Bringing Books to Nepal, where 70 Percent of People are Illiterate

05 Aug Bringing Books to Nepal, where 70 Percent of People are Illiterate

Leaving Microsoft to Save the World…that’s quite a tall order, isn’t it? Saving the world I mean.

When I first picked up the book, I was certainly intrigued by the title and the concept: An entirely Type A,  brilliant, Microsoft executive takes a much-need trip to Napal and is shocked to find the majority of the country’s people are illiterate, largely because of a lack of resources, namely books. Horrified that the library of a school he visits is empty, the only selection of precious reading material under lock and key and painfully limited at that: romance novels and a Lonely Planet Guide to Mongolia among the backpackers’ cast-offs, John Wood is inspired to do something–something huge. He promises to return with books a year later in hopes of changing the lives of the school’s children, but all the while it’s his own life that begins to evolve.

Is world travel, an outrageous expense account (and equally outrageous apartment), worth the sacrifice of time, mind, body…maybe even soul? Is there soul in that work at all? Most certainly John Wood discovers there is soul in Nepal. The clean air, simple life, honest demands on the body, and opportunity to truly make a difference send him reeling as he must contemplate how best to serve the Nepalese people while maintaining his demanding career.

When he returns to Nepal a year later, his father, Woody, and 967 pounds of books with him, John is once again smitten with the people and the place and thrilled beyond belief with the joy of delivering his donated treasures. Everyone from friends and family to Scholastic Books has gotten on board and John sees it’s just the start. How many schools can he help? In how many countries?

An easy, comfortable read, I’m enjoying this book…and just might be inspired to do something more myself.