Three Cups of Tea by Greg ­Mortenson with David Oliver Relin MAG

February 10, 2009

Three Cups of Tea tells the story of Greg Mortenson, who endeavors to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It describes “one man's mission to promote peace one school at a time.” This is a great read if you're looking for inspiration to change the world.

The title comes from a local proverb that explains how after sharing three cups of tea, “you become family,” and this is ­exactly what happens to Mortenson.

The journey begins with Mortenson's unsuccessful ­attempt to climb K2, the second highest mountain on earth. Even though he fails, the book shows his strength and determination, which eventually help him overcome obstacles to building his first school.

Descending from the mountain, he ends up in the small village of Korphe, where he is treated with great hospitality. To show his gratitude, he ­decides to build a school there. You read the hardships and ­obstacles Mortenson had to overcome to finish this project (and many more).

What Mortenson has done is impressive. Three Cups of Tea gives him the recognition he deserves by chronicling these incredible feats. With his many accomplishments, it is nearly impossible to maintain an ­unbiased opinion of him. Even though David Oliver Relin ­intended to be neutral, he idolizes Mortenson and even states in the introduction that “it is impossible to remain simply a reporter” in his presence.

Though the style of writing is great, at times it falls short. The book is written in the journalistic style of a very long newspaper article and can be tedious. But if you don't mind that, this book is an excellent read. Three Cups of Tea will fill you with joy and empowerment ­because if one man can do it, anyone can.

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