I just finished listening to an excellent book on tape - Three Cups of Tea. I highly recommend this book as it is the most inspirational that I have read/listened to.
The book describes the life of a mountain climber who through a series of events transforms his life and starts building schools for the poor in remote villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The story takes place before and after September 11, 2001, providing unique insight into the transformation that the growth of terrorism and the US's response with global aggression has had on the world and on specific individuals.
The book illustrates how a single person can make a huge difference, not through advocacy, but through direct walk the talk action. It illustrates how a small amount of money, if invested carefully, can have a huge impact on the world and help fight terrorism. It also illustrates how much more effective caring and assistance is on individual perceptions versus the damaging effects of military occupation. The book is largely non-political, but the contrast between the two approaches is clearly illustrated in the lives of the people involved.
If you buy the book through the Three Cups of Tea website, a 7% donation is made to the Central Asia Institute to further the cause.
I'll leave this review with my own observation - Greg Mortenson (subject of the book)builds a school for an entire village for $12,000. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is costing us a minimum of $191M per day. That's over 15,000 schools per day... A new school every 5 seconds... Which approach would build more goodwill toward America? Which approach illustrates the type of leadership we would like to be admired for in the world?