Wood, John 1964-

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Wood, John 1964-

PERSONAL:

Born 1964. Education: University of Colorado, B.S. (magna cum laude); Northwestern University, M.B.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—San Francisco, CA. Office—Room to Read, The Presidio, P.O. Box 29127, San Francisco, CA 94219. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Microsoft Corporation, director of marketing for the Asia-Pacific division, then director of the Internet customer unit for Microsoft Australia, then director of marketing for Microsoft Australia, then director of business development for the Greater China Region, 1991-99; Room to Read, San Francisco, CA, founder and CEO, 1999—.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Social Capitalist Award, Fast Company magazine, for Room to Read; Skoll Foundation Award, for Social Innovation; Draper Richards Fellowship for social entrepreneurs.

WRITINGS:

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children, Collins (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

John Wood finished his studies at the University of Colorado and Northwestern University to work for the Microsoft Corporation. He held numerous directorships with the company in marketing and development for Australia, China, and the Asia-Pacific region. On a three-week vacation trekking in the Himalayas, Wood came across a local school that had only twenty books to share among hundreds of students, an eye-opening moment that drastically altered the course of his life. Upon his return to his normal life, Wood e-mailed associates in his address book asking them to donate books for this Nepalese school. He underestimated the response he got, receiving hundreds of books. Wood's focus was waning from his responsibilities at Microsoft as his sense of duty to help the world's children have greater access to books grew. Eventually he quit his job at Microsoft and founded the nonprofit Room to Read organization to continue his mission of helping to spread literacy among children in Asia and Africa.

In 2006 Wood published a memoir of the life-changing moment he had in Nepal and the movement he led to improve literacy rates among Asian and African children. Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children, in addition to the autobiographical aspects of it, highlights the successful business plan he adopted to start his nonprofit organization. Caroline Geck, reviewing the book in Library Journal, called the story "captivating." Writing in USA Today, Michelle Archer noted that "Wood's dynamism permeates the book, but he manages to avoid sounding holier-than-thou." Booklist contributor Barbara Jacobs concluded that Leaving Microsoft to Change the World "is guaranteed to prompt many readers to open their hearts, if not their wallets."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Wood, John, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children, Collins (New York, NY), 2006.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 2006, Barbara Jacobs, review of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, p. 29.

Hindu Business Line, September 25, 2006, review of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Caroline Geck, review of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, p. 99.

Midwest Book Review, November 1, 2006, review of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2006, review of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, p. 46.

School Library Journal, January, 2007, Brigeen Radoicich, review of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, p. 167.

USA Today, August 27, 2006, Michelle Archer, review of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

ONLINE

BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (May 22, 2007), Megan Brenn-White, review of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World Web site,http://www.leavingmicrosoftbook.com (May 22, 2007), author profile.

Oprah Winfrey Show,http://www.oprah.com/ (May 22, 2007), author profile.

Return Customer,http://www.returncustomer.com/ (October 9, 2006), review of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

Room to Read Web site,http://www.roomtoread.com/ (May 22, 2007), author profile.