Just a few of the books on  business you are likely to find at your Public Library.
Just a few of the books on business you are likely to find at your Public Library.

If you haven’t tried borrowing a book using your local Public Library’s website, boy, are you in for a treat. Not only can you surf the entire collection online but you can put holds on any books you want to borrow and THE LIBRARY STAFF WILL GATHER THEM UP FOR YOU! All you have to do is go pick them up.

I shouldn’t be encouraging you to take advantage of this service. The poor staff. How will they keep up? But really, it’s like having valet service!

I’ve been thinking about writing about social enterprise books for a while now. It is part of many entrepreneurs ‘good habits’, to keep up with the literature. Every book usually has something to offer, an insight or idea, and it keeps the wheels turning.

Summer tends to be a time for more recreational reading. I did some summer reading for sure. No dockside thrillers for me though. I ploughed through Norway’s answer to Tolstoy, Knut Hamsen’s Growth of the Soil, an epic saga of homesteading in the Norwegian wilderness, which was a lot like where I am living now in northwestern Ontario. When Sioux Lookout was first settled, it was bush and lakes. People started from scratch and sheer physical strength and stamina made all the difference. I’m not sure how much has changed since then. We talk a lot about “intellectual labour” but at the end of the day, energy and determination still have a lot to do with success.

¬†Anyway, last week I went to my local library’s website just to see what they might have on hand about business. I’m interested in a particular kind of business, of course, the kind that goes a little bit further than normal to do the right thing. A search for “social enterprise” did not turn up too much, but with a more general search for “business” I found quite a few books that are about making a difference, and that’s what interests me, business with a social conscience or larger purpose than just making money (not that there’s anything wrong with that, there definitely isn’t!).

¬†These days “social enterprise” has a bit of buzz around it. Young people especially want to make the world a better place. They also know, some of them anyway, that they need to make a living. The more enterprising of them will work at a bunch of different jobs until they realize that they want to be their own boss and eventually they will start their own businesses. Some of those who start their own business will also find a way to have a bigger impact. They won’t just sell widgets, they’ll sell organic widgets, or widgets that run on solar power. They’ll be part of the movement that is going to save the planet.

In future posts, I’m going to look more closely at the books in our library about social enterprise. But let me say before stopping for now that there’s no shortage of business books at any library. You can easily learn how to come up with a business idea, write a business plan and run a business.

In my quick search, for example, I found “How to Start a Creative Business,” which talks about craft businesses, “Home-based Business for Beginners,” which gives lots of examples of things people do from their home. “Dog-walking Business” is the best, short book I’ve come across that tells you exactly what to do to start a business. Follow the steps to the letter and, presto, you’re in business!

If you have a favourite book about social enterprise, let me know and I will definitely have a look.


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