deserve our recognition and support.”
Henry Kravis, founding partner, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.;
founder, Kravis leadership Institute

“A new generation of unreasonable thinkers will find much to inspire them in The Power of Unreasonable People. This book demonstrates how market-based solutions can combine with compassionate entrepreneurs and democratizing technology to tackle society’s most intractable problems.”
Mark Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com and Salesforce.com Foundation

“Full of reasonable—if surprising—facts about apparently unreasonable people, this powerful book brims over with insights and inspiration.”
Jeroen van der Veer, CEO, Royal Dutch Shell plc

“In The Power of Unreasonable People, Elkington and Hartigan chart the rise of a new generation of change makers who refuse to accept the world as it is, and who see what’s possible and get to work. This is a thoughtful, uplifting and timely book about the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship and the extraordinary women and men who just may be our best hope for the future.”
Jeff Skoll, founding President, eBay, Inc.; cofounder,
Participant Products; and Chairman, Skoll Foundation

“I believe in the power of unreasonable people and in the power of books. You hold in your hands concrete evidence of both beliefs—and a personal invitation to help change our world for the better.”
Paulo Coelho, bestselling author, The Alchemist

“A wonderful read and primer for anyone who cares to make a difference. Truly the best work I have read on the raison d’être for social entrepreneurship.”
Allan Hassenfeld, CEO, Hasbro, Inc.

Available from good bookstores and from Amazon at:


John does Harvard Business IdeaCast:

Pamela on Social Innovation Conversations:


Excerpt from book:



©2014 John Elkington. All rights reserved.