Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Three Cups of Tea

       I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin. It's a biography of Greg Mortenson and shows that you can run against the grain and do great good in the world.

      Greg Mortenson is an American who grew up in Africa. When his family came back to the States Greg had many various experiences. A life changing experience occurred when he had a spectacular failure in a climbing attempt of K-2. He bumbled into a village and was aided in his recuperation. Before he left the village he saw that they badly needed and wanted a school. This was in 1999. Greg struggled to raise money to build the school. There were many challenges but finally the school was completed.

     Greg some how or other came to trust the judgementent of the local villagers and they trusted him. Other villages in the area also wanted a school. The rest of the story is how Greg went on the build many schools and other projects that helped the Muslim people in northern Pakistan. Unfortunately for Greg he was in Pakistan when 9 /11  occurred. He was very fortunate to get back to America. By this time of his life he was committed to building as many schools as possible and there was no end of requests for schools.

      Greg strongly believed that education was what would prevent radical Muslims from influencing other Muslims being recruited to terrorism. For this stand Greg received all kinds of hate mail and death threats in America. These worried him but did not prevent him from carrying on.

      The story is a page burner as you worry about Greg's success and safety. He goes from one tight spot to another.

      I agree with Greg's idea that education is key. I spent 37 years in education so I would naturally agree as I know that education brings freedom, independence and power.

      It's ironic though that Greg should receive death threats from his own people who are well educated? Education is just one piece of the puzzle. Greg found that the American Government's failure to deliver on aid projects was one of the challenges he faced in his work.

     I great to see that one individual could go against the the general thinking of his country and make such a difference at a basic level.

      I quite often ask avid readers what they are reading. In that way I find really good books to read. Two readers  were my friends Eileen and her husband Mike. We often talked about the books we read and recommended books to each other. A week before Eileen died in May she told me that Three Cups of Tea was a book I had to read. So for Eileen, I've finally read Three Cups of Tea and as you said it was a great read.

       So I highly recommend that you read Three Cups of Tea.



  1. I read it too, Red, and I enjoyed it very much. It's hard to imagine how we can be so ignorant in this country about the need to educate in order to save these countries, but we are. In some ways, the misinformation in our own country is appalling.

  2. I like the term you use to describe the situation...misinformation. Of course, there's misinformation on both sides here. Why doesn't common sense say lets only use fact ....reality to do business with each other?
    But I really did enjoy the Mortenson story.

  3. I shall add this to my list! Hard to go against the grain.

  4. Okay, I've given you a hot tip for a good book to read, now what have you read lately that's really good?
    I keep a list of books that I read on the right side way down at the bottom. I also have my bird sightings down there as if you don't have enough to do in your day.

  5. I most enjoyed this book as well. I like how you went to the farthest reaches to begin his schools. There he could interact more directly with the community and their needs.

  6. I hadn't thought about how he went to the boonies but it makes great sense. First, he was far away from Govt. influence and second these were people who were in the most need.
    I spent five years in the acrtic in the 60's and some of his story resonates with me. I really had to trust the Innuit and when that happened they trusted me. I had to understand that they were masters in their own land.