The Promise of a Pencil

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer


I just finished reading the New York Times bestseller “The Promise of a Pencil”. It is an inspiring story about how a young man, Adam Braun, started up a nonprofit in 2008 with $25 and by 2014 had built 250 elementary schools in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Adam got the idea to do this when he was traveling in India and observed the severe poverty that many of the children lived in. He wanted to help, but didn’t know how. So he started asking children “If you could have anything in the world, what is the one thing you would want most?” One child answered “A pencil”. When challenged by his parents and others, the child persisted. Adam had a #2 yellow pencil in his backpack, and gave it to the child. The child’s face lit up, and he looked at the pencil as if it were a diamond. As Adam asked the question to more impoverished children in each area he traveled to, and he became convinced that what most impoverished children wanted the most was an education. So it became his mission and the mission of his nonprofit startup named “Pencils of Promise” or PoP.

In addition to being and engaging and compelling story, the book describes the many ways that Adam Braun used social media to startup his nonprofit, and then built it into being a major force for good in the community and in the world.

I recommend that nonprofit leaders read this book to inspire us to think big, and to show us how to use social media to help us make those bigger things happen.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County,