Book Review: Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

It took me almost a year to finish the book.

I bought it to accompany me through the 3 weeks Peru journey but I had to stop every few pages. Partly due to the nature of traveling, partly due to the many thoughts and ponderings that the book asked me to do. Often times I’d find myself withholding this ping pong sized ball in my throat. You know, that feeling when you’re about to burst and be an uncontrollable bawling baby? Yes. Often times I had to go behind its back and read another lighter book just to get rid of that sinking feeling that you just haven’t done enough for humanity in the face of what’s going on with the world.

This book documents all the good that is done in the world to get rid of the bad that is going on. Most done by empowering women, who hold up half the sky. That’s putting it mildly in two sentences. And how truly awful the state of the world is.

Both the authors traveled around the globe talking to victims, volunteers, leaders and agents of change alike with highly commended journalism in that they dish out the good with the bad.

There are a number of key take away from this well written book but the greatest outcome of the book is that it changed my perception of the whole realm of do-goody organizations.

My hesitancy in fully contributing to organizations had for the longest time been fixated upon the ration of the money donated used for admin against the cause itself. I could never understand why one would donate a dollar to only see half of it make it to the real cause. Until this chapter close to the end where they shone a light on this specific organization that had $50,000 donated toward the cause and an extra $100,000 spent on administrations to keep the project going yearly. The explanation changed my perception completely. The $50,000 comes solely from teenagers who went around raising money from friends and events and the general fundraising things that teenagers tend to do. The $100,000 comes from the adults.

The $100,000 that seemed like a lot of money spent on administering had enabled the girls to stay personally in touch with their donor recipient and kept the projects going. The discussion whether that hundred thousand is squeezed as efficient as it could be would definitely be a question. However, a program that would instill this spirit of giving to teenagers who will experience, perhaps to most, the firsts of many philanthropy activities that goes down to the bottom level would create greater impact in the long run.

This impact factor is not usually measured or even measurable.

Who knows what they would do in ten years’ time? Who knows the extent of this organization have in shaping up the character of these teenagers?

Apart from that, there are other tales that almost got me packing my little rucksack and searching for the next flight out to Myanmar or Africa. But those stories would need to come later.

This book will be worth your while. The blabbering that I just did above would barely scratch the surface of this book. So get your version here and read up.

Just try not to spend a year on it like I did.





About inifeli

Sketch a lot, write a lot, read a lot. Live a lot.

Well, I'd say....

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