The Promise of a Pencil is the story of how Adam Braun was able to create the global education for-purpose company Pencils of Promise from humble beginnings of just $25 to creating hundreds of schools around the world.
This book falls into a common category with many other books, like Start Something That Matters from the TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie. This one resonated with me more since I have a bit more of a personal connection with it now. My company, 2U, is a corporate partner to Pencils of Promise, and I got to see Adam Braun speak at this year's company meeting. It was great and we also had cool VR headsets that helped us see the impact of a school built in Africa. I've known of Adam and Pencils of Promise before, but now it has more of connection to me than it did before.
This book was great. There are a lot of cool aspects of Adam's story that I appreciate, like his connection to Semester at Sea, and his feelings about college:
"While high school encouraged conformity, college taught me it was okay—even desirable—to question what I thought I knew."
He also values the privileges and opportunities those who came before him granted him. His family has been through a lot through the generations, and it cements for him a value that has driven his work:
"I believe that where you start in life should not dictate where you finish."
I really like that sentiment, and I have experienced firsthand the power of education to help transform someone's life. Millions of children around the world are deprived of this opportunity, and Pencils of Promise works to create sustainable change in global education.
The story of Pencils of Promise is captured well in this book through different "mantras" and it felt generally relevant, not just for someone wanting to become a social entrepreneur necessarily. I'd recommend it to anyone, as I think everyone appreciates education and would benefit from the stories and lessons from this book.
You can find The Promise of a Pencil at your favorite book retailer.
One last quote to end on: