Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children

Book - 2006
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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.

Publisher: New York : Collins, c2006
ISBN: 9780061121074
Branch Call Number: ANF 370.91734 WOO
Characteristics: vi, 266 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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Jun 26, 2014

If there is only one book you are going to read this year please make this the one. In describing his Odyssey to educate the World's Children John Wood tells of his gut wrenching experiences in South East Asia, his decision to give up his blossoming career with Microsoft, and his founding of the "Room to Read," an organization whose mandate is simple - build schools and set up libraries so that the poorest of the poor may get an education.There were numerous occasions during my reading of this book when I was teary eyed. Please, I urge you to read this book

Apr 06, 2014

John Wood sets an example that we can help other people help them selves to a better life through learning to read and write.

ChristchurchLib Dec 09, 2013

"Former Microsoft marketing executive John Wood experienced a profound change of perspective after a 21-day trekking vacation to Nepal in 1998. After seeing how intelligent the children of the country were but how few resources existed to school them, he eventually walked away from his high-powered career to create the non-profit Room to Read. Working throughout rural and poor communities in Asia and Africa, the programme has created thousands of libraries and schools and helped numerous children learn to read. Combining business topics and travel stories, this "infectiously inspiring" (Publishers Weekly) memoir should prove enlightening for anyone who wants to translate business practices to nonprofit operations and invigorating for those who share Wood's desire to effect positive change in the world. Want to know more? Check out Wood's latest book, Creating Room to Read." Armchair Travel December 2013 newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=709938

Jan 14, 2012

This book is truly inspiring. John Wood and Room to Read continue to have a huge impact on children's lives around the world. And all of us can help!

Anyone who thinks that success is purely a result of hard work should read this book. The inequality of opportunity for children around the world is shocking. We US citizens take a great deal for granted.

Mar 16, 2011

great read. I have this one in my personal collection. Reading this book gave me the push to follow my idea of growing a local non-profit even bigger. Computers for Communities (http://computersforcommunities.ca) has grown a bunch since reading this book. It gives you the push needed to follow your dreams of a crazy idea. You do not need to leave your job, if you do let me know how you did it...

Dec 13, 2009

This book was a fascinating and inspiring read. It tells the story of how John Wood's life was transformed after visiting a Nepalese school that had no books.

It is a very interesting story but also very important for its message - we can become so overwhelmed by the worlds problems, but it shows that one person can change the world if they set their mind to it. An amazing story and Room to Read is an awesome organization.

Dec 03, 2009

John Wood's book is about taking a step back and helping people in less fortunate circumstances.
As well, it is an inspiration for the reader to apply herself/himself more to charities that actualize your monetary contribution directly to the end-user. Look for charities such as Wood's Room to Read where at least 90 percent of your contribution goes to the community or family it is intended to go to. In the age of internet, many charities do disclose and inform the contributor exactly where the money is going.


Nov 04, 2007

This book changed my life - this is now my favourite charity.

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