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The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change Paperback – February 3, 2015
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"For anyone with a big dream to transform the world, this book will show you how to get it done." (Sir Richard Branson)
“A compelling and singular story filled with universal truths everyone needs to hear.” (United States Senator Cory Booker)
"A remarkably inspiring story that shares the essential lessons to creating a life of meaning, passion and purpose." (Deepak Chopra, Founder of The Chopra Foundation)
“A vivid, heartfelt account of the power of education and the ability of one person to impact the world.” (Wendy Kopp, Founder of Teach For America and Co-Founder & CEO of Teach For All)
“Braun takes you on a mesmerizing round-the-world adventure, while sharing the concrete steps necessary to turn your own ideas into reality. He has his finger on the pulse of what's next and when he speaks you should be listening.” (Keith Ferrazzi, #1 NY Times bestselling author of Never Eat Alone and Who's Got Your Back)
“A perfect step-by-step guide to building the life you've always wanted on your own terms. . . Start reading and don't put the book down until you're finished.” (Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia and New York Times bestselling author of Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook and Crush It!)
"Braun's lessons are memorable, accessible, and powerful. This is a must-read, and a must-re-read, and a must-keep-in-view-on-bookshelf kind of book." (Jessica Jackley, Co-Founder of Kiva)
"[An] exuberant testimony to the power of idealism. . . Braun’s story forcefully presents the advantages of silencing the head andlistening to the heart." (Publishers Weekly starred review and Book of the Week)
"[Braun] skillfully weaves together his personal memoir and the professional challenges he faced... Informative and inspiring." (Kirkus Reviews)
“Braun combines his laid-back storytelling style with simple yet sage advice….The Promise of a Pencil is engaging, instructive and inspiring reading for anyone who wants to change his or her life, change the world, or simply feel better about humanity.” (Success Magazine)
About the Author
Adam Braun is the Founder of Pencils of Promise, an award-winning for-purpose organization that has built more than 200 schools across Africa, Asia, and Latin America and delivered over 30 million educational hours to children in poverty. PoP was founded with just $25 and has grown under Braun’s stewardship with his unique approach that blends nonprofit idealism with for-profit business principles. He has been a featured speaker at the White House, Clinton Global Initiative, and United Nations. All proceeds from The Promise of a Pencil will go to support Pencils of Promise.
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As I said The Promise of a Pencil gives great insight on how to build a successful non-profit because Adam Braun doesn't simply focus on his call to help people. He focuses on fundraising, building a board, making connections, etc- all of the business and finance things that are glossed over in other books that I have read. He really focuses on the reality of building a non-profit.
I have only one negative thing to say about this book and it should definitely NOT stop anyone from buying this book but while reading this book I kept thinking to myself that he seemed extremely self-absorbed- the situations he was in were always about his thoughts, his feelings, his reaction and I kept wanting him to place himself in their shoes or comment on their pain. I kept reading and I am so glad that I did. I think it was written like this to show the massive changes that he undergoes and because this is a book about a guy who didn't ever think he would start a non-profit. It is about his story, his development into the man who created an incredible non-profit which makes education possible for even the most impoverished.
Whether you want to open a non-profit yourself or you are just interested in philanthropy- this is a book I would recommend for everyone.
Man, I couldn't wait to share with you the uncontrollable excitement that had been generated from reading your book (which I completed in two sittings). I sat down, propped up against the pillows on my bed on the final evening entirely immersed in the emotional ebb and flow of this piece of literature that you've graciously shared with the world. I barely wanted to pause, it was too riveting and mind blowing! I ran to the kitchen for snacks in between some chapters and I even convinced myself that it was time to shower but that clearly did not happen until I ended at the acknowledgements!
Thank you for the journey- it evoked tears, laughter, thrill, hope, motivation and inspiration. As I 'travelled" with you throughout your vast and dynamic adventures, not only did I experience your passionate outlook on humanity and your innate desire to problem solve, I also felt like you were sharing my own personal narrative. In other words, whilst I haven't seen all of this world in the ways that you have, I have had dreams of doing so my entire life and your detailed portrayal of a life lived by completely assimilating yourself in the cultures that you walked into, demonstrated to me your love for people and your overall seriousness to engage and understand. It's through your anecdotes that I was able to understand your character- you seemingly embody cross cultural acceptance and I want to thank you for being fearless and setting examples for others to emulate. You see, although our world has evolved tremendously and is considered globalized and therefore more "unified" and interconnected, we continue to struggle with divisiveness that is still apparent in many areas including the non acceptance of different cultural/racial/ethnic groups. You go against this harsh reality by letting us know that through your social good/social impact (for purpose) approach, you and your team are able to unite so many of us across the world to work towards a common goal-making a difference through the transformation of lives. This Adam is beyond amazing to me.
As a growing Social Entrepreneur, I could relate to your sentiments. In fact, at this stage of my journey I saw the need to dig deeper into social entrepreneurship and so, I begun actively searching for books on Amazon to assist with gaining clarity and insight when I stumbled upon "The Promise of a Pencil" immediately after I ordered People over Profit by Dale Partridge. This was when I learnt about your organization. My enthusiasm and excitement roared because I knew I was being led along the right path. Backpacking across the globe, living minimally and sharing in the cultures of others, caring deeply (so deeply that your core vibrates with no end) for the people who need opportunity and hope, education and accessibility to it. These are passions that reverberate within me daily and I've had this inherent desire to contribute in the same way that you've described... That made this sojourn through your book even more fascinating and relatable.
I was moved and quite eager to share that you've inspired me thoroughly and I am more than happy that I chose to invest time to read about your journey throughout the world and the successes you amassed for social good. It makes me proud and even more confident of this path that I have undertaken to not only experience the world with purpose and passion, but to contribute to solving some of its problems. One day I will know, just like you did at the Philharmonic that 'everything is going to change.'
I feel it coming, I just don't know what it looks like. I do know, however, that the tireless work you are doing comes pretty close and I do know I want to spend the rest of my life making people happy by letting them know that there is so much more to hope for and achieve. We will continue to provide tools for growth; we will continue to encourage and inspire men, women, boys and girls to believe that they are allowed to dream and excel regardless of where and who they are.
Thank you for sharing your triumphs as well as your challenges and most of all, I appreciate the fact that you are inspired by your family. I am too. I am hardly me without them. In fact, when you dedicated your first school to your "Ma" and then eventually told her your story, her response sent tears rolling down my cheeks. Why? I could relate. My grandmother, affectionately called "Mama" was pulled out of school in Grade 3 to contribute to her household. Throughout the years she would describe quite emotionally, the effects of being denied access to educational opportunities. However, we would always remind her of the results of her dedication to hard work. She accumulated multiple successes in spite of not receiving formal education and her greatest achievement in my opinion, is the solid foundation she laid for all of the generations that followed. Nonetheless, I know it hurts her and therefore, if I were to erect a school some day, I believe she would be honoured if it were dedicated to her.
Thanks Adam. My experience with the book in such a short space of time can be easily considered.... life altering..
Continue to inspire and be inspired..
With every good wish.
Love from Jamaica,
So thank you Adam Braun. You taught me to start listen to the voice that speaks about my inner desires. Or, I've been hearing it for almost a year now, but you gave me the power to really take the voice seriously.
So thank you, an interesting future ahead for me! :)
And I urge you all to read this and I can accurately say that when you've finished this book, you will all find some way to give back to this world.
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My name is Nick Cooper, and I am a sophomore at Central College in Pella, Iowa. I just finished reading your book, and it was incredibly genuine.Read more