Saturday, April 24, 2010

'Three Cups of Tea' is...

...before anything else, a New York Times Bestseller. So. Taking our cue from there...

Three Cups of Tea is Greg Mortenson's story (Greg Mortenson being the man behind Central Asia Institute- CAI) told badly with the help of David Oliver Relin.

It could have been a great book, because the story behind it is incredible. But it isn't.
And here, to tell you in her own hilarious words, is Lisa M and her review of 'Three Cups of Tea'.
I agree with everything Lisa said in her review (from 2008), and had a few more grouses with the proofing and glaringly inaccurate facts in parts of the book (for instance: In one anecdote, Relin repeatedly uses the word 'shalwar' when he is clearly talking about Mortenson's kameez. Very annoying as a reader. Makes you think is this book researched enough? Do the writers know what they are talking about?). Overall disturbing to read such a high profile title with simple mistakes. Makes one feel like we're being fed lines....
Some of my comments on the book:
I’m working with setting up schools in remote villages in Jammu & Kashmir myself, so I thought this book would be helpful in sorting out actual on-the-ground problems I come across (like how to go about proper documentation, registration with notoriously corrupt govt officials and bureaucratic departments, how to get good teachers to work and STAY in remote areas, duh, then supervise them, check the quality of teaching intermittently etc.) but nothing of the sort. The way Relin tells the story it was pretty smooth sailing for Greg like “I’m American so I can get airlifts from the Army” and instead of the actual schools and what went on in there, it was more about constructing buildings. I have set up three schools in remote villages, and believe me, getting rooms or a building is the least of one’s worries.
I was gifted ‘Three Cups’ by a dear friend and was pretty keen on it until I reached about one-third and was like, “Errr. Wait a minute. We have been had.” :)

(If you want to buy the book online in India, I'd recommend Flipkart any day. Here's where you can get it.)