It’s not exactly beach reading, but Three Cups of Tea, about a mountaineer who built over 50 schools in Pakistan, is very engaging and certainly an object lesson on perseverance. I am about halfway through it and, like most readers I suspect, just amazed that author, Greg Mortenson, knew nothing about fundraising but was able to pull it off. One of my favorite passages in the book is where he and an American Pakistani—who teaches him how to use a computer—brainstorm a list of really wealthy people in the United States (including Oprah), and then write them letters asking for money. Incidentally, Mortenson’s experience is not so different than that of Teach For America founder Wendy Kopp’s in the early days of the program, as chronicled in her book One Day. Funny how being somewhat oblivious of the obstacles can actually pay dividends.
Another summer reading rec: The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. Very entertaining. My only complaint: as with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, author Michael Chabon seems to have a hard time finishing a book.
–Guestblogger Michele McLaughlin