Cover Image: Taking Charge of Change

Taking Charge of Change

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Member Reviews

"Taking Charge of Change" by Paul Shoemaker is a book that provides a roadmap for those looking to make a positive impact on society and tackle complex problems. Shoemaker draws on his experience as the founding president of Social Venture Partners International to introduce readers to the concept of "rebuilders" – leaders with the traits necessary to address the challenges of our time, including inequity, division, and resource scarcity.

The book profiles 38 remarkable rebuilders who have made significant contributions to social change, offering readers valuable models to follow. From Rosanne Haggerty's mission to end chronic homelessness to Trish Millines' efforts to empower children of color in the tech industry, these stories are inspiring and showcase the potential for positive change.

Shoemaker emphasizes the five vital traits that change leaders should possess and supports his insights with relevant research, data, and real-world case studies. His storytelling style makes the book engaging and relatable.

However, despite its strengths, "Taking Charge of Change" falls short of earning a higher rating due to some shortcomings. The book occasionally feels repetitive, and some of the profiles lack depth. Additionally, while it highlights successful individuals, it could offer more practical guidance on how readers can apply these principles to their own efforts.

In conclusion, "Taking Charge of Change" is a worthwhile read for those interested in social change and leadership, offering inspiring stories and valuable insights. While it has its flaws, it provides a foundation for anyone seeking to make a difference in their community or organization during the challenging decade ahead.

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TAKING CHARGE OF CHANGE by Paul Shoemaker is all about "How Rebuilders Solve Hard Problems." A Microsoft alum, Shoemaker is currently a consultant and Founding President of Social Venture Partners International where he networks with others to increase the impact of social change. His book, part of the HarperCollins Leadership collection, is divided into five parts where he profiles over 30 young rebuilders, discusses why they matter, outlines key traits, provides case studies, and explores implications for the future. I think our Business teachers - who already have a project about entrepreneurs and business leaders - will final some valuable discussion prompts here. In particular, they could invest time in reviewing Shoemaker's comments regarding authenticity, complexity, the "generosity mindset," importance of data, and cross-sector fluency. His "challenges to traits" connections also pairs nicely with ideas raised by The Moxie Institute's short film The Adaptable Mind and complements Putnam's and Romney Garrett's thinking about an inflection point or reset moment in Upswing. While Shoemaker stresses that America is becoming increasingly unequal, fractured, and siloed, he takes a positive spin and argues that "the skill sets, qualities, and traits it takes to rebuild are different from what it takes to build." What could be as important or inspirational to study with our future graduates? We will have a copy of TAKING CHARGE OF CHANGE on our shelves soon.

Link to Adaptable Mind Video:

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Change is life. The smallest of changes for ourselves and our immediate communities as well as the significant, huge ones that impact us all are challenges that cannot be solved with the systems, processes, and approaches we have used to arrive where we are right now. Paul Shoemaker's TAKING CHARGE OF CHANGE posits an innovative, powerful reimagining of roles and responsibilities in contributing to and ensuring change comes to life and achieves the goals we set out to accomplish. I was impressed by his clear-cut explanations supported by myriad examples and stories as well as by the passion with which the author lays out a path that works and can be used by all. The reading is challenging, both in taking in a radically different perspective to change and inspiring with the stories of pioneers and visionaries who have seen an opportunity and gone after it with all that they had. While I enjoyed learning and viewing lifelong patterns through a different lens, the book might have been better experienced as a lecture or a class or somehow brought to life by the intelligent, compassionate writer.

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The perspective of the book is interesting. The main learning points are coming from the stories of leaders -rebuilders, people who can force the important and vital change when it is most needed. My key learning outcomes are the Five Vital Traits of Rebuilders (five leadership qualities and skill sets, the five vital traits) : 1. 24-7 Authenticity 2. Complexity Capacity 3. Generosity Mindset 4. Data Conviction 5. Cross-Sector Fluency.

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