Today's gratitude is for the thought leaders who take the time and energy to write thoughtfully about our field of social enterprise and impact investing. Having written a variety of academic and popular pieces myself, I know what a labor of love it is to research, analyze, and elucidate a complex topic. So let's express our gratitude by reading these pieces, sharing them with others, and contributing to the dialog with our own writing, comments, and integration of these insights in day-to-day work. Here are a few highlight pieces from the last few years, perfect for holiday reading by the fire!

kids reading

1) Sustainable Capitalism (Generation Management, Feb 2012): An important classic for anyone interested in social enterprise / impact investing / shared value.

2) From Ideas to Practice, Pilots to Strategy (World Economic Forum, December 2013): Hot off the presses and as masterfully done, by dear friend Abigail Noble et al, as its predecessor released in September.

3) From Blueprint to Scale (Monitor, April 2012): Valuable and honest examination of the role of philanthropic capital to launch ventures that may eventual become viable impact investments.

4) In Search of the Hybrid Ideal (SSIR, Summer 2012): Critical thinking about and examples of hybrid for-profit / not-for-profit models by top thinkers from Harvard and Echoing Green (including advisor, friend, and pragmatic impinv guru, John Walker).

5) Use Customer Cash to Finance Your Startup (Harvard Business Review, July-August 2013): Revolutionarily simple insights (from advisor, friend, and excellent entrepreneur, Prof John Mullins) about ways that huge, established companies have grown without investor money (at least early on). Stay tuned for an article extending this research to the social sector in 2014, but there are plenty of lessons to be drawn for social entrepreneurs and impact investing from these customer-funded for-profits for now.

Happy reading, and very happy holidays! More gratitude coming on Friday, January 3!