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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 19 Mar 2014
By 
Charles - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This book is written by Adam Braun. It follows his creation of the charity Pencils of Promise, which builds schools and increases access to education for children in the developing world.

His inspiration came from a child that when asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, "A pencil.". This inspired Adam to give up his job and start the charity with only $25. The book follows his trails and tribulations, successes and mistakes as Pencils of Promise growths to building over 200 schools.

The book is 30 chapters long, each chapter is quite short and is focused on one idea.

Some of my favorite parts would be:

Giving a speech but only one person turned up! But that person joined Pencils of Promise and played a very important part.

Getting out of your comfort zone.

Know that you have a purpose.

Importance of listening to other peoples' opinions.
"If an idea grows, it expands far beyond the confines of any one person's control. By limiting it to a single story told by a single voice, we strip it of its true potential. The role of the founder should eventually be to listen to the echoes of his or her initial words, and then encourage and amplify the most genuine among those you hear. The more I embraced this as my true role, the more I became inspired by the journeys of the individuals, families, and companies in our PoP community."

The importance of body language and speech

The greatest happiness comes from making other people happy.

Tips on speaking to large crowds.
"Weak speakers look down at the floor, good speakers look up but scan the room, great speakers make eye contact selectively , and exceptional speakers deliver every complete thought directly to one person in the audience, making that person feel like the center of the room-- and then they move on and do it again. We've all been in that position when a speaker looks right at you, and for a few fleeting moments your heart starts to race. You are locked in."

The importance of switching off email/phone etc sometimes so you can reconnect with people.

Adam giving a import speech not knowing his flies were open!

Importance of admitting mistakes.

Importance of how you deal with mistakes.
"I personally learned that failure is a necessary step toward achievement. In fact, it often accelerates it. The British Airways contest gave me confidence that we were on the right track, yet it took an international stumble to demonstrate that the biggest opportunities for growth are not found in the midst of success, but in the methods through which we address failure."

Nice quote from the end.
"A new chapter will begin in my life in the years ahead , one that includes building not just schools, but a family too. I'll be sure to teach my children the value of my mother's favorite word, integrity, the essence of Dad's Rules, and each of the mantras that title the chapters of this book. I'll tell them that the most direct route to happiness is through creating joy for someone else, and that change doesn't happen through hard work alone. It requires strength of imagination. It relies on that ability we each possess to suspend belief in the restraints of today to enable the possibilities of tomorrow. Most of all, I'll remind them each morning that we make a choice to bring positivity or negativity into the world, and that within every single person there lies an extraordinary story waiting to unfold."

Something I like about this book is the author is quite honest about the fortunate upbringing he had and how connections, family and other people have played a massive role in developing the charity.

This book is genuinely very inspiring and I recommended it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book. Excellent guide for how affluent people can have a positive impact. Not so relevant to your average Joe., 4 April 2014
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This review is from: Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change (Hardcover)
Great read. Fascinating, thought provoking and heart warming. It also achieves an extraordinary level of honesty for both the good and the bad times in Adam's life.

For me, however, it did not achieve what it seems to have set out to do. He talks about how 'anybody' can make a big change to the world and he focuses on how his bank account started with just $25. But, unlike his organisation's bank account, Adam's beginnings were far from modest. He was born in a wealthy area into a well connected, supportive family, which led him to be successful in sport, school, and work experience before he even started college. In following years he was lucky enough to have a variety of rare experiences through which he earned connections, skills, experience and insight into both the world's biggest problems and the world of big business (in my opinion the only entity with any real power to help).

Adam is a brilliant and inspiring man who has achieved an astonishing amount in his life for such a young guy. He just doesn't exemplify how 'anybody' can achieve great things since the book mainly describes his own successes and he had such an unusually great set of opportunities. On a more positive note, I believe there are many people in the world who do need to read this book. These people are skilled, hard working people with lucrative careers ahead of them who wrongly believe they can't have any meaningful impact on the world beyond themselves and their families. He brilliantly outlines how these people can turn their potential to help themselves into the power to change the world using his own life as a well-framed example. He shares which of his behaviours he believes led to the organisation's success as well as confessing his own mistakes and what he learned from them, giving an incredibly raw edge to the narrative. I think this book's substantial value lies in its potential to craft world changers from affluent, talented people like himself.

Those people are not just 'anybody' though, even if they may think they are, and it grates on me to hear a man, well aware of those less fortunate than himself, refer to people like himself as 'anybody'.

If it seems as though I'm focussing on a solitary negative, that's because it really is the only problem I have with the book. But it's a facet which leaves me, rather than feeling inspired (as I'm sure I'm supposed to), to feeling less hopeful about my own future than I was before I read the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible journey, 26 Mar 2014
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Wow, I don't really know where to begin! Adam is an incredible, brave and selfless man.

Adam started with an idea, borne from a passion to do good, and just 25$. In just a few short years he has created over 200 schools and more than 15,000 children have access to education that they would not have otherwise had! What an amazing achievement! PoP's journey really tugs at the heartstrings... I can't tell you how many times I cried reading this, out of pure joy and emotion at what one man has made happen. Adam talks from the heart and his honesty and integrity shine through. I love the way he cares about every single person involved with Pop, and how he recognises that it has become much bigger than he, just one man with a vision. He allows everyone to be proud and take ownership of what they have created together.

A truly inspiring story, which if it resonates with you as it did with me, you'll never forget it.... and you won't want to!

Well done to Adam and everyone at PoP... for providing the means and hope for a better world for all....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love the powerful lessons and the sincere encouragement, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change (Hardcover)
PoP book is a must-read and an ideal gift to inspire others.I love the powerful lessons and the sincere encouragement.
Just want to say that how great it feels to have witnessed the selfless endeavours and success of a backpacker with an indomitable will and an unshakable faith in him that he could change the world at the most exciting time in the history of this beautiful planet earth.Your lessons help us shine brighter! We are grateful for that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring reading, 11 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change (Hardcover)
This book is an amazing read, it's really well written and the story is inspirational.

I've already given my copy of this book to a friend so it won't be long before I'm buying a new copy for my self.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and moving, 8 Jun 2014
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One of the most inspiring book I have read in years. Story of PoP makes you think your purpose in life then everything you believe looks so big and so small at the same time. The choice is yours.....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Inspiring!, 6 Jun 2014
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I first came across Adam Braun in an interview with Marie Forleo and knew straight away that this book was a must read. Well-written and open, it is an account of how Adam conceived and developed the idea of 'Pencils of Promise' [see pencilsofpromise.org ]and includes wonderful mantras and insights which I'm sure most people will find inspiring and helpful in their own lives. I don't want to give too much away - read it and see for yourself!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 16 May 2014
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This review is from: Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change (Hardcover)
I couldn't put this book down! Very wise words from someone so young! Truly inspirational! Buy it - it will change your life!
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is incedible, it kept making me cry...in a good way!, 10 May 2014
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This review is from: Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change (Hardcover)
Adam's honesty and vulnerability is so tangible throughout this book, it's easy to relate to him and his amazing stories. He's inspired me to keep going for my dreams and to make them even more audacious. He openly shares his business successes and the 'failures' which made his for purpose organisation even more successful. Such a brilliant story teller. Everyone needs to and will love reading this book. I found myself walking up escalators still engrossed in the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book., 8 May 2014
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This review is from: Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change (Hardcover)
I loved this book. I thought it was incredible what Adam Braun has done and what he is continuing to do. I haven't read many books in a day, but this was such a page turner I managed to.

I would recommend it to anyone if they need some inspiration.

I am looking for the next one to come out and hope Adam plans to write another one.
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