Eight years ago, John Wood was on a firm, rising career path. As a marketing executive at Microsoft, he had a job that most professionals would envy. But then, on vacation in mountainous Nepal, he found a new mission. Leaving his job, Wood launched Room to Read, an organization that has developed a network of thousands of schools and libraries in poverty-plagued locales throughout Africa and Asia. Leaving Microsoft to Change the World tells the story of this personal sea-change, but it's also an engrossing account of how one man applied his business savvy to launch a successful altruistic project.
It's a rare business book that not only provides savvy insights for better business practices but transcends the category altogether, to rank as an infectiously inspiring read. Wood takes the reader on an engaging journey from his life as a rather ordinary marketing director at Microsoft through the transformative decision to launch the nonprofit organization Room to Read (www.roomtoread.org), which has created more than 2,000 schools and libraries for children across Asia. From his first trip to Nepal, where he was struck by the country's 70% illiteracy rate, through his courageous decision to leave Microsoft, to the logistics of growing and expanding the Room to Read initiative, Wood endears himself to the reader with his introspection and honesty. Crediting his former employer with giving him the business skills and drive to aim high, he outlines the concrete steps he took to make his vision a reality. Marked by sincerity and savvy, this is the kind of book that business colleagues will discuss with their acquaintances, spouses and friends. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In this captivating memoir, Wood, who was a senior executive at Microsoft in the 1990s, tells how he went on to found and manage the successful global nonprofit Room to Read, which has so far established more than 2000 schools and libraries and donated over a million books to them throughout Asia (where Wood spent most of his Microsoft years). Because revenues are usually not factors in nonprofits' decision making, running these organizations is often challenging. Wood provides recipes for how to succeed at operating nonprofit firms globally, regardless of local cultures. He demonstrates how to overcome obstacles by managing for results and by showing donors clearly where, and on what, their dollars are being spent. Perhaps Wood is once again going through a career change: from impressive fund-raiser to exceptional writer. This enlightening book can be effectively integrated into graduate business, public administration, and human resource studies and will be equally enjoyed by general public library audiences.-Caroline Geck, Kean Univ. Lib., Union, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
As much about business practices as about personal discovery, this book lives up to its name as it details how the author traded in the executive lifestyle to champion his own nonprofit organization, Room to Read. Wood describes his life at Microsoft as a marketing director for Australia and, later, China. Young business enthusiasts familiar with Steve Ballmer and Bill and Melinda Gates will be entertained by the glimpse into their respective management styles and by the author's efforts to pattern himself in their likeness. He also describes his lack of personal fulfillment and his eventual redirection, brought on by a visit to the mountains of Nepal. With vignettes from profitable fundraising activities for Room to Read, he documents how to successfully start up a nonprofit organization and how to sustain it. Originally named Books for Nepal, Wood's organization focused initially on providing books to the disadvantaged schools of Nepal, but eventually he expanded its scope (and renamed it) so as to include the building of schools, Tsunami relief, and educational programs for the children of Asia. Corporate-minded adolescents interested in giving back to society will enjoy this title and glean practical advice from it.—Brigeen Radoicich, Fresno County Office of Education, CACopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
“The bottom line is passion, and it seems the world is better off for John Wood having followed his.”
“One-third business saga, one-third world travelogue, and one-third human drama a 100% great book ....”
“Room to Read is one of the best long-term investments I have made.”