Three Cups of Tea [Book Review]

“In our culture it takes three cups of tea to do business. On the first cup you are a stranger. The second cup you become a friend, and the third cup you become family. “

Three Cups of Tea

Title: Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
Author: Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Narrator: Patrick Lawlor
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
ISBN: 1400152518
Pages: 349
Audio: 13 hours 28 minutes
Year: 2006
Publisher: Tantor Media
Source: Library
Rating: 2.5/5

Summary/My Thoughts:

Three Cups of Tea is the story of Greg Mortenson, an American building schools in Pakistan. I had high hopes for Three Cups of Tea. But like some other books that have wonderful stories yet aren’t told in a manner that I enjoy, I found myself just trying to get through this one.

Greg Mortenson is an amazing person. Once he was just a mountain climber. But a wayward journey on K2 led him to a life building schools for Pakistani’s youth. And the story is interesting. From corrupt tradesmen to political kidnapping, Mortenson has had anything but a boring life.

But sometimes a book just doesn’t tell the story in the same manner I would have told it. And that results in me not liking it as much. I’m having a hard time articulating exactly what it was but I just didn’t love it.

Part of my issues with the book may have been a result of the audio format. It would jump from Pakistan to San Francisco, from one time period to another, and I found this jarring in audio. I imagine this is a problem fixed by a few page breaks or headers. I also think I may have liked it better with a different narrator.

Other Reviews: Age 30+ A Lifetime of Books; Let’s eat, grandpa! Let’s eat grandpa! (Punctuation saves lives.)

Buy It Now: IndieBound; Powell’s; Book Depository; Amazon

6 thoughts on “Three Cups of Tea [Book Review]

  1. Bina February 9, 2011 / 8:53 am

    The premise sounds interesting enough, but I think I would be more interested in learning about Pakistan than “one man’s mission”.

    I’m not really into audiobooks, but it sounds more difficult to keep up with nonfiction than fiction that way šŸ™‚


    • Michelle February 9, 2011 / 11:13 am

      I actually love nonfiction in audio. I tend to give up in print.


  2. Lu February 9, 2011 / 10:59 am

    The writing in this book was truly awful. It’s not just the audio – trust me. I was so disappointed because the story is amazing, and Greg Mortenson had a professional writer helping him, but it was still confusing and poorly written.


    • Michelle February 9, 2011 / 11:13 am

      Oh good. it’s not just me then. I had similar feelings toward The Girls of Summer (about the 1999 Women’s World Cup team): great story, poor writing.


  3. Vishy February 11, 2011 / 11:11 am

    I have this book on my shelf, waiting to be read. I loved the premise and got it. Sorry to know that you didn’t like it much. I remember reading a book called ‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts a few years back, which is a novel based on Roberts’ life in India and Afghanistan. Have you read that? Though the book was thick, I remember liking the story and the prose very much.


  4. Trish February 27, 2011 / 12:45 pm

    Your 2.5/5 rating isn’t help me much! I’m about three quarters of the way through and have just stopped caring for some reason. I know it would only take two or so hours to finish but I just can’t seem to will myself to do it. Have no major complaints…can’t put my finger on it. Sounds you had the same problem.


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