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Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way (2011)

por Jon Krakauer

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Argues that author and humanitarian Greg Mortenson, noted for his campaign to open schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan, has not been truthful about his past, his reasons for opening schools, or his abduction by the Taliban.
  1. 21
    Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan por Greg Mortenson (BookWallah)
    BookWallah: And now for the rest of the story... warning this is not pretty.
  2. 21
    Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time por Greg Mortenson (BookWallah, TooBusyReading)
    BookWallah: Are you willing to hear the other side of this story... warning this is not pretty.
    TooBusyReading: I think it is important to read both sides of the story.
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Note to self: don’t attempt to hoodwink Jon Krakauer ( )
  Amzzz | Oct 27, 2022 |
Man, I'd hate to be the guy skimming from his nonprofit coffers when Jon Krakauer is one of his major donors. ( )
  revafisheye | Jan 10, 2020 |
Jon Krakauer is a man on a mission. He says it himself: news of Greg Mortenson's behavior felt like a "personal betrayal." And you do not want to betray Jon Krakauer. His response was to tear Mortenson apart with an exhaustive investigation, using personal emails and quotes from disgruntled ex-employees to sweeten his revenge.

If you are not familiar with Greg Mortenson - and I wasn't before reading this book - he is the founder of a charity that builds schools (or, rather, claims to build schools) in rural Afghanistan. I have had Mortenson's book [b:Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time|49436|Three Cups of Tea One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time|Greg Mortenson|http://images.gr-assets.com/books/1395407074s/49436.jpg|251800] on my "to-read" list for a while, but thanks to Krakauer I don't have to read it or its sequel because of his extensive quoting and summarizing of the texts.

The conclusion here is that Greg Mortenson is a despicable human being who lies about everything and uses his charity as a personal bank account. Krakauer is disgruntled because he believed Mortenson's lies and donated over $75,000 to Mortenson's charity before learning that he wasn't funding schools for poor Afghan children, but stuffing Mortenson's pockets. Adding to Krakauer's rage is that an angry letter he wrote to the charity's Board was not taken as advice and seemingly ignored.

Three Cups of Deceit is an interesting expose by one of my favorite writers, but it is apparent that Krakauer has a personal vendetta against Mortenson. Maybe I would be more interested in the story if I had a personal vendetta against him, too. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
I have been curious to learn more about Greg Mortenson ever since I heard that Three Cups of Tea (which I was definitely taken in by) didn't quite represent the truth as well as one might hope. This book had been sitting on my shelves for quite some time before I decided it would be a good book for Dewey's readathon.

Krakauer is an emotional, talented writer. His story drew me forward, kept me turning pages to try to discover just what was reality and what was distortion. It was a little embarrassing to have pointed out all of the aspects of Mortenson's story that should have raised flags as "probably too good to be true," but which I (and many, many others) didn't examine because they felt so good. This story is sad one, ultimately, because Mortenson clearly had a passion to help, and if only had accepted more input, made himself more accountable, instead of falling in love with his white savior narrative, he could have done so much more good.

Of course, with a little distance (and a little research) from both books, they start to mirror each other in more interesting ways. Tea over-romanticizes and fictionalizes in service to its mission: which is to raise more money and understanding for what it believes to be a desperately important cause. Unfortunately, it seems that Deceit also glosses over and blows out of proportion in service to its mission: which sadly seems to be just to savage Mortenson. Could Mortenson have done a better job? Absolutely. Were he and his organization still adding up to a net good in the world? I think so. With distance, Krakauer's rage on behalf of all the "bilked" schoolchildren (who were moved by Mortenson's visions and held fundraisers and donated their own little collections of pennies) seem a little out of proportion? Also, yes.

This was an interesting book, but I wish it had been a different book. I wish it had been a book about how people sometimes get wrapped up in good intentions and are swept away by their own stories. I wish it had been a story about the ways we do and do not effectively build empathy between cultures. I wish it had been a story about how we demand unrealistic levels of perfection from non-profits, and are eager to burn them to the ground when they don't live up to our expectations, but shrug our shoulders at the sins of corporations, or the military-industrial complex, or sensationalist media hyping war.

Who will write that book? ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
Read this book in one sitting - it is only 75 pages long- and there is a lot of information packed into those 75 pages. I was never a [b:Three Cups of Tea|9065125|Three Cups of Tea|Greg Mortenson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1282779515s/9065125.jpg|7189347] devotee and I am relieved that I wasn't after reading Krakauer's expose of Mortenson's fraudulent behavior. It is disheartening that such a wonderful idea (spreading education to areas in need) has been so perverted by Mortenson's ego, greed and duplicity. As a side note...100% of the proceeds from [b:Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way|11151351|Three Cups of Deceit How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way|Jon Krakauer|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1303177098s/11151351.jpg|16075075] are being donated to the "Stop Girl Trafficking" at the American Himalayan Foundation. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
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Argues that author and humanitarian Greg Mortenson, noted for his campaign to open schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan, has not been truthful about his past, his reasons for opening schools, or his abduction by the Taliban.

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