“Leaving Microsoft to Change the World” by John Wood – Book Review

About John Wood

There are not many people who choose to walk away at the height of their corporate career to dedicate their life to a social cause. At age 35, John Wood did just that. He left his position as Microsoft’s Director of Business Development for the Greater China Region in order to found Room to Read. John strives to bring the lessons of the corporate world to the non-profit sector. Room to Read combines his passion with the discipline of a well-run global company.

About the book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World tells us the story on how John Wood came to his decision to leave Microsoft and the start of Room to Read. In 1998 John Wood was a rising executive at Microsoft. Then a trip to Nepal inspired him to set up schools and libraries in the developing world. Fuelled by the same drive that made him a top executive, Wood took his business experience into the charity sector and created Room to Read, a stunningly effective organization. The book chronicles John Wood’s incredible journey, his years at Microsoft, his life-changing decision to leave, and the adventure that followed. Wood shares the methods he uses to manage Room to Read. John Wood’s approach to non-profit management:

  •     Scalable, measured, sustainable results
  •     Low-overhead, allowing maximum investment in educational infrastructure
  •     Challenge grants fostering community ownership and sustainability
  •     Strong local staff and partnerships creating culturally relevant programs

About Room to Read Room to Read is an innovative non-profit leader dedicated to promoting and enabling global education. This is done by establishing libraries and schools, publishing and distributing local language children’s books, and providing long-term educational support for girls to pursue and complete their secondary education. Since its foundation in 2000, Room to Read has impacted the lives of over 3.1 million children in developing countries by:

  •     Constructing 765 schools
  •     Establishing over 7,040 libraries
  •     Publishing 327 new local language children’s titles representing over 2.8 million books
  •     Donating over 2.8 million English language children’s books
  •     Funding 6,817 long-term girls’ scholarships
  •     Establishing 179 computer and language labs

Change your life The book was a great read. It is a real novel. But furthermore it is a really inspirational story. A man that completely followed his heart is an example to us all. It is not a call up for everybody to devote your self to charity. But to take your life into your own hands and choose your path. I had the privilege to meet John Wood in person and attend a presentation of his. He truly is a very warm and inspiring person. Are you following your heart? Are you doing what you really want? Are you passionate about your job? Read the book as an inspiration to make a change.