Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way
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Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  4,129 ratings  ·  842 reviews
Greg Mortenson has built a global reputation as a selfless humanitarian and children’s crusader, and he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is also not what he appears to be. As acclaimed author Jon Krakauer discovered, Mortenson has not only fabricated substantial parts of his bestselling books Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, but has also misused mil...more
ebook, PDF Version, 77 pages
Published 2011 by Byliner, Inc.
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Marte Patel
I saw Greg Mortenson speak in Miami in July last year and was captivated by his story. Each delegate at the conference were given a copy of Three Cups of Tea (the young adult version) and a hardback copy of Stones into Schools. I thought this was very generous of the publisher, but according to this exposé, Mortenson usually buys the books for such events using his charity's funds, so that (a) he can receive royalties (not his charity, mind!), which he wouldn't if the publisher donated the books...more
Laura
I did not read Three Cups of Tea. It seemed - from a distance - like a schmaltzy look at attempting large social change. That doesn't interest me, because I feel the terms are simplified to tell a story. And in that simplification, things are presented in a way that is too good to be true. This simplification loses how challenging it is to create lasting social change.

Jon Krakauer gave money to Greg Mortenson early on to support building schools in Afghanistan with an emphasis on reaching girls...more
Eric_W
Having enjoyed Krakauer’s work in the past, I picked up this Kindle single on spec. Turns out to be quite a read. Krakauer was an emotional and financial supporter of Greg Mortenson, the author of Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time, the mountaineer who created a non-profit empire building schools in Pakistan ostensibly as a way to thwart the influence of the Taliban and Islamic revolutionary teaching. He became somewhat of a cult figure and was soon je...more
Jeanette
I made three sincere attempts to read Three Cups of Tea before giving up. It was poorly written, and so self-congratulatory that I started thinking of it as "Three Cheers for Me!"
Now I'm glad I didn't waste my time slogging through it. It's so full of lies, a more appropriate title would have been "Three Quarts of Wee."

This little book is easy to understand, even if you haven't read Three Cups of Tea. Krakauer gives direct quotes from that book, then details specifically how they are untrue.

K...more
Milan/zzz
Mr. Mortenson is a pathological liar. Yes he had nice idea, he performed many good things in Central Asia BUT all that as far as I'm concerned because what he was doing behind the scene doesn't justify him a bit. Of course I do hope charity will fulfill its mission without him and I hope even more that he'll face the justice.
However, the main thing is a massive disappointment he'll surely raise in hearts of thousands of people who fell in love in his personality while reading his books. I'm not...more
HuhWhat
Feb 05, 2013 HuhWhat rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to HuhWhat by: Lisa Vegan
I have to admit I am one of the many that know Greg Mortenson as the well-known, humanitarian persona that he’s famous for. When ‘Three cups of Tea’ and ‘Stones into Schools’ came out, I read them, enjoyed the former more than the latter but was overall left impressed and inspired. It seemed to me that in an area known for one mess after another, one bomb after another; this one man was making a difference. He had stumbled, quite literally, onto the idea of building schools for rural, Pakistani...more
K
Ouch.

I remember reading a goodreads review of Three Cups of Tea One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time which criticized the book for sounding almost defensive in its relentless hero-worship of Mortenson -- as if the author were responding to attacks on Mortenson's character, the reviewer observed. Looking back, I think that reviewer was remarkably prescient.

In Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way, Jon Krakauer accuses Mortenson of fabrica...more
Don
The good news is Greg Mortenson had/has a nice idea. The bad news is that he's a pathological liar with little regard for credibility and accountabulity -- but he's happy to spend 41 cents of every non-profit-donated dollar on dubious Afghani schools, and 59 cents on what amounts to the glorification of Greg Mortenson.

Krakauer is an awesome "new journalist," and this "Kindle Singles" form was an outstanding platform for this work. What Krakauer has always done so well is to dlve into a fascinati...more
Eduardo
Krakauer can write and I like that he injects himself into the story sometimes because I often wonder, "what would I do if I were in this situation?" Krakauer answers that question for me. Rather than a story, he is really just writing an exposé of Greg Mortenson's escapades since the events that led to the construction of his first school. It is interesting to read but it is sad on several levels.

First, it is sad because I can no longer feel the same way about what I read in Three Cups of Tea:...more
Susan
Aug 22, 2011 Susan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the other side of the Three Cups of Tea story
Reading this very short 75-page book is like being told as a child that Santa doesn't exist – all the arguments are logical but you still don't quite want to believe them. When I first heard of Three Cups of Deceit, I assumed (because I wanted to) that it was written by some disgruntled hack who just wanted to share the spotlight by defaming Mortenson. When I learned it was written by Jon Krakauer, an author I respect, I thought it was worth a second look.

Mr. Krakauer, once an ardent supporter o...more
Jenn
Well, this was a downer. When I first heard there was someone challenging Greg Mortensen I was protective and actually pissed off. But then I discovered it was Jon Krakauer and 60 Minutes. Their allegations are real and valid. There is a bit of "according to a former employee" as well as some he said she said happening, but other than that, it's a pretty airtight argument. Basically Mortensen exaggerated his original story, lied about being kidnapped by the Taliban, and misused funding. When Mor...more
KO
Important read if you have read Greg's books and fell for them, but I feel Karakuer went on a vengeance hunt against Mortenson and definitely lost some perspective.

Some of Karakuer's important accusations against Mortenson are written in a way to make it sound worse than it is - in some cases far worse - like when he accuses Mortenson's NGO of only spending 50% of it's intake of money on schools - but the actual figure on overheads turns out to be lower because Karakuer didn't mention that a goo...more
Chris
I've tried to read Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time. I didn. I didn't like it. It seem to much like a saint's life, among other things. I couldn't even finish it. I noted with little interest when the news about irregularities concerning the charity. I paid a little more attention when Nicholas D. Kristof wrote an op-ed piece in this week's New York Times. Then when Amazon had this up I made the decision to read it because Jon Krakauer can write.

In pa...more
Jeffrey Rasley
Krakauer documents the deceits, frauds, misappropriations, negligence, and breaches of trust of Greg Mortenson, author of "3 Cups of Tea" and founder of the Central Asia Institute. It was interesting that a worldly-wise investigative writer was taken in by Mortenson's cult of personality as was the rest of the great unwashed. Why didn't Krakauer's bulls*** detector not go off as quickly as mine did? Mine went off when I read the Parade article about Mortenson anointing him as saint and hero befo...more
Veena
Krakauer makes some pretty serious allegations in this quick read (only about 70 pages long), which I was drawn to because of Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea. He alleges that Three Cups of Tea only remained at the top of the NYT best-seller list because Mortenson himself used funds donated to his charity (for building schools in Pakistan) to go online and buy his own book from Amazon. It was sort of sadly funny to read that Mortenson was furious when he heard that Three Cups of Tea was pipped...more
Arlie
I'm sorry to say that I think everything in this book is accurate. I read Mortenson's 'Three Cups of Tea' several years ago (and have since given it to many high school students to read), and I loved it. It was beautiful and inspiring and touching. And largely made up. I picked up Krakauer's book as I was so impressed with his journalism in 'Into Thin Air'. He comes across in both books as a reliable and well-researched writer. After reading 'Three Cups of Deceit', I find it hard to believe I di...more
Mary Bloodworth
For starters, I've not read Greg Mortenson's Three Cups of Tea. I have to admit a certain (often misguided) bias against something that stays on the bestseller list for that long. I blame Dan Brown and Mitch Albom for this. I have however read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air which I thought was wonderful.

So with only a little understanding of the issue I read this because ooh - scandal! I'll start with the fact that Jon Krakauer is pissed. He feels personally conned because he donated $75,000 to Mo...more
Jennifer
the moral of the story seems to be: don't fuck with jon krakauer's money
Greg
Jul 02, 2011 Greg marked it as to-read
Why didn't Barnes and Noble order this book for the stores?
David Gallin-Parisi
A quick, worthwhile read. Just under 75 pages, and gets down to the nitty gritty. Not Krakauer's best because the writing suggests he was trying to get this written fast and furious. Still, the cover photograph comes back to haunt readers toward the end of the book. A completely empty school, built in Northern Pakistan, similar to other abandoned projects funded by Three Cups of Tea Greg Mortenson's never-ending book tour. Contemporary Orientalism and fetishizing the exotic is on ugly display. C...more
Ulla Dalsgård
I'm sad and disappointed. I read "Three Cups of Tea" and I loved the idea of building schools for girls in empowerished areas to help communities better their lives and to bring about peace. I felt like Greg Mortenson was a new Mother Theresa or Gandhi. I was totally swept off my feet. Now, after reading Jon Krakauer's book, I am trying to come to terms with the fact that likely some of the contents of that book are a complete fabrication, and Greg Mortenson probably isn't everything he claims t...more
Natalia
In a way, I think too much has been made of Mortenson's playing fast and loose with the actual events he writes about in Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools. the most concerning revelations made in this article/book concern the gross financial mismanagement going on at the Central Asia Institute.

Over and over, I have read comments online to the tune of, "Mortenson and the CAI do such good work! All the critics are just haters trying to discredit him! It's obvious he's making a difference s...more
Kathy Hiester
I had read Three Cups of Tea and then in the midst of a conversation with a friend I was told about Three Cups of Deceipt. Now, You could say that I spend much of my time in LaLa Land as my head is always in a book and I rarely watch TV so I totally missed the boat on this controversy. I believed that the all these schools were being built, that they were being staffed, that students lives were being changed but now I agree with Krakauer's conclusion from his painstaking research. Krakauer did h...more
Alexandra
Objective journalism is hard enough, but it's hard to be an objective reader when it comes to Jon Krakauer. I admire his ability to write and tell a story, but when I read him, I have to keep a very open mind. This particular piece is complicated, has many troubling elements - deception, an inability to keep promises, mishandling of a nobly-intentioned charity's funds, and a charismatic and difficult lead character in Greg Mortenson - and at times Krakauer's writing threatens to make the story a...more
Donna
When I finished Greg Mortenson's inspiring story, Three Cups of Tea, there were things I wondered about.

In the episode of his capture and eight-day captivity, for example, what motivated his captors to take him in the first place, and then why did they let him go? Much of the detail in his description of that event seemed contrived. Why would nuns allow a giant stranger, showing up from nowhere, unsupervised access to the body of their cherished patroness, Mother Teresa? Most importantly, why w...more
Punk
Non-Fiction. Well-written account of how Three Cups of Tea's Greg Mortenson embezzled funds from charities founded to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and repeatedly lied about his actions and motivations in order to aggrandize himself and his cause.

Mortenson's behavior is appalling, not only his fraudulent activities, but his mismanagement of funds and his lack of follow through. Many of the schools he built stand empty, never staffed with teachers, never filled with students. His dis...more
Stacey
I haven't read Three Cups of Tea (never intended to, and I don't plan to now - the excerpts quoted in Three Cups of Deceit are made up of clunky writing paired with hero worship - I wouldn't be able to stomach it), but I was aware of the basic story and of the work that Greg Mortenson's foundation does in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Three Cups of Deceit, Jon Krakauer (who, unlike Mortenson and his co-author, is actually a good writer) provides an articulate, sweeping, and devastating critique b...more
Keith
Jul 08, 2011 Keith marked it as to-read
I'm interested in reading this book because I really want to believe in Mr. Mortenson's cause. I firmly believe the basic concept makes sense: If you want to reduce tension and conflict between the US and the Muslim communities in the world, we will get a lot further if we build cultural bridges and offer a helping hand, than we will by blowing up bridges and vilifying all of the people who live in those lands. I think that it would be (or will be) very sad if Mr. Mortenson’s work turns out to b...more
Sandra
This brief book examines the latest literary scandal, i.e. the "memoir" by Greg Mortenson, Three Cups of Tea, and exposes the lies and deceit in Mortenson's book. I had not had a chance to read Three Cups of Tea when it came public that he had fabricated most of it and now I'm glad I never bothered, nor will I in the future. It's disgusting that Mortenson could have fabricated such lies in order to raise money in the name of education that he kept for himself.

Krakauer, who was burned by Mortenso...more
Kyle Pennekamp
From the journals and book blogs and various other media I read, people really seem to be trying to get this "longform journalism" thing off the ground. Outside of the New Yorker, obviously. They seem to think the internet and eReaders are going to be the thing to do it. Thus I came across this novella-size piece by Krakauer (thanks to Andrew for the heads-up), which is a murder mystery set around British tea time. No, it's actually an expose of the THREE CUPS OF TEA author/humanitarian with an...more
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Karachi: October 2011 - Three cups of Deceit 4 19 Nov 01, 2011 04:10AM  
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Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, well-known for outdoor and mountain-climbing writing.

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