This is one of those books that I was so desperate to read that when I saw someone that I barely know holding a copy I almost pounced upon them and snatched it from their little hands before asking, ever so politely, if I could please please please please please read it.
I’ll explain my desperation before I broach the book itself. Firstly, I love the title … I am not sure if Wood intended the double meaning, but it’s there and it’s fabulous. Did Wood leave Microsoft, as in resign, or did he stay at Microsoft and allow it (the company) to change the world? It’s an interesting question and in some ways Wood did both!
Secondly, after encountering Wood’s organisation Room To Read, how could anyone not be hooked on this journey? The website’s ‘Can You Read This?’ is a signpost for its mission to enable young people in underdeveloped nations to have access to the written word.
I have to confess that I first encountered John Wood on Oprah. On stage he is dynamic, fabulously entertaining and passionate. In a nutshell, his story is this: high powered Microsoft executive takes a well deserved holiday to Nepal after 9 years of solid work, no holiday, happens upon a school with barely a book in a dedicated room for a ‘library’ and is captured by a mission to provide libraries and education to people, first in Nepal and then around the world.
While the tale itself is admirable, the way that Wood recounts his journey into the world of charitable organisations is equally fascinating. Wood’s account in this book illustrates his own brilliance. He establishes this awe inspiring organisation like a business and through it realises his own dream and the dreams of literally hundreds and thousands of people in the developing world. To top it all off, Wood writes well and so this book is actually quite entertaining reading as well.
Wood is not an educationalist. What he knows is that knowledge is power and the only way to break the cycle of poverty in the developing world is to empower people to help themselves. He provides these people with the tools to do that.
This is an inspirational and much recommended book.