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Archive for the ‘Stories That Inspire’ Category

While on the topic of inspirational, eye opening books, here is another good one.

It’s the true story of a successful Microsoft employee who left his position to start a non-profit organization.  The book begins with his life at Microsoft and details the journey he took to become the founder of Room to Reada non-profit that promotes literacy and education around the world.  I found it to be both well written, and inspiring.

Books mentioned in this post:

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood

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After reading Half the Sky, I wanted to learn more about women’s issues in the global community, so I read this:

The story is told in a easy to read, straight forward manner.  The author’s directness was unnerving, but a story like this could not be anything less I suppose.  It is the story of a woman who suffered horribly as a child prostitute working in the brothels of Cambodia, and how she is using that experience to rescue girls living in that same situation today.  I had to pause several times during my reading of her story, pause to cry, to collect myself.  It’s not an easy read.  The atrocities that we humans can afflict on one another goes beyond reason.  However, the least I can do is listen to her story, to be aware.  And  it’s a story worth reading.  The path she took to get where she is today is pretty amazing, and the things she has accomplished on behalf of victimized girls in Southeast Asia is inspiring.  There’s no happy ending, she offers no panacea for the problem, and it’s an overwhelming problem to be sure.  She reminded me, however, that we all have a role to play in this life.  We all carry with us experiences, talents, and resources that can be used to bring light into the life of another human being.  One moment at a time, one step at a time, one interaction at a time we can all do something.  One of my favorite quotes from the book comes from the Somaly’s adoptive Father.  Speaking to some girls who had been rescued from the brothels he said, “What you have learned, from experience, is worth much more than gold. If you have a house it may burn down. Any kind of possession can be lost, but your experience is yours forever. Keep it and find a way to use it” (page 156).  I highly recommend this book, and encourage you to learn more about Somaly’s organization here.

Books mentioned in this post:

The Road to Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam

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Tonight PBS is showing a documentary based on the book Half the Sky.  Knowing that it is waiting for me on my DVR has me reflecting on my experience with the book.   I love books.  I love a good story and how it can draw you in, capturing your heart, your imagination, or your funny bone.  As much as I enjoy a good book, however, I can’t say that I’ve read one that has changed my life.  That is, until I read Half the Sky.  Once I started, I had a very hard time putting it down.  Emotionally, it was a very challenging experience.  Some of the stories are horrific, and left me sobbing on more than one occasion.  But there were also stories of hope and redemption, which kept me moving though the pages.  After I read the final page, I closed the book and put it on a shelf in my room.  The stories stuck with me though, they changed me.  I started to develop a passion for things I used to only think about in passing.  My outlook, my perspective on life shifted dramatically.  I was reminded that to be born a woman in this country is a blessing in in of itself, and that to truly enjoy those blessings I must open my eyes and my heart to suffering that is unimaginable to me.  Reading the book prompted me to become a sponsor for Women for Women International, an organization that I have come to respect greatly.  I highly recommend this book, and encourage you to find out more at the Half the Sky website.

Books mentioned in this post:

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

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