January 07, 2012

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood

I enjoy reading inspirational stories about people doing good for the world. It makes me think that one day, I'll be able to do something that has an impact too. This book was pretty good, and it supports a good cause.

Even though he was making good money in a high powered job at Microsoft, John Wood decided that he needed to do more with his life. Having traveled in Nepal and loving its scenery and people, he was crushed to see the appalling state of its schools. Which led him to quit his job and start a program to build schools and libraries in Nepal and give children the gift of reading. Although he starts out small, what grows to be known as Room to Read really expands and is still doing a lot of good even today. They continue to expand and help in several countries and help thousands of children receive a better education each year.

John's story is pretty inspriational. He seems to do a lot of good and I particularly like his stance on education for girls. He just is one of those genuinely good people that I sometimes think there are too few of in the world. He is very fair to the people he describes in his book too. Even if they do have flaws he is accepting of it rather than saying nasty things about them or looking down on them for it.

I like that John uses a lot of details and statistics in his book. Like he says, he wants to back up what the organization does and prove that they are putting donations to good use. And judging by the figures found on the website, they are doing very well in that regard. I also like how he incorporates what he learned working for Microsoft into how he runs his charity. Now, at times this book can feel a bit like a sales pitch, but that's to be expected. I fully this book is intended to help bring donations to the organization. And there's nothing wrong with that. But some of the repetitive details can get a little bland at times and I would have loved to see more description on the actual schools and people in them rather than the fund-raising methods.

A great book to read if you like reading about how charitable organizations get going and the good people can do in the world. John Wood has done a tremendous job with his vision.

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World
Copyright 2006
254 pages

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