I reserve five stars for books I consider life-changing, and this one certainly fits the bill. The guy the book is about, Greg Mortenson, is one of those people who just quietly does great things without any fanfare. While nearly getting killed trying to climb a ferocious mountain (K2), he was nursed back to life by a remote village, and fell in love with the people, the culture, the village, and one wise man who became like a father to him. He promised to build a school for the children of Korphe, and three years later he kept that promise. At that point he had learned how to do it, so he just kept on going. I think his organization, the Central Asia Institute, has built over 70 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan now, and continues to build more.
I worry that if anything happens to Greg, or whenever he is ready to retire, his CAI organization will fall apart without him. It all seems to depend on his personal relationships with the people in the areas he serves. I hope he begins to mentor others who might continue his work after he's gone. It would be a terrible shame for all he's worked so hard for in his lifetime to fade away when he's no longer able to personally oversee it.
The three cups of tea of the title outline a great lesson Greg learned that I'm learning as well. It's all about the relationships with the people. We have so much to learn from them.