DIG WHERE YOU ARE by Nan Alexander Doyle

An inspiring read for anyone wondering how they can make an impact on the challenges facing our communities today. DIG WHERE YOU ARE chronicles the efforts of seven social activists to make big changes from small beginnings, and challenges each of us to ask ourselves — what can we do here and now?


For anyone who has ever wondered if what they do matters or how they can make a difference – Nan Alexander Doyal’s voice is what you’ve been waiting for. In her book Dig Where You Are she introduces us to seven men and women who have solved some of the biggest challenges facing our societies today. Their stories are entertaining, heart-breaking, inspiring and at their core, empowering.

From the slums of Mumbai, the villages of Tibet and northeast Thailand, the inner cities of Philadelphia and San Francisco, and a ghetto outside Stockholm, Dig Where You Are tells of an artist, a surgeon, a teacher, a criminologist, an economist, a community organizer and a general physician each of whom saw a way beyond suffering and injustice, took responsibility for the wellbeing of others and ended up transforming lives and communities across the world.

There is a human perspective to these stories that strips away the heroic veneer of its characters and shows recognizable, even average people making a big impact on the world around them. Before becoming a writer, Nan Doyal traveled and worked extensively in North America, Europe and Asia as President of The International Forum. As such she is more than the narrator; she is a guide in the deepest sense. She leads us with knowledge and empathy, sharing stories that are both inspiring and empowering. Like all great guides, she gives us much more than we asked for.


“Nan Doyal’s book reminds us that we are not passive spectators of our own lives, our neighborhoods and communities. Today, there is no corner of the world that is not confronted by a dizzying array of challenges, large and small. Millions of thoughtful people wake up every morning caring about this, but finding themselves either frozen or overwhelmed. Dig Where You Are is a clarion call to action to not waste a moment, to begin today. While there can be no assured outcomes, there is most definitely the assurance of a richer life, filled with empowerment and purpose. –SWATI and RAMESH RAMANATHAN, Co-Founders, JANA Group-committed to fixing India s cities

The heroes of social innovation in Nan Doyal’s book have much in common with successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. Each has a high tolerance for self-disruption, discipline in execution, attention to detail, and a relentless focus on the end-user. But even more important than these is their clear sense of purpose and their ability to involve others in defining it. Dig Where You Are casts an important framework for modern leadership and driving sustainable change — in any kind of organization. It’s an inspirational reminder of the power of purpose, conviction and customer focus. — RICH WILLIAMS, Chief Executive Officer, Groupon

“Nan Doyal shows us the quiet power of community-based efforts to make things better, while persuading us that we can accomplish more than we think. What is most profound is that each of the protagonists in this book has succeeded because their motivation is first and foremost to fix a problem, and not advance their own interests. It is their courage to step forward and take personal responsibility for helping others that is so inspiring and makes the message of this book an important one for us to understand and embrace, especially now. –DANIELLE BRIAN, Executive Director, Project on Government Oversight (POGO)



Nan Alexander Doyal has lived and worked in North America, Europe and Asia for more than three decades; most recently as President of The International Forum – an organization that designs active learning experiences for the leaders of global corporations. For more than ten years she led and managed this organization and its network worldwide; assessed the challenges facing global corporations and created programs to address these. Working with multi-disciplinary and multi-culture teams on the ground, she helped to design and run hands-on leadership and active learning programs around the world. She is a graduate of Smith College and The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. To learn more about others who are digging where they are, visit the book’s web site.