Leaving Microsoft to Change the World
by John Wood
I finished this on Do Nothing But Read Day- June 27, 2010.
I haven't yet read Three Cups of Tea though I have it on Mountain Range To Be Read. I can't remember when I signed up for this bookring but I do remember that the title seemed inspiring. I'm a computer science girl who turned down a job at IBM; I work at a non-profit now and though there are parts of my job I don't like, I wake up every work day knowing my work helps writers, teachers, and students studying writing which is more important to me than money... I wish I had the kind of money John had to be able to make such a big difference all of a sudden. It was interesting to see him make the transition here and to actually make that decision.
But even though he was in a financially stable place and able to travel and quit his job at Microsoft, I think he also stands as a great example of how much good one person can do. He started with a little book drive, after all! I've done that :-) My chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance won the chapter cup this year in the annual book drive, actually, donating more than 2,500 books to 10 different charities (libraries, donation banks, the Mississippi Delta schools, soldiers in Iraq, retirement homes). This book is so inspiring because it shows how something so small makes such a significant difference to people. It was amazing that just $20, for example, could mean weeks or months of practice time on a computer for one man.
I must admit some of the financial parts started to bore me by the end. It seemed like more fundraising than I really needed to hear about. But I liked the intimate look at ALL of the sides of thinking up and starting up the charity. My favorite parts were definitely the stories and interactions with specific people and children who were helped by Room to Read. Many of the stories touched my heart and moved me to tears a few times.
Volunteering is a significant part of my life, as are books. This book (and all the little additions people have included) has been so inspirational. Makes me want to act up and do more immediately.
I'm just going to repeat a quote near the end of the book because I don't want to forget it:
"Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly." ~St. Francis de Sales