Start reading The Promise of a Pencil on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change [Kindle Edition]

Adam Braun
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (603 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.00
Kindle Price: $12.99
You Save: $12.01 (48%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Whispersync for Voice

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $10.49 after you buy the Kindle book.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $12.99  
Hardcover $19.07  
Audible Audio Edition, Unabridged $15.95 or Free with Audible 30-day free trial
Kindle Daily Deals
Kindle Delivers: Daily Deals
Subscribe to find out about each day's Kindle Daily Deals for adults and young readers. Learn more (U.S. customers only)

Book Description

The riveting story of how a young man turned $25 into more than 200 schools around the world and the guiding steps anyone can take to lead a successful and significant life.

Adam Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “A pencil.” This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving one of the world’s most prestigious jobs to found Pencils of Promise, the organization he started with just $25 that has since built more than 200 schools around the world.

The Promise of a Pencil chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling, as each chapter explains one clear step that every person can take to turn your biggest ambitions into reality, even if you start with as little as $25. His story takes readers behind the scenes with business moguls and village chiefs, world-famous celebrities and hometown heroes. Driven by compelling stories and shareable insights, this is a vivid and inspiring book that will give you the tools to make your own life a story worth telling.

*All proceeds from this book will support Pencils of Promise.

Editorial Reviews


"Adam Braun is a leader amongst an emerging generation of change makers who are proving that every person can be a force for positive change. His inspiring work is truly giving children around the world hope and the opportunity for a better future."
(Ann Veneman, former Executive Director of UNICEF)

“With relentless optimism and the idealism of a seasoned traveler, Adam Braun tells an incredibly personal story about his journey from student to philanthropist. What's so extraordinary about Braun's story is how he built a simple gesture of kindness - one pencil for one child --into a movement that has inspired and influenced a new generation of philanthropists and entrepreneurs. And he's just getting started.”
(Jared Cohen, bestselling author and Director of Google Ideas)

“Adam Braun is one of the most charismatic, energetic, forward-thinking people in the world today. This book is a perfect step-by-step guide to building the life you've always wanted on your own terms. Pay attention to the details and apply them to your passions. Go now! Start reading and don't put the book down until you're finished.”
(Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook and Crush It!)

“Adam’s story is iconic and riveting. The Promise of a Pencil will inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs and persuade readers to lead lives of purpose.”
(Charles Best, founder & CEO of

About the Author

Adam Braun is the Founder and CEO of Pencils of Promise, an award-winning nonprofit organization that has built more than 100 schools across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and delivered over 5 million educational hours to children in poverty. PoP was founded with just $25 and has grown under Braun’s stewardship with a unique approach that blends nonprofit idealism with for-profit business principles. In 2012, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific and Inspiring Storytelling March 18, 2014
This book is both a terrific story and a guide to making a difference in the world. Inspiring, thought-provoking, and deeply meaningful - Promise of a Pencil profoundly resonated with me and it will resonate with you.

Any one of the chapters - organized as stories telling 30 "mantras" - would be worth the price of the entire book- but together, well- this is a masterpiece, and a future textbook in how we can all make a difference in our short times on this planet. Two enormous likeable thumbs up!
Was this review helpful to you?
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Book for Everyone March 18, 2014
By agray63
This book is not only an incredibly quick read that keeps you glued to the pages until there are no more left to read, but it also keeps you wishing the story would never end!

The book is perfect for all ages in the sense that if you are a young person, it will inspire you to dream big dreams and pursue them with a relentless and undivided attention. If you are older, this book restores your hope in the current generation that is doing so much good in the world.

After reading this book, not only do I feel like I CAN do anything, I also feel like I WANT to go do EVERYTHING! Great Read!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
71 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hopeful, but a life for the wealthy April 1, 2014
By Heather
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Braun's life story is certainly lovely, and it's hopeful for Wall Street dwellers who feel constrained and want to seek more meaning in life. However...the story can only appeal to an audience much more narrow than the book boasts. Braun grew up comfortably with loving parents who, despite their insistence that he had to work hard and finance himself, would surely capture him with a safety net if anything drastic happened after he quit his job to chase his dreams. Braun seems to have neglected to mention that much of his story involves luck -- his nonprofit would surely not be as expansive or popular it is today without Bieber's support and his idolizing fans panting behind his heels. I'm glad Braun is doing such good for the world. I believe firmly in Pencils of Promise and I think the organizations maintains beautiful ideals rooted in sustainable development and local growth from within. But I would not tell any average Joe Shmoe to quit a job to hunt down dreams. We have families to support, or ill parents to take care of, or friends in need, and not everyone can abandon the common route to travel and explore for oneself.
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The subtitle of this book isn't exactly correct.

Adam isn't "ordinary" by any definition of the word.

Adam could have ended up ordinary. He was on a fast-track to make millions in corporate America, but with no real impact on the world. He could have been ordinary. Rich and ordinary.

But Adam chose a different path.

He chose to matter. He chose impact. He chose, quite intentionally, to make a dent in the universe by founding an organization that has built over 200 schools and is bringing education to so many who desperately need it.

In addition to being an innovator and leader, Adam is a great storyteller. The 30 mantras in this book are lessons told through interesting stories. They are instructive, insightful and human. Adam shows the good and the bad. The successes and the bumps and bruises as Pencils of Promise grew.

This book is an invaluable resource. There's no single playbook on "how to change the world" but this book should be required reading for anyone who wants to make their own dent in the universe.

Adam may have started as ordinary but along the way he became "extraordinary".

Have you?

Will you?
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book after starting it from page one this morning. I could not put this book down. I was expecting a book about how a charity got started and perhaps some biography thrown in- but what i got out of it was so much more. What i did not expect was this epic adventure that has lifted my spirits and further influenced my faith in humanity and what one person can do with 25 dollars and start a revolution. With Adam's words in describing his adventures, stories about his family and the start and current state of his organization "Pencils for Promise" i felt like i was experiencing these things right along with the words on the page. This is an epic book on how to follow your dreams, get things done, experience life and not accept things that you are not happy with. This book should be required reading for all schools & businesses alike. There is something for everyone in this book and i cannot help but feeling inspired reading his refreshing words . i Highly recommend everyone pick this up. Thanks for a great read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
It's rare that a book is able to both provide such detailed how-to like perspective on how you start something, change something, or build something but also offers insight into the often ignored emotional, physical, and psychological ups and downs of this process. Adam's willingness to delve deep into his own experiences and really reflect is a benefit for the scores of people in this generation--and all generations who want to make the world a better place, but need to work hard to do it
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a must read for all ages. Adam's (and Pencils of Promise's) story is captivating and is so riveting such that is makes you glued to the pages. The mantras are also great. In addition, there are also a lot of quotable quotes here that you can apply to your daily life. A truly empowering book!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good story w/ wisdom pearls up the wazoo
Quite possibly the most important book I've ever read! And I've read some important books!

Very good story w/ wisdom pearls up the wazoo! Read more
Published 6 days ago by Max
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read
One of the best books I've read! I didn't put this book down until I had read it cover to cover in one setting. So inspiring and so beautiful! Read more
Published 6 days ago by kristin rasmussen
5.0 out of 5 stars a great book to feel inspired
If you are looking to make a change, or trying to find your place in the world, a great book to feel inspired!

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Jody Weyers
5.0 out of 5 stars Become a Changemaker
If you have any thought that you may want to become an agent of social activism in the world, this story provides you with the truth about the expectations that come with entering... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Skye Fournier
5.0 out of 5 stars An Eternal Student
This book deserves five stars because Adam presents an in-depth account of his experiences while building his organization. I really liked the chapter titles...his mantras. Read more
Published 9 days ago by wolflady
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Sounds like a tale. But what's amazing is that it it had happened in real life.
Published 11 days ago by Aziz
3.0 out of 5 stars story more inspiring than the book
Started off ok but I lost interest as I got through it. It's an inspiring story. Maybe the book is just a little too long for the topic.
Published 11 days ago by Joespag
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and hopeful
What a compelling and motivating story. It's refreshing to know such significant change can occur from the hopes, dreams, and hard work of a few. Adam, you are amazing! Read more
Published 13 days ago by Michelle Malloy
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! A very inspiring read
Brilliant! A very inspiring read. The author truly put his heart to work and truly great gifts were born.
Published 14 days ago by mary ellen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My son loves your story!,!,!,!,
Published 16 days ago by Lucia Gibson
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

Adam Braun is the Founder of Pencils of Promise, an award-winning organization that began with just $25 and has since broken ground on 250 schools across the world. He also is the creator of the "For-Purpose" approach to business and philanthropy, which combines for-profit business acumen with the best of social sector idealism. Braun graduated from Brown University, began his career at Bain & Company, and has been a featured speaker at the White House, United Nations and Clinton Global Initiative.

"The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change" is his New York Times bestselling debut book, which shares his personal journey from high finance through more than 50 countries and explains the essential steps that every person must take to discover their own life of passion and purpose.

Richard Branson described, "For anyone looking to transform the world, this book will show you how to get it done."

You can find more information at

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category