Three Cups of Tea: Young Reader’s Edition (Paperback) by Greg Mortenson: A Book Review

threecupschildI decided to put it in my bag unmolested for a few days before I mustered up enough desire to finish it. As a matter of fact, its edition is intended for young readers. However, I swerved off after having watched the report of 60 Minutes by CBS News about the author’s credibility on Youtube in 2011. According to the news, the book contained fabrications and he mismanaged Central Asia Institute, the charity he co-founded. In an interview with author John Krauker, he said that it is a beautiful story, and it’s a lie. He also added that a companion on the 1993 attempt to climb K2 refuted Mortenson’s account that people in the remote Pakistani village of Korphe nursed him back to health. The reports also accused Mortenson of using the charity to enrich himself and promote his books without sharing the royalties or speaking fees.( For more information, see the news here

In the end, while trying to finish it and despite the author’s credibility in question, I thought that, somehow, the book has a message each and every one of us should be aware of: All children elsewhere have the right to acquire decent education.

I had seen its original book several times in a second-hand book store. However, I just ignored it because I was not interested in such genre yet at that time. Besides, as I have always crowed to the world, I don’t want to buy a tattered book any more. It just happened that I stumbled on its new and childish edition.

As I started reading it, I began to mutter under my breath regretting why I did not dare reading it before since there were paperbacks aplenty. I was touched to read Greg Monterson’s humble life story , on how he began to realize that there was something he could do more than climbing the second highest mountain in the world, K2. Back in America, he worked his butt off to ante up enough fund to make his promise come true. Fortunately, he made it. Despite all the trepidation, he never gave up on his calling.

Since the book is for young readers, obviously, it is light, not that much heavily detailed as the original although I have this feeling that I want to know the story more- in detail. I guess the author may have selected only some important parts paralleling with a young reader’s comprehension level.

After reading it, I forgot the controversy about Greg. I don’t mind it anymore except the messages he wants to tell the world: Education is a human right. Besides, I will still give his two books a try such as his original Three Cups Of Tea: One Man’s Mission To Promote Peace One School At A Time and Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


On the other hand, it occurred to me that corruption is indeed a big temptation to a person who has been deprived of poverty unless that person grows in a home where love is taught as the most powerful element in the world.

In January of this year, Greg Mortenson retired from Central Asia Institute, the charity he managed for nine years. He is now 58 years old . He can now spend more quality time with his family, but for sure he cannot escape the specter of the weathering controversy he has been facing .

Meanwhile, here are the catchphrases I want to dwell in my mind when Haji Ali spoke to Monterson:

“If you want to thrive in Baltistan, you must respect our ways. The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die. Doctor Greg, you must take time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated but we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time.’ That day, Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I’ve ever learned in my life. We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly…Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them.”

Rating: 3/ 5 stars (  I liked it.)



  1. I hope you will stay tuned for my documentary, 3000 Cups of Tea ( in which I looked into the allegations against Mortenson and his running of his Central Asia Institute, and traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to see for myself if the mission is still viable. In short: the schools exist, and Mortenson’s work of “building peace through books not bombs” is as vital as it ever was, if not even more crucial.

    Liked by 1 person

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