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The inspirational story of a former Microsoft executive’s quest to build libraries around the world and share the love of books
What’s happened since John Wood left Microsoft to change the world? Just ask six million kids in the poorest regions of Asia and Africa. In 1999, at the age of thirty-five, Wood quit a lucrative career to found the nonprofit Room to Read. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the Andrew Carnegie of the developing world,” he strived to bring the lessons of the corporate world to the nonprofit sector—and succeeded spectacularly.
In his acclaimed first book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, Wood explained his vision and the story of his start-up. Now, he tackles the organization’s next steps and its latest challenges—from managing expansion to raising money in a collapsing economy to publishing books for children who literally have no books in their native language. At its heart, Creating Room to Read shares moving stories of the people Room to Read works to help: impoverished children whose schools and villages have been swept away by war or natural disaster and girls whose educations would otherwise be ignored.
People at the highest levels of finance, government, and philanthropy will embrace the opportunity to learn Wood’s inspiring business model and blueprint for doing good. And general readers will love Creating Room to Read for its spellbinding story of one man’s mission to put books within every child’s reach.
About the Author
John Wood worked for Microsoft for nine years, helping grow the company’s international profile. He resigned at thirty-five and founded Room to Read, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s top nonprofit organizations. He documented his decision and the creation of Room to Read in his memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. He lives in New York City.
“[John Wood’s] extraordinary enthusiasm [and] boldness…come through clearly. His legacy of libraries is one of which another role model – Andrew Carnegie – would no doubt have been proud, especially since Wood began with nothing like the same personal fortune.” —Financial Times
“Room to Read will show people they do not need to accept the forces of darkness….May the larger, smarter, more compassionate team win. I know which side will get my investment.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“John Wood is building a global movement around literacy and gender equality. Creating Room to Read offers a blueprint for transforming lives…and eventually the world.” —Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook and New York Times bestselling author of Lean In
“A refreshing reminder of the power of libraries—their ability to transform individual lives and strengthen communities.” —Melinda Gates
“An absorbing personal account of a remarkable achievement.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Wood’s passion for literacy and education infuses every page. An inspiring read on the power of books.” —Booklist
"Just think what would happen if a couple hundred people followed his example." —President Bill Clinton
"One of the legendary triumphs of philanthropy was Andrew Carnegie's construction of more than 2,500 libraries. Numerically, it has already been surpassed several times over by an American man you've probably never heard of. Wood is tireless, enthusiastic and emotional: a motivational speaker with no off button." —Nick Kristof