Item description for Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children by John Wood...
Overview Describes how the author, a former rising executive at Microsoft, experienced a profound change of perspective after a visit to Nepal and eventually created the non-profit program Room to Read, a network of schools and libraries throughout rural and poor communities in Asia and Africa. 100,000 first printing.
John Wood discovered his passion, his greatest success, and his life's work—not at business school or leading Microsoft's charge into Asia in the 1990s—but on a soul-searching trip to the Himalayas. Wood felt trapped between an all-consuming career and a desire to do something lasting and significant. Stressed from the demands of his job, he took a vacation trekking in Nepal because a friend had told him, "If you get high enough in the mountains, you can't hear Steve Ballmer yelling at you anymore."
Instead of being the antidote to the rat race, that trip convinced John Wood to divert the boundless energy he was devoting to Microsoft into a cause that desperately needed to be addressed. While visiting a remote Nepalese school, Wood learned that the students had few books in their library. When he offered to run a book drive to provide the school with books, his idea was met with polite skepticism. After all, no matter how well-intentioned, why would a successful software executive take valuable time out of his life and gather books for an impoverished school?
But John Wood did return to that school and with thousands of books bundled on the back of a yak. And at that moment, Wood made the decision to walk away from Microsoft and create Room to Read—an organization that has donated more than 1.2 million books, established more than 2,600 libraries and 200 schools, and sent 1,700 girls to school on scholarship—ultimately touching the lives of 875,000 children with the lifelong gift of education.
Leaving Microsoft to Change the World chronicles John Wood's struggle to find a meaningful outlet for his managerial talents and entrepreneurial zeal. For every high-achiever who has ever wondered what life might be like giving back, Wood offers a vivid, emotional, and absorbing tale of how to take the lessons learned at a hard-charging company like Microsoft and apply them to one of the world's most pressing problems: the lack of basic literacy.
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Wood was born in Kent. He now lives with his wife and daughter. He served with the RAF; worked as a forester in Canada and England; manufactured bird-tables; was landlord at "The Red Lion" in Rode near Bath--and now writes full time.
John Wood currently resides in Wiltshire. John Wood was born in 1942.
Reviews - What do customers think about Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children?
a must-read Feb 25, 2007
This is a fantastic book - for people in the business or the non-profit world who want to be inspired by a single individual's ability to produce amazing results. Its an unapologetic look at what it takes - personally and professionally - to accomplish the most daunting of goals. John and Erin's model clearly works and will continue to scale and change the lives of generations and generations of families around the world. Literacy is one of the most powerful tools in any country.
This is a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered, "how can I make a difference?" I suggested this for book club and everyone loved it ... I also gave this book to a number of friends at Christmas and received rave reviews back.
Inspiring to Action Feb 13, 2007
John Wood saw a desperate need in Nepal and did not turn away. Utilizing his organizational skills and his personal contacts he created a method of providing schools and books to the poor people of SE Asia. He is making a huge difference in the lives of young people of the world. Too bad he is not our president!
A good short read Jan 17, 2007
In "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children," John Wood wrote about how he left Microsoft to start a non-profit organization to provide education opportunities for Nepalese children. At the beginning of the book, John wrote about how he realized his passion and how he left a lucrative expatriate compensation from Microsoft to do what he thought was right. Eighty-percent of the book centered around his work of starting a non-profi, called Room to Read, and focusing mostly on the fundraising. aspect. He also wrote about the difficulties of securing funds and just to run the organization in general. This book would be great for those who are interested in starting their own non-profits as it shows very clearly that it is not an easy thing to do. Soon, Room to Read expanded to other countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam.
It is an interesting book for me as Room to Read sounds like a great organization with a great leader who passionaltely believes in his work. Judging by the success of his fundraising efforts, I am almost certain that he is a great and motivational speaker. It is truly sad to read about the lack of educational facilities in some countries and also the need to help others.
John Wood is an inspiration Jan 17, 2007
I bought 15 copies of John Wood's book to give as Christmas presents after having the opportunity to hear him speak. Instead of just having high ideals he has the business skills to make the ideals and ideas a reality. It's great to know that the money he is given is really going to do good rather than to excessive overhead. His book is also very "open book" about his personal struggles with creating the magic that he has.
amazing progress in so little time Jan 16, 2007
John Wood made amazing progress with Room to Read going from nothing to four countries and a million donated books in five years. Reading John's story, I felt like a close friend being let in on a personal tale. The downside is that instead of being a business book or a guide for charities (my expectation) _Leaving_Microsoft_ turned out to be a great story about one guy doing lots of good in the world. John's perspective is different from most of us (the ex-VP of Microsoft laments that he can "only rent" in San Francisco while all of his buddies are creating millions in wealth... to be able to rent in and have an office in San Francisco would be wonderful). Would have liked more structure to the stories highlighting what worked and what didn't with less personal reflection. Seems like John is wandering in the desert happening on water not sure why he got there but confident that he will find more (which he always does). Again, great story and a fast read.