Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Greg Mortenson: Three Cups of Tea

Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea (co-written with David Oliver Relin) tells how Mortenson fell in love with Pakistan after a failed mountain climbing expedition and decided to help the people who rescued him by building a school for their children. After the effort and investment required to build the first, he continued building. According to Wikipedia and the website of the institute he helped found, they have built more than 60 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The book follows his adventures from the fateful climb through fundraising, kidnappings, and fatwas from imams incensed at westerners educating Muslim children.

Mortenson is quite a hero. He does a great job of helping the reader to see the Pakistanis as people, and shows how far a little education can go. The people he deals with are willing to give up a lot in order to make it possible for their children to get an education. Mortenson himself makes enormous sacrifices to continue the work, even when many factions try to prevent the education of their neighbors' girls.

The book is well enough written to have been a New York Times best seller. It's well worth the read.

1 comment:

Meredith said...

I saw your post on THREE CUPS OF TEA and decided to write to tell you about a book that Doubleday is publishing MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE by Bill Strickland

Last November I flew to Pittsburgh to meet Bill Strickland. All I knew was that he had built a center in the middle of the ghetto, six blocks from where he grew up, and “was saving the lives of troubled youths and disadvantaged adults through arts and education.” Exactly what that meant didn’t hit home for me until I stepped foot inside his building and met the man himself.

Bill started off his center, The Manchester Craftsman’s Guild in a row-house that was donated by the local church. His method for getting kids out of trouble and off the street was simple: physically take them and show them how to work with clay. As word traveled from person to person and school to school, he no longer had to go seeking them; they came to him and his little center grew to become a world-class facility.

Designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students, the center is bathed in sunlight despite the cold and snowy November day, fresh flowers are everywhere, and a buzz of activity from both students and adults is in the air. The flowers are not just any flowers, but prize-winning orchids grown in their state-of-the-art greenhouse just next door. Some might ask what a poverty program needs a greenhouse for and to that Bill would be the first to say that it is NOT a poverty program. It is a training program for poor people and why shouldn’t poor people be given a sanctuary from the streets where they see no light ahead of them? By teaching them horticulture, along with culinary, computer, mathematics, chemistry, ceramics, photography, and much more, Bill is helping to change the conversation and help them see that they have a future outside of what they know. In building this world-class facility, he is helping to create world-class citizens.

Over the years I have worked with many different authors, all with their own unique backgrounds. Bill is the first author whose story has brought tears to my eyes, has received a standing ovation at every speech I have seen him give, and has even tempted me to leave my job so that I might follow in his footsteps. Luckily for me, Bill’s message also shows us that we don’t need to do anything that drastic. There is always something we can do right in our own backyard that will make a difference in people’s lives. It is my hope that in writing this letter and offering you a complimentary copy of MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE, you too will be inspired by his remarkable life and share it with your blog readers.

I look forward to hearing from you and getting your mailing address to send you a free copy of this amazing new book.

To find out more about Bill, the book and view a video of him please visit www.bill-strickland.org.

To see more about the center in Pittsburgh watch: http://youtube.com/watch?v=qg4bqejzCkc

Best,
Meredith McGinnis
Associate Director of Marketing
Doubleday 1745 Broadway New York, NY 10019
Tel: 212-782-8967
E: mmcginnis@randomhouse.com