The inspirational story of a former Microsoft executive’s quest to build libraries around the world and share the love of books
What’s happened since John Wood left Microsoft to change the world? Just ask six million kids in the poorest regions of Asia and Africa. In 1999, at the age of thirty-five, Wood quit a lucrative career to found the nonprofit Room to Read. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the Andrew Carnegie of the developing world,” he strived to bring the lessons of the corporate world to the nonprofit sector—and succeeded spectacularly.
In his acclaimed first book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, Wood explained his vision and the story of his start-up. Now, he tackles the organization’s next steps and its latest challenges—from managing expansion to raising money in a collapsing economy to publishing books for children who literally have no books in their native language. At its heart, Creating Room to Read shares moving stories of the people Room to Read works to help: impoverished children whose schools and villages have been swept away by war or natural disaster and girls whose educations would otherwise be ignored.
People at the highest levels of finance, government, and philanthropy will embrace the opportunity to learn Wood’s inspiring business model and blueprint for doing good. And general readers will love Creating Room to Read for its spellbinding story of one man’s mission to put books within every child’s reach.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
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|File size:||12 MB|
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|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Ten Years, Ten Thousand Libraries! 1
Chapter 1 Bold Goals Attract Bold People 10
Chapter 2 A Kilogram of Gold 17
Chapter 3 The Lottery of Life 25
Chapter 4 Blame It on Bahundanda 34
Chapter 5 Helping Others Help Themselves: The Challenge-Grant Model 43
Chapter 6 GSD: Building a World-Class Team 54
Chapter 7 The Tsunami: One Year After 67
Chapter 8 "No Range Rovers": The War on Overhead 76
Chapter 9 Searching for Seuss 88
Chapter 10 -Baby Fish Goes to School 99
Chapter 11 Sleepless in Siem Reap 109
Chapter 12 "I Was in Grade Two When Our School Was Burned Down" 120
Chapter 13 "Sony, but Your Money Has Disappeared" 129
Chapter 14 "We Picked Up the Phone to Call for Help" 141
Chapter 15 Nine Books Last Night 154
Chapter 16 On Her Narrow Shoulders Rest a Family's Dreams 163
Chapter 17 Mr. X 174
Chapter 18 Now Departing for Cambodia: Literacy One 182
Chapter 19 Frantic Footsteps in the Night 195
Chapter 20 The World's Tallest Fund-raising Thermometer 203
Chapter 21 Whose Version of the Future Will Win? 217
Chapter 22 Boat to Read 228
Chapter 23 "If You Cannot Read, School Can Be a Torture" 240
Chapter 24 "Three Completely Pregnant Cows" 250
Chapter 25 Mr. Poet and Miss Library 260
Author's Note 273
A Message from the Author: How You Can Change the World 289
What People are Saying About This
“[John Wood’s] extraordinary enthusiasm [and] boldness…come through clearly. His legacy of libraries is one of which another role model – Andrew Carnegie – would no doubt have been proud, especially since Wood began with nothing like the same personal fortune.”
“Room to Read will show people they do not need to accept the forces of darkness….May the larger, smarter, more compassionate team win. I know which side will get my investment.”
“John Wood is building a global movement around literacy and gender equality. Creating Room to Read offers a blueprint for transforming lives…and eventually the world.”
—Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook and author of Lean In
“A refreshing reminder of the power of libraries—their ability to transform individual lives and strengthen communities.”
“An absorbing personal account of a remarkable achievement.”
“Wood’s passion for literacy and education infuses every page. An inspiring read on the power of books.”
"Just think what would happen if a couple hundred people followed his example."
—President Bill Clinton
"One of the legendary triumphs of philanthropy was Andrew Carnegie's construction of more than 2,500 libraries. Numerically, it has already been surpassed several times over by an American man you've probably never heard of. Wood is tireless, enthusiastic and emotional: a motivational speaker with no off button."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ten years go, John Wood embarked on a courageous journey. He left his job at Microsoft for one simple reason: so that "children everywhere have access to literacy and books in their mother tongue from a young age." Sound audacious to you? It did to Charlie Rose as well. "Every child," Charlie repeated in an interview with John. "Every one, without exception," John said. It is that kind of resolve, focus, and elegant vision that I find so exhilarating and inspiring. As a nonprofit founder, fundraiser, and a consultant who works with a number of nonprofits, I also know how hard it is to identify and maintain. John will not be deterred. It is his commitment to the children of this world that has allowed Room to Read, his nonprofit, to open 10,000 libraries around the world in 10 years. 10,000. It is astonishing. In 2007, John wrote the book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children. Today, his new book, Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy, goes on sale. It has valuable information for everyone who has ever cared about a cause or mission, for-profit, non-profit, or otherwise. It's a story about the value of a dream and the determination to make it real. John talks about his all-star team, their site evaluation process, and what it truly means to work side-by-side with people you want to help in pursuit of a common goal. In equal parts, he gets down into the details about his fundraising and management philosophies and then shares his powerful emotions such as his misty-eyed moment when the 10,000th library opened in Nepal with his parents by his side. John's story is inspiring for all of the goodness he conveys though he is not shy about the hardships he, his staff, and the communities face. Global literacy is a battle in every sense. Moving into Africa was a particularly harrowing decision and an even more harrowing process. His team literally risked their lives to make it happen. In countries like Cambodia, 43% of grade-three students in his country could not read at an age-appropriate level. Statistics like this led Room to Read's mission and activities to evolve. It wasn't enough to build libraries and furnish them with books. First, they had to teach people to read. Without literacy programs, the libraries would be of zero value to half the population. Once I cracked open this book, I couldn't put it down. Nose pressed against the pages, I would look up and realize that hours had gone by. After a while, I stopped using my highlighter because I was highlighting every sentence. John Wood and Room to Read are paving the way toward a brighter future. Thank goodness he left Microsoft to change the world. With this book, I'm certain he will inspire many people to take up a cause that matters and make it their life's work. And we will all be better off for it.
An interesting and inspiring infomercial. Make sure to read his first book, and come back to this one if you have the time.
"Creating Room To Read" chronicles John Wood's journey with Room to Read. He shares his life and the stories of various children. He also shares his vision and desire for every child to be able to read and have books. Thus, promoting global literacy. I am inspired by his heart, devotion and sacrifice. I truly believe he and his team at Room To Read are doing an amazing job in changing the lives of so many children worldwide. "Creating Room To Read" will motivate you to want to make a difference. I challenge you to read this book, it is life changing. In conclusion, I want to thank Viking Penguin for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.