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on 19 March 2014
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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on 17 April 2017
An interesting and challenging book. I am sure many of us would like to do something like Adam has achieved but reading this it's plain to see he came from a different world than most of us.
When reading the book by the founder of TOMS shoes I felt I could a least in a way achieve something like him. With this book, it's all about a great education, a shed load of high level connections and I suspect quite a lot of family money, at least initially. I am not belittling what Adam achieved, he obviously had tremendous drive and belief and what has since been achieved is massive. But, I am saying, I think it's so far away from what people from small town nowheresville with a basic education and no connections could achieve. As I said when reading about TOMS, I thought I could do something like that. With this book, I just knew this was from a whole different level with it's high powered board members and people personally donating hundreds of thousands of dollars. So, as a story of great achievement this book is great, but, as a book to motivate me personally to do something similar, this just left me in the dust. I wish Pencils of Promise much continued success.
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on 11 June 2017
I read 20 pages in and I felt like I had cried for 20 years. This book is life changing and awe inspiring. How a 24 year old could change the lives of young children with just a purpose and €24 on his birthday. Or was it €25. Either way.

It made me find a new appreciation for the education and lifestyle I have been lucky to have for free, for all the food that I have and the country that I live in. We have it so easy in countries like England and America, we don't even realise, this made me find a new perspective on life itself.

This book is more than telling its story of how Pencils of Promise started, it has a mantra on each chapter, which can be applied to our daily life. And if you're searching for your souls purpose in life, this may just give you your answers, whether it's for the organisation or not.

Adam Braun, you Sir are an inspiration.
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on 4 August 2016
When you stay up all night and get up first thing in the morning to finish a book, you know it's something special. After reading this I felt like standing up and clapping - like those people I'd previously thought of as losers who clap when a plane lands or a good film ends at a cinema (lol)! Such was the emotional connection I had with the story of Adam Braun's journey to establishing and growing Pencils of Promise. I'm totally reignited to pursue my own path of making a difference!
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on 18 September 2017
I loved this book, it was amazing and inspiring!
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on 29 August 2017
Amazing book which was truely inspiring.
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on 4 April 2014
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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on 26 March 2014
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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on 31 October 2016
Great book, great condition
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on 19 February 2015
A very inspiring story of a person who noticed and acted upon the small daily messages that ultimately led him to completely trust his heart, follow his intuition, and create a fantastic organization that inspires. I am grateful for people like Adam that openly share their story and give me courage to get out of my comfort zone and to really listen to that small voice deep inside, the voice of the heart that I, and each of us have, the voice that helps define our mission. If we take the leap of faith to follow through and to notice all the small daily messages and listen to inner voice, we will transform not only ourselves but also our surroundings. Thank you Adam for sharing this story.

On a practical matters, the book gives a great insight on how to approach 21st century social marketing for any for-purpose business and how to grow it. Adam goes into explaining in detail of making a successful organization, including trusting members and creating a culture that inspires each person that is part of the team.

Dream big.
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