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Posted June 23, 2008

Book: Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace One School at a Time
Author: Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin
Penquin Books. New York. 2006. Pp.349

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

"Here (in Pakistan and Afghanistan), we drink three cups of tea to do business, the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join the family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything --- even die."

In 1993 a mountaineer named Greg Mortenson drifted iinto an impoverished Pakistan village in the Karakoram mountains after a failed attempt to climb K2. Moved by the inhabitants' kindness he promised to return and build a school. Three Cups of Tea is the story of that promise and its extraordinary outcome. Over the next decade Mortenson built not just one but fifty-five schools --- especially for girls --- in the forbidding terrain that gave birth to the Taliban. His story is at once a riveting adventure and a testament to the power of the humanitarian spirit.

An Excerpt from the Book:

Norberg-Hodge admiringly quotes the king of another Himalayan country, Bhutan, who says the true measure of a nation's success is not gross national product, but "gross national happiness." On their warm, dry roofs, among the fruits of their successful harvest, eating, smoking, and gossiping with the same sense of leisure as Parisians on the terrace of a sidewalk cafe, Mortenson felt sure that, despite all that they lacked, the Balti still held the key to a kind of uncomplicated happiness that was disappearing in the developing world as fast as old-growth forests.

Table of Contents 1 Failure
2. The wrong side of the river
3. "Progress and Perfection"
20 Tea with the Taliban
21. Rumsfeld's shoes
22. "The Enemy is Ignorance
23 Stones into schools