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"Leaving Microsoft to Change the World" by John Wood, a Book Review

Updated on June 19, 2013
Nepal Mountain Lodge
Nepal Mountain Lodge | Source

Book summary

This is a book about John Wood.
John Wood is a good american guy, that spend a whole lot of years working for Microsoft.
Certainly a good paying and interesting job, that a lot of people would die for.
At one point, the stress off the job started to get to him, and when his friend proposed the idea of going on a Trek in the Nepalese mountains, he decided to go for it.
Unknowingly, it changed the course of his whole life.

On his trek he visited a Nepalese school, where he realized how bad conditions of these schools were.
Way too few schools, in way too dangerous areas. And libraries filled with dust and no more than a few aging books, locked in for no one to see or use.
That was when he promised the school to come back again, with books for the library.
A thing that no one believed would ever happen.

But John Wood kept his promise, and went back to Nepal with a yak, bundled up with books.
And that was when he decided to stop using his life on a job he had started to resent, and then he created "Room to Read".
Since then, more than 1.2 million books have been donated via. "Room to Read", more than 2.600 libraries and 200 schools all over the world has been established and John Wood has been able to help send more than 1700 girls to school

My personal opinion

At first I loved this book. I love stories about people who change their life dramastically.
He managed to write a pretty good couple of chapters about how he changed his life AND WHY (very important thing), and the people he met that changed him.

After the first part of the book, there were a lot of chapters that I think was centralized too much around Microsoft and his work there, and since that was not really what I wanted to hear about, I really felt like skipping those parts.

In general there was a lot of talking about funding and money in this book, where instead I would have loved more information about "Room to Read" and the work he did with the libraries. Maybe he thought that other people who is/was thinking about starting a company or a project like his own, would appreciate all the practical chapters of this book.
I could just not appreciate that part as much as it probably deserved to be.

All in all I think he did a pretty good job with this book.
The book both had me crying and smiling, because while it is really tragic and sad, it is also so heartwarming to read about people who devote their entire life to helping other people. And it only makes me wanna do the same.

Recommended for: People who like life-changing stories, volunteer work and novels about the 3rd world
Partly recommended for: People who want to start their own business or project like John Wood's. There is a few good tips and descriptions of the more money and administrative-related work of "Room to Read"
Not recommend for: Cynical people, who don't like sob-sob stories about poor places in the world. If you prefer plot-heavy books, and do not really care too much about non-fiction, you should probably stay clear of this one too.


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