Doing Good Great
Thirteen Asian Heroes and Their Causes


“Doing good” is a calling for some, often anchored in faith. For others, it is compassion for the poor, sick, and disadvantaged that drives their work. The individuals featured in this book should inspire each of us to reach out to those in need with passion and compassion—we may just discover our own calling in the process.”

Bishop Tarcisio Isao Kikuchi
President, Caritas Asia

“Everywhere and every day, there are people who dedicate their talents and time to ideas worth doing. They tackle the most important and toughest social challenges we face with innovative solutions. The authors of Doing Good Great spent months traveling across Asia to find out about, and share the lives and work of, 13 remarkable people. I was energized by their fascinating stories and powerful ideas, all worth spreading like TED Talks. This book will undoubtedly leave you inspired and hopeful for our shared future.”

Dave Lim
Global TEDx Ambassador

“While funding announcements from Bill Gates, Azim Premji, and Jack Ma have been given much publicity by the press, this inspiring book highlights real, everyday, unsung heroes who have taken it upon themselves to make a difference in people’s lives. Through grit, determination, and uncompromising competence they work tirelessly to provide a voice, dignity, and equality to the over 800 million poor in Asia. It makes us all realize that not all heroes wear capes.”

Deval Sanghavi
Founder and Managing Partner, Dasra

“This book showcases the admirable work done by 13 social heroes. Their strength to persevere, determination to succeed, ability to adapt in trying circumstances make them unique and indeed, heroes. These heroes have one thing in common: the capacity to take risks. They are a rare breed of social innovators who have risked all in the hope of changing the world. This book is definitely worth reading.”

Frank Wong
Independent Board Director, China Mobile Limited

“Two-thirds of the world’s poor are in Asia and there are numerous social problems associated with this poverty. Asian heroes have emerged in this milieu to contend with these difficulties with innovative solutions and indomitable spirits. The book is instructive, engaging, and inspiring.”

Hsieh Fu Hua
President, National Council of Social Service

“I was taught that 13 was an unlucky number, but Willie, Sharifah and Cheryl have done what all great social entrepreneurs do— turned our expectations on their head! The heroes they spotlight are all high achievers, though often dubbed “crazy” for their unblinking pursuit of solutions for the world’s most intractable social ills. I learned to admire and even love them while coauthoring a recent book, The Power of Unreasonable People. With a welcome focus on Asia, Doing Good Great is uplifting, challenging, inspiring, and, above all, fun. Highly recommended.”

John Elkington
Co-founder and Chairman, Volans

“Asia is a continent of contrasts. Its remarkable economic growth has been achieved alongside the growth of critical social issues and disparities. This is a serious book about local champions who are seeking to put right what is wrong in their societies. I know some of these social entrepreneurs through our association as Ashoka Fellows. I have been amazed at how the authors have managed to capture little-known details, anecdotes, and intimate insights into the minds and motivations of these native heroes. At the same time, Doing Good Great provides us an education about the diverse social difficulties that plague Asia. This is a book whose time has come and I am excited for its impact on our space.”

Karen Tse
Founder and CEO, International Bridges to Justice

“Social entrepreneurs are a rare breed of individuals who succeed because they think out of the box. They leverage different skills and work with single-minded purpose to find solutions to the issues they tackle. Asia is blessed to have such heroes. You will be inspired by this well-written book that brings to the fore the brilliance and tenacity of these individuals by demonstrating the collective power of social entrepreneurs in Asia who are literally changing the world.”

KK Tse
Founding Chairman, Hong Kong Social Entrepreneurship Forum

“Social innovators exhibit a new level of expertise and creativity in dealing with wicked social problems. They show us different ways to tackle problems, even when it seems impossible. But almost more importantly, social innovators show courage and perseverance, even when faced with barriers and blockages of traditional systems. It is no wonder then that some are revered as heroes in their field! With Doing Good Great, it is now easier to distill learning points from these heroes so that others in the social innovation field can replicate their work, and seek comfort in their approach.”

Louise Pulford
Director, Social Innovation Exchange

“I found the book intriguing, as no one has yet pulled together the collective stories about Asian heroes in this manner. What I liked most is that Doing Good Great pinpoints a key social issue specific to a particular country and features the local heroes who have worked from the ground up to address the social problems within their homeland. These unsung heroes are remarkable, inspiring, and they deserve our utmost respect and admiration. A must read for all involved in the Third Sector.”

Mildred Tan
Chairman, National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre

“This book is an eye-opener for anyone who wants to better understand the social ills that plague Asia and the everyday heroes who strive to make a difference for their fellowman. The research that the authors have done on the diverse causes of these social ills and the life journeys of these social entrepreneurs who try to do something about them is truly amazing. From toilets in India to pollution in China, prostitution in Thailand, caged homes in Hong Kong and landmines in Cambodia, they have done a remarkable job of providing discerning perspectives on the landscape of social issues in Asia. Society, in these developed and developing countries, has a long way to go before their conscience can be clear.”

Professor Ravi Kumar
Dean Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University

“Asia is on the rise. Asia is, however, still a continent besieged by poverty, corruption, environmental degradation, and injustice. Instead of accepting the status quo as a reality, the 13 men and women portrayed in this book decided to challenge that reality. They are inspiring models of agents of change. They deserve our respect and our support.”

Professor Tommy Koh
Ambassador-At-Large, Singapore Chairman, SymAsia Foundation

“Doing Good Great is an important book for three reasons: it demonstrates vividly that governments and business don’t always provide solutions for social injustice; that social entrepreneurs have vital roles to play in improving social and economic outcomes; and that individuals—the most important form of capital—can be more important than institutions. The book confirms that we each have a moral sense which can rise above adversity to empower us to make our world better.”

Stephen B. Young
Global Executive Director, Caux Round Table

“This is a book about uncommon Asian heroes. Doing Good Great captures a fresh panorama of change making, and of turning insightful inspirations into lasting transformations. From human trafficking to media freedom, the journeys of these heroes are deeply inspiring and could motivate each of us to start our own hero journey.”

Sunit Shrestha
Founder, Change Fusion