Apr 18, 2011

Three Cups of Tea: Questioned if it is a Myth

Three Cups of Tea , the book on the life transforming experience of Greg Mortenson (famous mountaineer-turned girls-education-supporter) has been a best selling book for several years. The facts behind this non-fiction have come under fire recently after several (ex) donors and other people related to the Central Asia Institute (including former board trustee John Krakeuer - author of Into Thin Air) questioned the financial policies in the charity.

Here are the various news reports floating around with some choice excerpts planted here some good sensationalism
Little if any income from Mortenson's paid speaking engagements, while listing $1.7 million in "book-related expenses.[source]
Using charter flights, which I only started doing in 2009, allowed me to pack in many more cities. I get about 2,400 speaking requests a year. About 400 of the ones last year were offering to pay money. So I mix them. And, since January, I have totally paid for all my own travel. [source]
Greg, the 60 Minutes segment claimed that there are major fabrications in Three Cups of Tea. Are there factual errors in the book, and if so, how did they get there?
To answer that, it’s important to have some background. I started writing Three Cups of Tea in 2002, doing six chapters myself. I went to New York to four publishers and they all said the same thing: The story’s great but the writing sucks. [Laughs.]
......(more in the Outside magazine)

....... who was the editor of Parade, called me and said, I’ve got a book writer for you. This was David Oliver Relin, who co-authored Three Cups of Tea with me and has joint copyright. (Outside magazine)

That’s where some of the issues are. It’s really complicated, but I’m not a journalist. I don’t take a lot of notes. David and I collaborated. He did nearly all the writing, and along with hundreds of interviews of those involved in the story, I helped him piece together the whole timeline, and from that we started creating the narrative arc and everything. [Continued at Outside magazine ]
Mortensen's brief responses to CBS are here:
 John Krakauer has a book titled: Three Cups of Deceit.

more to follow as story unfolds. However, in this moment if you are still in the mood to donate for actual good causes, locate your charities of worth here, at Charity Navigator

More to follow....


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