Level 3 | John Wood

Summary of: Level 3: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World
By: John Wood


Dive into the inspiring memoir of John Wood, a former Microsoft executive who embarked on a life-altering journey when he founded Room to Read, a global nonprofit organization aimed at promoting literacy and education in the developing world. Through his moving account, learn how Wood’s journey began with the discovery of a village school in Nepal with only a handful of books and how his determination and business acumen transformed this observation into a mission to provide education to thousands of children across various countries. This summary highlights Wood’s exceptional ability to infuse innovation into philanthropy, applying his valuable experience from the corporate world to initiate groundbreaking change.

Room to Read: A Lesson in Compassion

John Wood shares his inspiring journey of using his Microsoft business expertise to promote literacy through Room to Read, a global non-profit.

In his memoir, former Microsoft Director John Wood describes his life-altering moment during a vacation to Nepal, where he discovered a village school with only a handful of books. This led him to create Room to Read, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy and education in developing countries worldwide. With a vision to “build the Microsoft of nonprofits,” Wood details how he successfully founded collaborative communities in Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Laos, and Africa.

With candor, tenacity, and business savvy, Wood was able to inspire donors and tap into his network to create a global non-profit promoting literacy and education throughout the developing world. His memoir is not only an inspiring read, but it also provides valuable insights for running a successful non-profit organization.

Through Room to Read, Wood’s mission of educating girls and bringing libraries to places in need has been realized. His memoir serves as a sincere, immersing guide for anyone who wants to follow in his admirable footsteps and for those already making a difference in the world.

Books That Changed John

John Wood’s vacation to Nepal exposed him to impoverished children with no access to books. Inspired to make a difference, John found a life-changing purpose by providing books to these children, creating an organization dedicated to advancing literacy, and inspiring teamwork. Wood believes that you should not focus on obstacles in creating a positive change.

Building Schools in Villages

The author funded the construction of two schools with a $10,000 budget. He believes that true ownership of a school is developed when community members invest time and labor. To illustrate, the author recalls a ceremony for a new school where 183 families each donated 1,001 rupees, equivalent to $14 USD at the time, in a community where the average adult earned $1 a day. Local women carried 110-pound bags of cement up the mountain to the school building site, demonstrating their commitment to a better future for their children and inspiring the author.

Room to Grow Girls’ Education

Wood’s Room to Read program called Room to Grow empowers girls and young women with education. The program covers school fees, uniforms, shoes, books, bags, and health insurance for $250 per girl per year and provides each girl with a bicycle. Educated women lead to better family and societal health, lower infant mortality rates, lower incidence of HIV/AIDS transmission, and better food security. Since 2006, more than 2,000 girls in Cambodia, Nepal, Vietnam, and India have benefited from this scholarship program.

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