Creating Room to Read: New “Story of Hope” Tackles Global Literacy and Gender Equality – John Wood, USA

In the 1990s, John Wood was enjoying a lucrative senior executive position at Microsoft, where he led marketing and business development teams throughout Asia.  It was during this time that Wood took a life-changing trip to Nepal, where he saw the consequences of illiteracy up close. Rather than move on from that experience, Wood changed his life: he left Microsoft and started Room to Read, an organization dedicated to eradicating illiteracy and promoting gender equality in education globally. Wood documented his journey in the 2006 book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children.

I spoke with Wood last November on Daily Edventures, where he shared his inspiring story and his plans for Room to Read to reach 10 million kids by 2015 (they have already helped more than seven million kids throughout the world).

Today, I’m pleased to share that Wood  has a new book, Creating Room to Read:  A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy.  In it, Wood “tackles the organization’s next steps – the challenges of managing expansion while maintaining integrity; of raising money in a collapsing economy; of promoting gender equality through scholarships for girls; and of changing the mission to include not just building libraries but also publishing books for children who literally have no books in their native language and training thousands of teachers and librarians.”

Wood has been hailed as “The Andrew Carnegie of the developing world,” and for good reason: he has built more than six-times as many libraries as Carnegie did. We can all learn something from Wood’s story. I’ve said before that Wood is something of a hero of mine, and I am looking forward to reading the latest installment of his inspiring life and work.

For those of you who are in Seattle, Wood will be signing his book at the Seattle Public Library on February 19 – learn more here.

Additionally, you can follow Wood’s book tour on


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