Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Aug 29, 2006 - Business & Economics - 272 pages
20 Reviews

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.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
5
4 stars
10
3 stars
2
2 stars
3
1 star
0

Review: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children

User Review  - Mac - Goodreads

An incredibly great book that EVERYONE should read. This shows that there's more to life than just what we've brought up to believe. Just because you're living comfortably in a city with basic ... Read full review

Review: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children

User Review  - Wes Graves - Goodreads

I really wasn't too sure what to expect when I started reading this book. It had been on my shelf for about 6 months when I finally decided it was time to give it a try. I was quite pleasantly ... Read full review

Contents

Perhaps Sir You Will Someday Come Back
3
You Need to Get Home Soon
21
Debating a Radical Change
35
Walking Away
61
An Object in Motion
75
Expansion beyond Nepal
97
A Strong SecondinCommand
118
September 11
128
Putting Girls in Their PlaceSchool
181
Count Me In Don
193
The Students of Cambodia
199
The Network Goes into Overdrive
207
Democracy in Action in India
214
The Tsunami
219
The Millionth Book
239
Epilogue The Next Chapter of My Adult Life
251

Building the Microsoft of Nonprofits
137
Building the Network
151
Your Life Is a Mess
171
HITTING OUR STRIDE
179
Acknowledgments
255
Index
259
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

After earning an MBA at the prestigious Kellogg School of Management, John Wood worked for several years in banking before joining Microsoft in 1991. Through hard work and determination, he ascended rapidly, earning coveted overseas assignments in Australia and China. While serving as Microsoft's Director of Business Development for the Greater China region, Wood decided to change his life's focus to help children break the cycle of poverty through the lifelong gift of education. In 2000, he founded Room to Read, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and soon in Africa. When not traveling the world fund-raising and visiting Room to Read communities, he lives in San Francisco.

Bibliographic information