Thursday, October 9, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

Book: Three Cups of Tea
Authors: Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin
Like/Don't Like: Like. And it inspired me.

You've seen this book everywhere, right? Everywhere! And when I asked for recommendations a while back this one got a number of mentions. And I'd like to thank all of you who did because it was really amazing.

About 15 years ago Greg Mortenson attempted to climb K2 and failed but in that failure he has managed to build dozens of schools for the poorest of poor in Pakistan and later other parts of Central Asia. He started out with one school, learning from mistake after mistake how to best get a school up and running in one of the most remote parts of the world. And he did it because he felt that everyone benefits when people are educated. This is a fairly simple and obvious idea but it's amazing how many obstacles he faced because not everyone believed it.

Because of the region and the wars that are going on there I was afraid that it was going to be heavy handed in its politics and I felt like it would have ruined the story. But this was not the case at all. They told about what they saw, both the good and the bad and I thought it was very fair. It read like a very long newspaper human interest story. The style got a little old at times but when it veered away from it it got overly sentimental and romanticized so I was happy with the way it was written in the long run. I should warn you though that you may feel like a bum when you're done reading for not doing more. Like, why haven't I thought to fly to Pakistan and build a school with my bare hands in a place that takes a 3 day mule trip to get to over unpaved mountain passes in a war zone using money I saved while living in my car for a year to cut expenses? Clearly, I hate humanity.

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