Three Cups Of Tea: One Man's Mission To Promote Peace . . . One School At A Time

Paperback | January 30, 2007

byGreg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin

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The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard

Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit.

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From the Publisher

The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyardAnyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K...

Greg Mortenson is the director of the Central Asia Institute. A resident of Montana, he spends several months of the year in Pakistan and Afghanistan. David Oliver Relin is a contributing editor for Parade magazine and Skiing magazine. He has won more than forty national awards for his work as a writer and editor.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 8.4 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:January 30, 2007Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143038257

ISBN - 13:9780143038252


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very inspiring It's so touching to see what a difference someone can make in this world
Date published: 2016-08-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but I may have enjoyed it more without the ? surrounding it 3.5 stars Greg Mortenson was climbing K2 when he got lost on his way down and came across a small village in Pakistan. He decided he wanted to help the children there - the girls in partcular - by building them a school, as they'd had to learn outside. It took him a number of years and back and forth between the U.S. and Pakistan to get that first school built. Once he got going, he wanted to help more and more girls and villages in Pakistan - to build more schools to educate the children. I wonder if I would have enjoyed the book more without the taint around it. Not knowing how much of the book was true was at the back of my mind the entire time I was reading. It was still a good book, but I do wonder if I would have enjoyed it more had I read it earlier on, before the question mark around the book appeared. I am planning to follow this up with Three Cups of Deceit, as well.
Date published: 2012-03-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hero's Dose This story is truly inspirational and makes the reader look inside themselves to understand what true conviction and dedication means to a cause. This story speaks to the heart's of those that want to help people around the world to share with developing nations the things we take for granted like water, shelter and most importantly education. It's a message about teaching and educating the masses to fight the development of wars through ignorance. A highly recommended read for those who are looking for ways to understand a bit more about global politics and a man's tremendous journey to work from a different angle to better the live's of all who come in contact with him.
Date published: 2011-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title is good but doesn't prepare you for the adventure inside. This book is broadening, uplifting, full of suspense, and anyone can become part of the action. It was recommended to me by a fundamentalist conservative. I'm not religious and a political progressive and I loved it, too. I have bought two additional copies for gifts and am sure I will buy a whole lot more, because it is a gift you can give to anyone.
Date published: 2011-04-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dissapointing I'm really disappointed in this book. It got so many great reviews, and the story is so amazing, but the writing was awful. I made it halfway through this book and haven’t touched it since, and I don’t think I will ever pick it back up.
Date published: 2011-03-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring! Fantastic book with a truly inspiring story. One mans drive and determination actually helps change the lives of thousands in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. His wife Tara shows exceptional strength as well. Couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2011-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Excellent and Inspiring Book This is an excellent story about dedication, commitment, and challenge in doing "what should be done" in parts of the world where doing anything can be as difficult and nearly impossible. Yet, where even the smallest achievement can produce generations of positive change for the better. Every member of any "first world" should read this book and take a page from what Greg Mortenson has done. An excellent read. I recommend it highly.
Date published: 2010-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 6 Stars out of 5 I can't say enough good things about this book. This is a book I think everyone should read. It really gives such an amazing and different perspective. I have recommended this book to everyone I know. The moment I finished it I immediately made 3 separate phone calls to friends and family insisting they read this book immediatly. You must read this book.
Date published: 2010-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring, beautiful and empowering! This book cannot be rated highly enough. Both for its content and its inspirational message. Every individual can make a difference in this world, all it takes is determination and dedication. This book was absolutely wonderful, it made me feel like making a difference is within my reach, like I could conquer any obstacle in my path to do so. Absolutely amazing. If we all did even 1/1000 of what Greg Mortensen did, humanity would really shine.
Date published: 2010-10-13
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A big disappointment Although the work is commendable, the writing is absolutely horrible!
Date published: 2010-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A wonderful true story of an American spreading goodwill in a hostile land Greg Mortenson is an amazing man and everyone should know his story. His accomplishments are inspiring and his attitude is a good example for the human race. This story takes us into the little known heights of northern Pakistan. Greg is on a mountain climbing expedition and gets lost. Near death, he is rescued and taken in by a local village. This experience is the beginning of a transformation that turns Greg from a thrill seeking climber to a world class humanitarian. It certainly wasn't an easy transformation as he had to overcome many challenges along the way from a lack of resources to religious opposition and violence. This is an amazing read but I only have one criticism about the book. As a casual/intermediate reader I found that the journalist who authored this book did not do a very good job writing it. He had too many run-on sentences which disrupted the flow of the book. Definitely recommended for everyone.
Date published: 2010-05-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from History Majors would love this book This book was so riddled with facts and dates that I almost felt as if I was yawning my way through history class. I heard so many great reviews about this book that I had to read it myself but was utterly disappointed when the book started to read like an encyclopedia; it is this that ruined the book for me.
Date published: 2010-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from STOP LIVING in your little corner of the World Things were going really badly in my life... teenager who had a major rebellion just as I started reading this. BUT, I just felt like... it made me think STILL how fortunate I am, how fortunate my 2 girls are. That my worse worry was 'Why my teen girl was acting like a hateful little pre-teen', and the worse worry of these mothers is "Will my daughter die young? Will she starve to death?" Or they can just pray she will marry someone who won't beat her or kill her. JUST an amazing insight into the 'bigger picture'. Humanity can be so often overlooked. It can be taken for granted. I also learned a TON about a world I am still quite ignorant about. It made me do some soul-searching, and it was uplifiting. A MUST-READ I think for adults and women (young and old) everywhere.
Date published: 2010-03-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring! I recently read this book for our book club meeting. Everyone (except for 1) really liked it. Certainly, it wasn't beautifully written, but the story of someone who endures all kinds of obstacles (that would normally stop a person dead in their tracks) to help a disadvantaged people halfway across the world is nothing short of remarkable. I am moved by the idea that one person took it upon himself to rally members of the Westernized world to help a poor nation to build schools and assist children who really want to learn. I was particularly touched by the moment that Greg describes where he sees the children gathered together, using their makeshift chalkboard in their "class". Greg Mortenson placed himself in situations that are not for the faint-at-heart. This story has inspired me to do more to help others, and to try to step out of those boundaries that might normally stop someone from helping others for fear of being used or taken advantage of.
Date published: 2010-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly a Hero The world needs more Greg Mortensons! I
Date published: 2010-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning The description of someone simply doing the right thing, despite kidnapping, an excruciatingly slow start, and corruption. There is now word to describe the deeds Mr. Mortensen in doing in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Men like Mortensen, and women like his wife Tara Bishop, should be celebrated and supported much more than our current idols. If we invested jus 1% of the annual NFL budget in these people, the world (and North America) would be a safer, more just, and more humane place. Hopefully someone can convince the powers that be that the CAI or Mr. Mortensen himself deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
Date published: 2010-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A little disturbing I greatly admire the dedication with which Mortensen pursued his cause. It gave me a glimpse into a world I know absolutely nothing about; a world I actually never cared to know anything about. I was left with a vaguely unsettled feeling though. These people whom Mortensen helped - who grew to love him - still referred to him as an 'infidel' because he is not muslim. It has given me alot to ponder.
Date published: 2010-02-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A big miss for us. Our book club recently read this book after hearing so many good things about it. Unfortunatley we were suprised by how much we didn't like it. 5/10 for the most of us (10 members) . While we love what he does for the children we had trouble getting past the terrible writting and Mortenson's need to continual credit (hopefully this is not true and is only the writting.) Couldn't recomend this.
Date published: 2010-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Phenomenal Read!!!! This book was absolutely amazing!! It was a phenomenal read! As a female who has always loved school, this book spoke to me on so many levels. I firmly believe education of girls is critical. I'd encourage you all to read Mortenson's first book, you won't be disappointed!
Date published: 2010-02-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The message is worth the read It's a wonderful story and his dedication is a lesson to us all. I would have liked though to have less about the materials/geography and more about the effect it had personally on the people. Less about how to build a school and more about the girls who attended.
Date published: 2010-01-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Inspiring His dedication was just overwhelming, can't wait for his next book.
Date published: 2010-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not crazy about the style of writing I didn't like the narrator's style and how he spoke in his voice as well as how how he Morenson's views blended together without a clear distinction.
Date published: 2009-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book of hope This book shows how one man with an incredible amount of determination can make a difference in the world. In the first few pages, I felt the author had a case of hero worship for Mortenson, but by the time I finished the book, I shared the sentiment. Everyone should read this book!
Date published: 2009-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspirational! This book should be mandatory reading for everyone in North America! With its vivid descriptions of a region few Westerners (except mountain climbers) will ever experience, it teaches us about the importance of education. Mortenson proves that the surest way to make us safer in the West is to aid the poor of the world through respectful, cooperative, peaceful initiatives.
Date published: 2009-12-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Inspirational I loved what Greg Mortenson was able to do for the village of Korphe in Pakistan. I think it takes a special kind of person to see these types of projects through. The book itself, was dry at times and I often put it down and read other books between chapters, but I came back each time to read some more about his journey. I believe it could have been written better, if less detail was written about his normal everyday chores. I also didn't like when he spoke about his failed relationship with his old girlfriend, I didn't think it was relivant to the book or his journey. I did enjoy reading about the culture and customs and general ways things are handled in this part of Pakistan. It was interesting to read how he handled the barriers that were there so that he could complete his project. I enjoyed reading about the friendships that he made with some of the people who helped him build his school for the children of Korphe. I look forward to reading his second book Stones to Schools.
Date published: 2009-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring This book was very well written and definitely inspiring. It is refreshing to read about an American who is doing the right thing by supplying education to the poorest of the poor in a very difficult environment. We need more people like Dr. Greg to make this world a better place for all.
Date published: 2009-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read this book! How many books inspire, entertain, and also educate you? This book was a joy to read. The many details about the area are instructive - I realized that I knew nothing at all about that part of the world as I followed Greg's experiences. At the same time, I reflected on how small the world really is - the international school which his mother started in Moshi has a campus in Arusha, Tanzania, and I had the good fortune to visit it myself, a couple of years before reading this book. Greg makes it clear in his book that he is an ordinary guy who decided to do something truly extraordinary, and this decision changed his whole life. (Of course he is an ordinary guy with a very big heart, and the courage to follow through on his promises... in which he is not ordinary at all.) He also shows us how easy it is to think we know how to help people, and yet completely miss the boat - as when he buys the supplies for a school, only to find that there is no way of getting them to the village. The wonderful thing is that he succeeds in the end, and goes on to build many more schools. I look forward to reading Three Cups of Tea again, and wish Greg every success in his endeavors!
Date published: 2009-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beacon of Light I would recommend this to anyone who feels the despair of not being able to help the oppressed, namely women and children. Every person can enact change, no matter how small. I only hope to aspire to move the mountains that Greg has, but I can't wait to bring the young adult version into my ESL class, and I eagerly anticipate the continuing story, "Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan"! One can never do enough, but each heart moved is a victory won!
Date published: 2009-10-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A hesitant recommendation Greg Mortenson apparently hired a writer to bring his story to the world. Not sure that he got his money's worth. Still, the story and the gesture behind Mortenson and his quest to build schools is inspirational. I really liked the meaning behind "Three Cups of Tea": the first cup taken is as a stranger, the second as an honoured guest and the third as family member. Beautiful. Unfortunately the story was told in a way that made it difficult to get through at times, and was bogged down with too much geography which made it difficult to follow. Ultimately, the man is an inspiration and the story doesn't do him nearly enough justice. A hesitant recommendation.
Date published: 2009-09-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Extremely thought-provoking I found the first couple of chapters quite inspiring. Descriptions of the mountains and the way of life of the villagers made a big impression; I now view news reports from Afghanistan with more immediate interest. However, I feel that the book was poorly edited, with too many daily specifics. I also didn't think it was necessary to be as detailed, and judgemental, about Greg's earlier partner. It's been well established how hard such a relationship can be!
Date published: 2009-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great title. I am only 1/2 way through this fantastic book. It is a page turner while at the same time is a wonderful book for self reflection on how we work with others from a different culture. I can hardly wait until I have read it all and will certainly update my review. Thank You Greg Mortenson for the work that you have done and continue to do to help bring PEACE to another part of the world. Our country leaders would do well to read this book and incorporate it's positive principles in their work with other countries. Rosemary Merkley
Date published: 2009-08-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from An incredible story, but difficult to enjoy I really wanted to love this story. After reading the first few pages a year ago, I put it down and didn’t pick it back up until this summer – but this time I decided to persevere until the end. Greg Mortenson is an amazing man, doing so much for the greater good of the world. He is selfless, brave, and determined, and his story is an amazing one. Unfortunately though, the writer of his story gets so bogged down in wordiness that it renders it hard to follow. While I welcomed the opportunity to learn about an area I currently don’t know enough about, I found myself straining to understand everything, and losing out on the pleasure of the story. For those more familiar with the geography and politics of the area, it may be a more enjoyable read. Nonetheless, the Central Asia Institute is an organization that deserves the attention and I would encourage others to read this story if for no other reason than to understand their innovative strategy for creating peace, and bringing education to all.
Date published: 2009-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read!! I read this book months ago when it first came and I absoulutely loved it. Mortenson is a wonderful example of how one person can really help change the world with some strong determination and a little luck. If only more of us would do the same we could make the world a better place. Truly inspriational.
Date published: 2009-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Everyone should read this book. Shows how one person can make a difference and change the world. Greg Mortenson should receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Date published: 2009-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring! A great read that demonstrated the power of determination and spirit - it's great to read a book about the good people in the world and the difference they are trying to make one simple, humble step at a time.
Date published: 2009-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring the right action Mortenson and his work are fascinating, and a prime example of what the world should be doing to help the underprivileged, not only because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes the world a safer place. It's encouraging to know that there are people like Greg Mortenson and his team who are committed to noble actions, and they remind us that we can all get involved. My only complaint might be that the style is a little overly dramatic, which I didn't think was necessary as the plain facts are so fabulous. However, the writer goes out of his way to provide background information, which is essential to the North American reader who isn't familiar with that area of the world, nor the culture and customs. Overall, it was easy to read and hard to put down.
Date published: 2009-06-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Story, OK Book Obviously, the life Greg Mortenson has lead is extremely commendable. He has worked from the idea that many anthropology students have been taught for so many years - that by giving women more power, society is enhanced. His story and vision are fantastic and deserve to be told to readers all over the world. I found this book however to be bogged down by many minute details, and mentions of so many cities, religions, names, etc., that the book lacked any real flow and was really hard to get into. It is worth the read none-the-less as the story really is awe-inspiring.
Date published: 2009-06-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from 3 Cups of Tea This book was very inspirational. Greg Mortenson's career in Pakistan is something to look at with awe and admiration. He was able to take a small dream and turn it into something huge and life transforming for so many Pakistani's in a time where their country was in crisis. While I really enjoyed the book, I felt that some parts were a bit too technical and took away from the story. Regardless of those few chapters, it was a really great book and I would recommend it to all - especially those interested in foreign aid work.
Date published: 2009-05-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good story, great man! This book is all about giving but also all about turning your life around because something has really touched you and you are willing to do anything to accomplish something for others. While definitely a book about surpassing yourself, it does not feel like a sermon and Greg Morteenson is not perfect. A man with a dream but more so, a man who managed to make that dream a reality. Also very interesting to learn more about Pakistan, the tribes, the religion and the way of life in those isolated villages we never hear about.
Date published: 2009-03-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Message lost in the writing. I know that I am in the minority but I didn't love this book. I felt that essence of the book was marred by over-written sentences and minutia about the day to day tasks of Greg. There is no argument from me that Greg has done some amazing work in Pakistan that has altered the lives of thousands of people (and generations to come). His message: educating women changes the trajectory of a village, couldn't be more true (in my opinion). I would have liked to see the book edited to be more concise. I doing so, I think that the story would reach far more people. Also, as an aside, I was interested in what the founding members of the CAI and Tara Bishop thought of Greg's travels and commitment to the cause. Yes, it was said that they were supportive of him and praised his courage, dedication, etc. but I do find it hard to believe that a wife and mother of 2 young children would be absolutely, 100% ok with her husband remaining in such a dangerous section of the world during the months following 9/11 (shortly following the kidnapping and beheading of American journalist, Daniel Perl). I would have liked to read about the sacrifices that Greg's family made to help the children of Pakistan. In addition, it was mentioned in one line that the widow of the "money behind CAI" resigned from the board after frustrations mounted over Greg's inability to delegate more of the tasks. As someone who has worked extensively with and for charities, I am curious to know more about the structure of the charity and why certain board members were unhappy with the course of the CAI. Please don't misread the "review". I do think that what Greg is doing is very commendable and inspirational. His willingness to roll up his sleeves and be a catalyst for change is remarkable - something I wish more people would do. His initiative Pennies for Peace is a fabulous tool for introducing young children to the idea of philanthropy and poverty being a global responsibility.
Date published: 2009-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved the Book A riveting story that was impossible to put down.
Date published: 2009-03-14
Rated 1 out of 5 by from big dissapointment I was very excited to read this book because i read a bunch of great reviews.. i am sure the actual story is very heartwarming and inspiring, but i just couldn't get into it. the first few pages were like pulling teeth- the writing is advanced. I gave up.
Date published: 2009-03-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Have yourself three cups of tea Criticizing the book's misgivings is hard since the man's deeds outweigh them. It reads too much like a fiction novel, almost taking away some credibility to it. But whatever keeps the interest of a reader to the greater message of the book. The first couple of chapters were hard to get past with the mountaineering details, but then you get to see the transformation of a man with almost nothing to his name to someone who kept true to himself, who committed incredibly to his word, and who is making an everlasting impact in promoting peace through books not bombs. It is amazing to read about what one person's action could translate to - generations of educated young in Pakistan and Afghanistan with a neutral understanding of right and wrong. You read about the locals - their strength and courage in contributing to the pursuit of equal knowledge for all, their culture and their livelihoods, and the demystification of a religion marred by radicals. Truly inspirational. Buy the book and spread the message.
Date published: 2009-03-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from One-time read I suppose you could say a lot of good about this book...its a brave story, strong characters and invigorating...but I couldn't quite get over the "all hail Gregg M," idea found throughout the entire book. From the beginning to the end, I felt like it was a sales pitch...
Date published: 2009-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from read it! A failed climber turned humanitarian, this book is about failure, success and above it all, a truly inspiring story about how the perseverance of one person can make a big difference in the world. Greg Mortenson is nominated for the Noble Peace award this year because of this true story. If your a climber, or outdoor enthusiast his story makes you think twice about what it really means to conquer new challenges. This guy doesn't get enough credit for what he has done so give it a shot, and pass it on!
Date published: 2009-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Give a copy to friends and family If there is one book you need to read, this is it. It gives hope that all is not lost and we can still save a nation that is raped by war. A reminder that we cannot win a war by airstrikes, and tanks. We have to educate the young and by doing so provide them with the ammunition to think and not succumbed to the whims of those who would use them as sacrificial lambs. I advice readers to look beyond the book's poor editing (punctuation errors).
Date published: 2009-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One in a million As unbelievable a story as you can find. To date it's my favourite book and I don't know if that can ever change. If I had the resources, I'd pull an Oprah and buy a thousand copies to give to everyone I know.
Date published: 2009-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One Person can Really Change the World I guess the saying "one person can really make a difference" holds true for Greg Mortenson. His story is uplifting and inspiring. He has made a huge difference to hundreds of people around the globe! This is a great story!!!
Date published: 2009-01-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great lessons to be learned from this book! I think we need more people like Greg Mortenson in this world. This book is about all the struggles he had to endure to make schools all over Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is also a lot of things everyone can learn from this book.
Date published: 2009-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My best read of the year - you must read this!! Greg Mortenson was a mountaineer and set out to climb K2, the world's second highest peak. He didn't quite reach the top before he had to turn around due to bad weather and trek back down the mountain. At some point, he was separated from his team and his guide and wandered aimlessly through Pakistan, trying to find a village or someone that could help him. When Mortenson finally does come across a village, he learns a bit about their culture and sees that the children of the village have to learn outside, and only when it's not winter because it would be too cold. Mortenson vows to return to the village and build a school for them. Once home, Mortenson writes hundreds of letters to try and get the money to make good on his word. He eventually flies back to Pakistan with just enough money to build a school. The rest of the book shows his trials and tribulations with funding, building, culture, connections, ignorance, and terrorism. Mortenson's story is amazing. Talk about a mission in life! Mortenson gives a strong message of promoting peace through education, particularly of females. As one of his friends from Pakistan says: "the enemy is ignorance". The argument is presented that if we were to educate rather than drop bombs, we'd likely be much more successful at preventing terrorism. Mortenson's wife should also be commended for putting up with his continuous absences so that he can help make the world a better place. This is the best kind of advertisement that Mortenson could ever hope for his organization. Mortenson is an inspiration and it's great to know that people are out there doing things like this for the world.
Date published: 2009-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stayed with me I finished reading this book months ago and it has definately stayed with me. Greg's work in Pakistan/Afganistan is humbling. This is one of the best books I have read this year. Can't wait to read it again. Not only was it a great story, I learned about the plight of the Pakistani/Afghanistani people. A must read!
Date published: 2008-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read Just finished this book. It is a must read for every North American. Canada and the US must be part of the solution to terrorism and Greg Mortenson's method is far superior to the militaristic approach.
Date published: 2008-12-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Compelling Novel of Care, Courage, & Compassion I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Greg captures his experiences in Pakistan/Afghanistan as he engages in community development work, collaborating with communities and helping to build schools. The book is written from a third person perspective by journalist, David Relin, and oftentimes the book reads like a newspaper story. As a result, this adds distance between the reader and the hero of the story. However, there are compelling parts of the story such as Greg's kidnapping in Waziristan, having two fatwas declared on him, and being caught in the middle of crossfire by opium traffickers in remote Afganistan. Greg is driven to achieve his goals, and he works tirelessly, spending many months away from his family to be an agent of change in the Middle East, bringing education to rural and remote communities of Pakistan/Afganistan. In this adventure, Greg finds an even higher summit to climb than K2, the summit within himself to be the change he wishes to see. This is truly a remarkable story of a humble man with a humanitarian purpose.
Date published: 2008-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Humbling Bought the book to give to my daugher who is taking Psychology, but of course opened the first page and kept reading. I was so glad that I did. Thanks to Greg for showing us a deeper more human side of Pakistan and Afganistan. Shame on the media for not wanting to looking any deeper than what is presented politically, even when invited to! What is particularly inspiring is how human Greg Mortenson is, full of all sorts of great flaws and fears just like the rest of us, yet he was not ashamed to add this in the book. Nor did he let them stop his pursuit to achieve his goal. This should be mandatory reading in all schools. Peace will only come from education and understanding each other. I have recommended this book to everyone I sent a Christmas card to this year as well as contacting our highschool librarians to encourage them to get it for their libraries.
Date published: 2008-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring and important read! This is more than just a book - this story provides a profound perspective about how to bring terrorism to an end...not by violence, but through education, peace and understanding.
Date published: 2008-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A true American Hero Regardless of the writing style of this book or your thoughts about layout this man is truly an American Hero. I loved reading this story and realized I will never do anything nearly as important compared to the accomplishments of Greg Mortenson. Although I have been active reducing violence against women and have even saved a life it pales compared to the work he has done educating the less fortunate children of the world. He has demonstrated education is the key to peace and should be available to boys and girls regardless of religion, culture or geography. This should be a must read for every man in the world, throughly enjoyed it and wish him and his foundation every success.
Date published: 2008-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from THE GREATEST This is probably the best book I've ever read. Truly inspiring. I found absolutely nothing wrong in this book, and kept reading it non-stop. Dr. Greg is a very inspirational man, and I now look up to him. This book has opened my eyes, and I recommend this book to EVERYONE!
Date published: 2008-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from getting lost with the author I bought this book blindfolded. I was browsing online and somehow this book kept showing up on the screen. Happy thing I did because I managed to travel and get emotionaly involved with Mr. Mortenson's cause. Little did I know that this book would be a page turner. This book transpires goodness and inspires the reader to get lost to find his own way to becoming a better person.
Date published: 2008-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must read This is a must read book. I passed it up several times looking for new things to read but found good reviews on Facebook Virtual Bookshelf and decided to give it a try. I have now passed it to my 16 year old son to read and recommended it to my entire friends list on Facebook. Anyone wondering if one person really can make a difference will find the answer reading this book. The best thing I read all year.
Date published: 2008-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read This was a book I passed up several times when I was out shopping for reading material. Not knowing anything about the book I felt, it didn't suit my current mood. I needed something light and bright, my preference being a comedic novel or mystery. Well, 2 months later, 3 Cups of Tea finally ended up in my home, to be pushed to the bottom of my book pile. After another month I picked the book up and started reading. What an honour to read Dr. Greg's acheivements. Reading the book you are immersed into lives that are very different to our own and yet not that different. It is people wanting an education for their children, wanting a better life for their families. Which is the same thing we want the world over. I fell in love with the people and the area. Let's hope Dr. Greg's methods are learned the world over. 3 Cups of Tea was a fantastic read.
Date published: 2008-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a book to make you stop and think I just finished reading Three Cups of Tea, it is a book I feel every person who is worried about ,and is questioning where we are going, should read. The book will make you understand where our governments are going wrong in this " War on Terrorism" and the many other conflicts going on at this time. It is very hard to take advantage of a people if they are educated and are able to help their families and communities . I think this book should be read by the youth and teachers of today. It shows that "our way" of doing things is not the only way. Mortenson shows us that riding in on our white horses is not the only way to help. He has stopped to listen to the people he has helped. He has also kept his word when he has promised to help. He has also shown why some of the help needed will not show results overnight,but will be an ongoing process needed to better not only those needing the help but their opinions of the outside world. People can use their name and fame to help further this mans career. Please read this book and then pass it on to a friend . I think it should be passed on to a few politicians also.
Date published: 2008-10-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring Purposeful Life I"m still reading this. This book offers perspective on a different objective for your life - so far its given my value system a shake up. If you are looking for a book to inspire you to finally throw in the towel on your office cubicle and do something good for a change then this might be the book for you. Greg Mortenson is the posterchild for singleminded pursuit of an altrustic goal ... but not entirely altruistic as he got so much in return. That's the lesson.
Date published: 2008-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommended "Three Cups of Tea" has a lot to offer. It's a true story, for starters, and it's beautifully written. The story is engaging, uplifting and emotional. You'll find out about geography, world politics and the strength of the human spirit by reading this book. There are humorous parts, yet it can also bring tears to the eyes. It is the best book I've read recently, and I don't hesitate to recommend it for almost any age, any religious belief, a book club, a women's group; just about everyone.
Date published: 2008-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best I've read!! Just finished "Three Cups of Tea". I don't usually read the same book twice but this is one that I will be reading again!! I believe everybody should own a copy of this book. Very inspirational and wonderful.
Date published: 2008-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A real "tear jerker" I've never reviewed a book before, and I just wanted to say this is a really worthwhile read. I probably cried at least 7 times throughout, at the beauty of the Pakistani people, and the love and care shared between them and Mortenson. Couldn't put the book down.
Date published: 2008-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you read one book this year, this is the one to choose I have just finished possibly the best book I have ever read. The story is so engaging and the writing so well done, you cannot possibly put it down and not want to act immediately to help Greg Mortensen and CAI achieve success. From the moment you read the first line, it is guaranteed you will be moved, educated, and inspired! That one person can have this affect on so many children while risking his life and sacrificing time with his own family, is all the motivation you will need to overcome any challenge you may have. I believe after reading this book you will feel energized not only to help Mortensen's cause, but to tackle your own challenges. This book truly demonstrates that extraordinary things happen to extraordinary people.
Date published: 2008-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring Life of Purpose I have never written a review for a book on-line before, but this book is unlike any other book I have read before. The story of Greg Mortenson is beyond inspiring. If you are looking for a book that is positive and hopeful and a good news story, in this day and age of doom and gloom, this is the book for you. It can leave you with a sense of not having done much with your life, but it also shows you that one person can make all the difference in the world. It demonstrates that small courageous steps can eventually form a staircase of success. I hope this review has done this great book justice. Now I have to make sure that my public library, and all those in my province, carry this book on their shelves for everyone to enjoy.
Date published: 2008-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring A truly inspiring story concerning one man's plight to rid the world of illiteracy, sexism and terrorism with a determination that no government agency could ever achieve. Greg Mortenson should be held as an example to all those that live in luxury and a hero to all those that live in poverty.
Date published: 2008-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! This was a refreshing read. Both eye-opening and exciting. A truly inspiring story and great adventure.
Date published: 2008-06-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! This is a MUST READ for everyone especially with what's going on in the world today. Great writing.
Date published: 2008-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very inspiring How do I begin with this one? Today I just finished reading Three cups of tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin and it was the most inspiring REAL story I have ever read about a man educating the girls and boys of Pakistan and Afghanistan one village at a time. Greg Mortenson dreamt of climbing Pakistan’s K2, the second highest peak in the world. He faild his mission but while he was recuperating from his failure in a small village called Khorphe, he saw a number of boys and girls sitting by themselves in a field studying, with no teacher, no classroom , no books. Just holding sticks and using them to write on the dusty ground. He was amazed how hungry they were to learn and how they had the energy and will to do it by themselves. After seeing that he vowed to Khorphe’s wise leader Haji Ali that he is going to come back and build them a school no matter what it took. This school was the first of over two hundred schools to come. Other than building schools his organization also is teaching refugees in camps, sponsoring and expanding already crumbling existing public schools and building women centers all over Pakistan and Afghanistan when the whole world turned their back on those poor people. A man who fights the Taliban, poverty, ignorance , extremism and seeks peace through books not bombs. This man deserves a Nobel Prize. He has so much drive! And to see an American Christian care for the poor Muslim boys and especially girls of Afghanistan and Pakistan more than any other person or organization EVER did wins him the utmost respect from me and all the people who have worked with him or have spoken to him. A very inspiring book. A MUST MUST MUST read.
Date published: 2008-06-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Three Cups of Tea When I first started reading about Greg Mortenson and his experience in Pakistan my first thought was why is he dedicating his life to this country across the world rather then his own? The more I read the book the more I came to realize that when he was helping educate girls in Pakistan he actually was helping his own country in more ways then can possibly be studied. I have always believed that literacy and education can change the world for the better if done in a manner to benefit the people. On the other hand education done for the entrapment of the people like the Wahhabi madrassas are instituting can severely harm the people. The power of books and education is too strong to ignore and "Three Cups of Tea" is a perfect example of this fact. “Three Cups of Tea” also brings to light the importance of understanding the countries culture. The traditions of these ancient cultures need to be understood and respected to be able to educate the people. We are truly blind if we think the world wants to be educated in an American way that ignores the peoples’ traditions.
Date published: 2008-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting One of those books that you find you must share with everyone you know. I loan it out with a packet of tissues. This one will touch your soul. Somehow I felt I was meeting these people living half a world a way and sharing in the triumphs and struggles.
Date published: 2008-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring Reading this book makes one want to pack your bags and catch the next plane out. Well, it makes me want to do that, others want to donate what they can, money, time, or hope. Pass it on, tell your friends in the off chance that people who read it will help out and make a difference. It is wonderfully written, a story of a man who triumphs over every obstacle to help children in Pakistan get an education. Greg Mortenson is one man who is fighting against terrorism, not by blowing people up and shooting innocents but by educating them to a new way of life. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day but teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. The same thing can be said for education of the people in Pakistan. We all need to work together for peace, and this book is a step in the right direction.
Date published: 2008-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Three Cups of Tea - how terriorism is being fought by one American and its working! I have never read a book that has affected so much as Three Cups of Tea. You never think that one person can have such an impact on the world but one man has managed to do that. I think this book should be made manditory reading for everyone in the western world who are frightened with the thoughts of terrorism. Education of children is the answer. The sacrifice that Greg Mortenson has done for children in Pakistan and Affganistan though out the war in that area of the world is unbelievable. This is a true story that is happening now. A must read.
Date published: 2008-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved It! While I was reading I had a difficult time putting the book down. It was an extremely compelling story of one man's passion and promises. What was amazing was how a whole community formed to help him keep his promises.
Date published: 2008-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Experience This is perhaps one of the best books I have read lately. The story of Greg Mortenson is inspiring and exhilarating. To see what Greg has done with his life it leaves me feeling like I should be doing more (and this is not a bad feeling when you read his story). He will win the Nobel Peace Prize, and if he doesn't, I know don't why. The most spectacular part of this story is hearing a first hand account of life in Pakistan, before and since 9/11. There is no political agenda, and not media propaganda, it is a simple and true story that will open your eyes to what is really is like for the people living in this harsh area of the world. A truly wonderful story, and one I wish did not end. I hope he finds the time to continue his story for the world to read. It is a true must read!
Date published: 2008-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Inspiring Inaction does not seem an option when reading this book.
Date published: 2008-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspirational story I really enjoyed this story. It's amazing what one person can accomplish. Greg Mortenson is an everyday hero. Read this book and I promise you will want to make our world a better place.
Date published: 2008-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mind Opening. “Three Cups of Tea”, by Greg Mortenson, is a personal account of his time in Pakistan which reminded me of how lucky I am to have a school to go to and more importantly how lucky I am to be able to read. Schools are wonderful gifts. Sadly, they are taken for granted by most people, but have the power to broaden the horizons of the children who are able to attend. The journey of author boggles the mind, the distances he traveled and the people whom he met, in his mission not only to build, but also to sustain schools for thousands of children. "Three Cups of Tea" is a truly powerful and beautiful story.
Date published: 2008-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An absolute must read (or so I think) Based on Mortenson's real-life adventures trying to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this biography really opens your eyes to the troubles that children, especially girls, have in the region at attaining an education. The book is really well written, and is an easy read; it reads as fiction although it is all truth. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially those interested in learning how one person really can make a difference.
Date published: 2008-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enlightening & Wonderful This book has opened my eyes to many things. The turmoil and daily struggles of the small villages that go on seemingly unnoticed in these war ravaged countries is terrible. This book proves that one person CAN make a difference and that education is everything.
Date published: 2008-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is what making peace in the world is really about! Greg Mortensen is amazing. He has singlehandedly discovered the way to making world peace happen, by providing education to the poor and marginalized peoples of Central Asia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Through no small risk to himself, Mortensen is giving the tribal peoples of that region a balanced, free education which is an alternative to the system of extremist madrassas which pour thousands of indoctrinated young men into terrorist armies each year. Why, oh why, can't a few of the billions spent on the military might of the USA and their allies be diverted to education? This is really a terrific book - I could not put it down - and it should be required reading for everyone - especially those engaged in the activities of war. Greg Mortenson deserves to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Date published: 2008-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful This is one of the best books I have read to date. I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to have a deeper knowledge of the Muslim nation as a whole and the effects one person can have in turning the tide on extremism in radical Islam.
Date published: 2007-04-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It Takes Courage A story like Three Cups of Tea shows just how easy it is for one person to make a difference in the world. With lots of passion but no real money to speak of, Greg Mortenson goes to a part of the world we fear, Pakistan, and makes changes that will impact our future.
Date published: 2006-07-01

Extra Content

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTIONThree Cups of Tea is the true story of one of the most extraordinary humanitarian missions of our time. In 1993, a young American mountain climber named Greg Mortenson stumbles into a tiny village high in Pakistan’s beautiful and desperately poor Karakoram Himalaya region. Sick, exhausted, and depressed after a failing to scale the summit of K2, Mortenson regains his strength and his will to live thanks to the generosity of the people of the village of Korphe. Before he leaves, Mortenson makes a vow that will profoundly change both the villagers’ lives and his own—he will return and build them a school.The book traces how Mortenson kept this promise (and many more) in the high country of Pakistan and Afghanistan, despite considerable odds. The region is remote and dangerous, a notorious breeding ground for Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. In the course of his work, Mortenson was kidnapped and threatened with death. He endured local rivalries, deep misunderstandings, jealousy, and corruption, not to mention treacherous roads and epic weather. But he believed passionately that balanced, non-extremist education, for boys and girls alike, is the most effective way to combat the violent intolerance that breeds terrorism. To date, Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute has constructed fifty-five schools, and his work continues.Mortenson initially approached Karakoram as a climber and he never lost the mountaineer’s appreciation for the region’s austere beauty and incredible physical challenges. His coauthor David Oliver Relin deftly evokes high-altitude landscapes haunted by glaciers, snow leopards, and the deaths of scores of climbers. As Mortenson transformed himself from down-and-out climbing bum to the director of a humanitarian enterprise, he came to appreciate more and more deeply the struggles that people of the region endure every day—struggles that have intensified with the recent explosion of war and sectarian violence.In the course of this narrative, readers come to know Mortenson as a friend, a husband and father, a traveling companion, a son and brother, and also as a flawed human being. Mortenson made enemies along the way and frustrated his friends and family. Relin does not shy away from depicting the man’s exasperating qualities—his restlessness, disorganization, sleeplessness, and utter disregard for punctuality. But Mortenson never asks others to make sacrifices that he has not already made himself time and time again.The war-torn mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan appear in the news as the breeding grounds of terrorist training camps, Al Qaeda hide-outs, and fierce religious extremism. In Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson and Relin take readers behind the headlines to reveal the true heart and soul of this explosive region and to show how one man’s promise might be enough to change the world. ABOUT GREG MORTENSONGreg Mortenson is the director of the Central Asia Institute. A resident of Montana, he spends several months of the year in Pakistan and Afghanistan.David Oliver Relin is a contributing editor for Parade magazine and Skiing magazine. He has won more than forty national awards for his work as a writer and editor. DISCUSSION QUESTIONSThere is a telling passage about Mortenson’s change of direction at the start of the book: “One evening, he went to bed by a yak dung fire a mountaineer who’d lost his way, and one morning, by the time he’d shared a pot of butter tea with his hosts and laced up his boots, he’d become a humanitarian who’d found a meaningful path to follow for the rest of his life.” What made Mortenson particularly ripe for such a transformation? Has anything similar happened in your own life?Relin gives a “warts and all” portrait of Mortenson, showing him as a hero but also as a flawed human being with some exasperating traits. Talk about how Relin chose to write about Mortenson’s character—his choice of details, his perspective, the way he constructs scenes. Is Mortenson someone you’d like to get to know, work with, or have as a neighbor or friend?At the heart of the book is a powerful but simple political message: we each as individuals have the power to change the world, one cup of tea at a time. Yet the book powerfully dramatizes the obstacles in the way of this philosophy: bloody wars waged by huge armies, prejudice, religious extremism, cultural barriers. What do you think of the “one cup of tea at a time” philosophy? Do you think Mortenson’s vision can work for lasting and meaningful change?Have you ever known anyone like Mortenson? Have you ever had the experience of making a difference yourself through acts of generosity, aid, or leadership?The Balti people are fierce yet extremely hospitable, kind yet rigid, determined to better themselves yet stuck in the past. Discuss your reactions to them and the other groups that Mortenson tries to help.After Haji Ali’s family saves Greg’s life, he reflects that he could never “imagine discharging the debt he felt to his hosts in Korphe.” Discuss this sense of indebtedness as key to Mortenson’s character. Why was Mortenson compelled to return to the region again and again? In your opinion, does he repay his debt by the end of the book?References to paradise run throughout the book—Mortenson’s childhood home in Tanzania, the mountain scenery, even Berkeley, California, are all referred to as “paradise.” Discuss the concept of paradise, lost and regained, and how it influences Mortenson’s mission.Mortenson’s transition from climbing bum to humanitarian hero seems very abrupt. However, looking back, it’s clear that his sense of mission is rooted in his childhood, the values of his parents, and his relationship with his sister Christa. Discuss the various facets of Mortenson’s character—the freewheeling mountain climber, the ER nurse, the devoted son and brother, and the leader of a humanitarian cause. Do you view him as continuing the work his father began?“I expected something like this from an ignorant village mullah, but to get those kinds of letters from my fellow Americans made me wonder whether I should just give up,” Mortenson remarked after he started getting hate mail in the wake of September 11. What was your reaction to the letters Mortenson received?Mortenson hits many bumps in the road—he’s broke, his girlfriend dumps him, he is forced to build a bridge before he can build the school, his health suffers, and he drives his family crazy. Discuss his repeated brushes with failure and how they influenced your opinion of Mortenson and his efforts.The authors write that “the Balti held the key to a kind of uncomplicated happiness that was disappearing in the developing world.” This peaceful simplicity of life seems to be part of what attracts Mortenson to the villagers. Discuss the pros and cons of bringing “civilization” to the mountain community.Much of the book is a meditation on what it means to be a foreigner assimilating with another culture. Discuss your own experiences with foreign cultures—things that you have learned, mistakes you have made, misunderstandings you have endured.Did the book change your views toward Islam or Muslims? Consider the cleric Syed Abbas, and also the cleric who called a fatwa on Mortenson. Syed Abbas implores Americans to “look into our hearts and see that the great majority of us are not terrorists, but good and simple people.” Discuss this statement. Has the book inspired you to learn more about the region?

Editorial Reviews

"Greg Mortenson’s dangerous and difficult quest . . . is not only a thrilling read, it’s proof that one ordinary person, with the right combination of character and determination, really can change the world."-Tom Brokaw"An inspiring chronicle . . . this is one protagonist who clearly deserves to be called a hero."-People"Mortenson’s mission is admirable, his conviction unassailable, his territory exotic."-The Washington Post