Impact Investing: Best Reads and Podcasts

Impact investing books and podcastsWhether you are an experienced impact investor or just starting to explore the space, reading and listening to expert’s perspectives can help expand your knowledge and provide new insights.

Based on conversations with leading impact investors, we compiled a list of books and podcasts that will further inform and keep you up to date on the impact investing world.

Favorite Impact Investing Books



The Power of Impact Investing: Putting Markets to Work for Profit and Global Good

By Judith Rodin and Margot Brandenburg (2014)

As stated in the introduction, “Impact investing can be a powerful instrument of change.” Throughout this book, which is now regarded as one of the best primers for impact investing, Judith Rodin and Margot Brandenburg provide their own definition for impact investing and outline the opportunities and the global movement as well as institutions supporting its evolution. Published in 2014, Rodin and Brandenburg were two of the first to champion the field of impact investing and provide an interesting, story-oriented look into its early advocates and adopters.

Looking for a shorter read? Alongside their book, Rodin and Brandenburg published 7 Things We've Learned About Impact Investing in 7 Years where they outlined seven insights on impact investing that prevailed throughout their research.


Real Impact: The New Economics of Social Change

By Morgan Simon (2017)

With around 20 years of experience influencing over $150 billion from endowments, families, and foundations, Morgan Simon shares her experience as a seasoned professional and activist. Simon describes how although impact investing is on an accelerating path to prominence, the field has reached a critical point where it will either positively impact millions or will repeat the same mistakes made by developmental aid and conventional finance programs. In order to avoid the latter, Simon offers clear strategies and frameworks to set investors on a path to transform and empower. 

For a more detailed analysis of this book, check out the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s book review


The Purpose of Capital: Elements of Impact, Financial Flows, and Natural Being 

By Jed Emerson (2018)

Jed Emerson has long been considered a leading practitioner and thought leader in the impact investing space. In 2011, along with Anthony Bugg-Levine, Emerson co-authored Impact Investing: Transforming How We Make Money While Making a Difference, which is widely considered the first book on impact investing and is definitely worth a read. In his latest book, The Purpose of Capital, Emerson takes an interdisciplinary approach to think about capital, markets, and impact. By drawing upon historical and philosophical insights, Emerson uniquely explores investing for impact from both a “how” and “why” perspective. 

Download a free eBook version


Favorite Impact Investing Podcasts


"Returns on Investment"

This podcast is from ImpactAlpha, “a digital media company redefining business journalism around social and environmental value.” In episodes that are typically less than 30 minutes, this podcast provides the latest news in the impact investing space and incorporates unique insight from industry experts.


“Money + Meaning: Unlikely Allies Building New Markets for Impact”

Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) launched this podcast in the summer of 2018 with hopes “to expand the conversation around impact investing and strategies to finance and support social change while stimulating innovative and valuable new partnerships across sectors.” In episodes that are typically 30 minutes to an hour, this podcast acts as an extension to SOCAP’s highly coveted conferences. With this medium, SOCAP further engages in conversations about how money can create meaningful impact while reaching much larger audiences.


"Beyond Reports"

This podcast is part of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), an organization that has pioneered and standardized impact reporting since its inception in 1997. Through their monthly episodes, listeners get expert perspectives on recent events in the sustainability world and learn how “data can empower action towards a better tomorrow.” 


To learn more about impact investing, check out Impact Investing Conferences: 2020 Preview, Plus Full 2019 Review.