*RING Leaving Microsoft to Change the World ****JOIN THIS RING***

by John Wood | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 9780007237036 Global Overview for this book
Registered by karen07814 of Colchester, Essex United Kingdom on 9/3/2009
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9 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by karen07814 from Colchester, Essex United Kingdom on Thursday, September 03, 2009
To the lucky finder of this book...

Thank you for taking the time to visit us at Bookcrossing. If this is your first visit to our site...welcome & I'm sure you'll find it fun!

All over the world people are following their books travels through Book Crossing & by making an entry you will be helping keep this books unique travelling history up-to-date.

You can make your first journal entry about this book now! Just tell us where you found it....& don't worry about giving your name, you can remain anonymous.

When you’ve read it,why not come back here and let us know what you thought of it? Tell us what your plans for it are....is it being passed to someone else?...or maybe you're going to leave it for someone else to find - just like you did! Then, if you want to, you will be able to follow it's travels around the book loving world as well!

I hope you've enjoyed visiting us here at BookCrossing & if you do decide to join us, please consider using me,karen07814, as the member who referred you- then I know I'm successfully spreading the BookCrossing word!

Enjoy the book!

If bookcrossing got together with Room to read, where would it lead?
Inspirational stuff with some busines mixed in and I have emailed to ask about a collaboration....watch this space


earthcaroleanne in uk ship uk
vekiki in uk ship uk/eu
laure69 in France ship eu
ApaloniaX in EU, EU or surface mail if necessary
LyzzyBee in UK post UK
JoolsW in UK sjip int'l
Azuki in US prefers US/Can
KateKintail in US prefers US but int'l ok<-----book is here
back to me if possible (I haven't seen the changes it's gone through)

Journal Entry 2 by karen07814 at Falkirk, Scotland United Kingdom on Saturday, September 05, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (9/5/2009 UTC) at Falkirk, Scotland United Kingdom



over to you and onwards

Journal Entry 3 by wingearthcaroleannewing from Falkirk, Scotland United Kingdom on Monday, September 14, 2009
Just received this at the weekend thank, I'll add it to my bundle.

Journal Entry 4 by wingearthcaroleannewing from Falkirk, Scotland United Kingdom on Monday, September 28, 2009
I am really guilty of judging a book by its cover and when this arrived I thought, "I'm not sure if this is my thing". I considered not reading it but then Karen07814 had gone to all the trouble of sending it to me after I had requested it, so I may as well give it a go. Well, I am so glad I did! This guy is truly inspirational. I want to work for a man like this. I was exhausted by his energy and had tears in my eyes at the descriptions of children desparate to learn. The least I can do is buy my own copy of this book as all proceeds go to the charity. What I would really like to do, is highlight certain paragraphs and give it to my boss. But like Karen07814's boss it would be wasted on him.

Thank you for sending this out as a bookring.

Journal Entry 5 by wingearthcaroleannewing at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, September 28, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (9/28/2009 UTC) at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



On it's way to Vekiki (if the postman turns up - they've called an unofficial strike!)

Journal Entry 6 by Vekiki from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, October 09, 2009
Recieved today - I have a couple of bookrings ahead of it but shouldnt be too long with this. Thanks

Released 10 yrs ago (10/20/2009 UTC) at — Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom



An interesting idea, but this was written in tones a little too preachy for my liking! Still, a great story so thankyou for sharing

Popped in the post today so hopefully this will get moving before the strikes hit later this week!

Journal Entry 8 by laure69 from Paris, Ile-de-France France on Sunday, October 25, 2009
I have it and already started it

Journal Entry 9 by laure69 from Paris, Ile-de-France France on Monday, November 02, 2009
This book is both interesting and boring. It's interesting to see he decided to run his charity rather like any profit entreprise. I think it's a right thing to do. How boring are this pages long writing about how well he did at Microsoft, his long list of connections and the twice a page repeated telling he's working 25 hours a day. Sure this man has something to be proud of. It was good to think big but maybe not that big. I preferred the Nepalese part when it was still small. I myself went to Nepal in 1993 and added some photos I took during my trek. There's even a school where we left pens, another useful tool they really missed.

The book left for ApoloniaX two hours ago.

Journal Entry 10 by wingApoloniaXwing from Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin Germany on Thursday, November 05, 2009
Just found this book in my postbox - thanks for sending it, laure69.
After reading the other JEs I'm quite curious now how I will find it... I spent some two years in Nepal, volunteering, working, research. I bet I won't like the preachy part... And I hope he's not just full of pride and praise for himself instead of having a (self-)critical view of things... Let's see.
(I can recommend Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson!)
Edited to add a photo and make this page a bit more colourful - Adivasi kids in India, Gujarat, not far from the Narmada dam (they went to school, there was an NGO school nearby).

Journal Entry 11 by wingApoloniaXwing from Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin Germany on Tuesday, November 24, 2009
All in all I found John Wood’s organisation “Room to Read” a good one, one that is really doing something. But I was miserably ploughing through the book. Often I was so annoyed I just had to put it down – I found the author incredibly egocentric. I couldn’t help comparing to Greg Mortenson (Three Cups of Tea), who is so much less self-centered and who openly describes mistakes and setbacks. Reading Wood it sounds as if there weren’t any, everything constantly runs smoothly, success after success. Believe it or not. Or believe in the author’s right of omission.
At times this book is very detailed (I admit I wasn’t always that interested all the details about corporate life etc.), then it’s fast and shallow - when I would have liked some more information, especially about the actual project implementation. Unfortunately, important, central topics such as ownership or self-sufficiency are hardly brought up.
The title irritated me a bit – “change the world”… isn’t he a bit full of himself? The title of the German version is “Von Microsoft in den Himalaya: Bücher für eine bessere Welt“ = “From Microsoft to the Himalaya: Books for a Better World“, definitely less presumptuous.
I had my doubts when only a tiny fraction of those books he collected in the beginning was sorted out as not fit to go to Nepal. Were the books that were sent to Nepal all about things a Nepali child can relate to? I bet there were a lot of children’s books about rich white kids in their playrooms full of toys – what impact has that on a Nepali kid who has no toys (at least not what we call toys) and of course no room of his/her own? The expression “cultural imperialism” comes to my mind here… sorry, that’s a bit harsh, I know, but not everything that’s done with best intentions will have a positive impact. It seems that later on books were bought in the respective countries, which makes so much more sense. But questioning that first shipment should have come from John Wood. Nobody would have minded, nobody starts off perfectly.
Something else that annoyed me, which is connected to his self-centeredness, is that he hardly mentions all those co-operations with other NGOs. I was surprised to hear that Room to Read is very active in Cambodia. (BTW, calling Kompong Cham “remote” must be a joke!) I worked with NGOs there for 2,5 years in the mid-2000s, but hadn’t heard of Room to Read. I admit the name isn’t one I would easily remember. Then checking the www.roomtoread.org website I found that numerous local NGOs are listed as partners, actually about all the major players in that field. Those co-operations make so much sense, the NGOs have been there for quite a while, they know the “scene”, they have the expertise – but why hardly bringing them into focus? Would that have shifted too much glory to them (away from himself)?
John Wood gives the impression that all parents are principally eager to send children to school. That is simply not true in a multitude of cases. It is a pity that he hasn’t realised the need for adult education. Teaching mothers to read and write makes them understand how important this is for their daughters. Educating both mothers and daughters should go hand in hand. It isn’t that hard to organize evening classes for parents.
I read again what I wrote in my previous JE: “And I hope he's not just full of pride and praise for himself instead of having a (self-)critical view of things”. Oh well… he is. Boasting and bragging.
But I don’t really want to condemn him, not at all – he’s doing something important there. He just shouldn’t write books.

What’s really nice about this book: the pictures! I mean the ones from laure69.
I add a few Cambodian ones.
And a Nepali one here in this JE, taken in a hard-of-hearing class at the NGO CBR in Bhaktapur (sorry, bad quality, it's just a scan from a slide).

Journal Entry 12 by wingApoloniaXwing at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (11/24/2009 UTC) at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases



Travelling to LyzzyBee now.
(With a Lao picture here on the left side, ethnic Hmong girls in a village northern Laos)
Thanks for offering this ring, karen07814!

Journal Entry 13 by LyzzyBee from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Friday, November 27, 2009
Arrived today - thank you! Love the pictures that have been added in to the book - how cool! I don't have any far away tales to tell myself although I enjoy supporting a small charity in Ethiopia that helps young women go to school, among other things.

Anyway, should start this fairly soon...

Journal Entry 14 by LyzzyBee from Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Acquired via BookCrossing 27 Nov 2009 - Bookring

It was with a little trepidation that I opened this book, given that previous readers had said it was boring, preachy and self-centered. I actually didn't find this. Sure, it was about Wood's life-changing decision to leave Microsoft and set up the Room To Read charity, which builds libraries and schools in places that really need them, and it was maybe more a business biography than a personal one. But I did feel he was honest and open. He talks about working long days but also about the toll that has taken on his personal and emotional life, and he celebrates his teams in a good way. I loved the bits about going running with the redoubtable Steve Ballmer when he was still at Microsoft!

One reader had pasted in some pictures of Nepal etc and this made it very special.

Room to Read is a fantastic charity and I'll be looking at making a donation to them. The Birmingham BookCrossers have sponsored the building of a library in India through Good Gifts and it's certainly a lovely feeling to do such a thing.

Anyway - a good, interesting and celebratory read. I will contact JoolsW and send it on asap.

Journal Entry 15 by LyzzyBee at Controlled Release, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Monday, January 04, 2010

Released 10 yrs ago (1/4/2010 UTC) at Controlled Release, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases



Mailing to the next reader today!

Journal Entry 16 by JoolsW from Haworth, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, January 07, 2010
I received the book today and am looking forward to getting into it within the next few days.

Journal Entry 17 by JoolsW from Haworth, West Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 03, 2010
On the whole I found this an interesting and inspiring read and would definitely recommend the book to others. It was great to see the photos added by previous readers too - a lovely bonus!

Thanks to karen07814 for sharing this one with us - I found it well worth reading : )

I sent a PM to Azuki a couple of days ago and will send the book on its way when I get a response.

Journal Entry 18 by JoolsW at bookring, Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, February 15, 2010

Released 10 yrs ago (2/14/2010 UTC) at bookring, Bookring -- Controlled Releases



This book is now in the post to Azuki. Happy Bookcrossing : )

Journal Entry 19 by wingAzukiwing from Miami, Florida USA on Saturday, February 27, 2010
Thanks, book has arrived!! I just finished reading Stones to Schools so I am curious how this would compare. Just want to note that I will be leaving in less than two weeks to go on a three-week trip. It is doubtful I will get time to finish the book before I leave, and I prefer not to take it on my travel to avoid losing or damaging it (especially when it's get all these beautiful photos and postcards). So, the book may stay a little longer with me but don't worry when I return in mid April I will continue its journey.

Journal Entry 20 by wingAzukiwing from Miami, Florida USA on Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Since it has been a while so just want to update that I am back home and am now catching up on my bookrings reading. I have started on this book, am enjoying it, and should be able to finish and send it out in two weeks.

Journal Entry 21 by wingAzukiwing from Miami, Florida USA on Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I guess I was a business major so I did enjoy the part about his Microsoft life, and how he has applied his experience and training in the business world in Room to Read. It is true that many nonprofit groups have all hearts but lack the business mindset to make it work, and I've often been fustrated by groups who miss out on their potentials because they don't conduct it like a business, with the excuse "well, we are mostly volunteers, what can you expect". Indeed there are badly managed businesses, but there are definitely more badly managed non profits that I've seen. So to me it's refreshing to see how Wood applies his Microsoft mentality to RTR.

His style is very different from Mortenson, but I don't think one is necessarily superior over the other. In some way I like this book better, because it contains more tidbits of idea I can apply. There is more than one road to success, and we need as many people helping to make the world a better way, in whatever way they can.

Reading this book also makes me sorely wish that USPS had not discontinued its surface mail overseas. I used to enjoy sending books overseas to developing countries whenever there is a request on BC forum, and unfortunately I am no longer able to do so.

I have KateKintail's address but am waiting for her confirmation before sending the book on.

ETA: Sent May 14.

Journal Entry 22 by KateKintail at Burke, Virginia USA on Sunday, June 06, 2010
I was waiting for the BookCrossing site to get a little more stable before I started using it again, but it looks like that might be some time. Sorry for the delay in journaling!

I got this a little bit ago and I've already started reading it. I absolutely love the photos taped into the book. What a brilliant addition. I love seeing your personal connection to the book's tales and I also like seeing so much of the area and its people. I'm looking forward to finishing this story and passing it on ASAP! Thanks for including me on this ring.

Journal Entry 23 by KateKintail at Burke, Virginia USA on Monday, June 28, 2010
I finished this on Do Nothing But Read Day- June 27, 2010.

I haven't yet read Three Cups of Tea though I have it on Mountain Range To Be Read. I can't remember when I signed up for this bookring but I do remember that the title seemed inspiring. I'm a computer science girl who turned down a job at IBM; I work at a non-profit now and though there are parts of my job I don't like, I wake up every work day knowing my work helps writers, teachers, and students studying writing which is more important to me than money... I wish I had the kind of money John had to be able to make such a big difference all of a sudden. It was interesting to see him make the transition here and to actually make that decision.

But even though he was in a financially stable place and able to travel and quit his job at Microsoft, I think he also stands as a great example of how much good one person can do. He started with a little book drive, after all! I've done that :-) My chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance won the chapter cup this year in the annual book drive, actually, donating more than 2,500 books to 10 different charities (libraries, donation banks, the Mississippi Delta schools, soldiers in Iraq, retirement homes). This book is so inspiring because it shows how something so small makes such a significant difference to people. It was amazing that just $20, for example, could mean weeks or months of practice time on a computer for one man.

I must admit some of the financial parts started to bore me by the end. It seemed like more fundraising than I really needed to hear about. But I liked the intimate look at ALL of the sides of thinking up and starting up the charity. My favorite parts were definitely the stories and interactions with specific people and children who were helped by Room to Read. Many of the stories touched my heart and moved me to tears a few times.

Volunteering is a significant part of my life, as are books. This book (and all the little additions people have included) has been so inspirational. Makes me want to act up and do more immediately.

I'm just going to repeat a quote near the end of the book because I don't want to forget it: "Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly." ~St. Francis de Sales

Journal Entry 24 by karen07814 at Colchester, Essex United Kingdom on Friday, October 17, 2014
Back home with all it's bits and pieces and photos in. Thank you for posting it.

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