Kate McKenzie

Great Read

I Just finished reading Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood.  The book details his first steps in starting Room to Read and organization that provides books and computers to schools in the developing world.  

While I read, I was struck by a couple of things.  First off, the sheer grit and determination it takes to start something new.  I have been realizing that often when you start something new, nobody “gets” it and it can be overwhelmingly lonely to realize that even your loved ones don’t understand why you want to make this change in your life.  This is part of why I am taking this Worldviews Journey is to understand how the inspirational individuals I am interviewing get past this stage.  How do they overcome the first steps that are riddled with questions, roadblocks and difficult decisions as to whom to let influence your passion.

I was also struck by Wood’s approach to starting this project.  He dreamed big and he didn’t have all the answers.  I have been learning as I go that when you don’t have all the answers, when you leave room for others to be involved and don’t try to convince yourself you can manage and control everything that it actually creates a freedom to start the creative process and make something amazing!

Wood does a great job in this book of providing practical advice and tips from his own journey that I believe would be helpful for many NGO’s who are starting out or who want to take that next step forward or for individuals contemplating taking the leap out of their current job.  Check it out if you need a good read!   Thank you so much to Steph who gave me this book as I left Colombia – you have helped to inspire me!

My favourite “poster child” for [thinking big] is actually from the private sector- Amazon.  When Jeff Bezos launched the company in 1995, the home page bodily declared Amazon to be “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore” even though they had yet to sell a single title. (pg. 117)


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