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

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,535 Ratings  ·  1,040 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
Jun 18, 2011 Marte Patel rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, kindle
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
Nov 06, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
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
Apr 19, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
the moral of the story seems to be: don't fuck with jon krakauer's money
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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.

Jun 02, 2012 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-affairs
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
La Petite Américaine
In 70 pages, Three Cups of Deceit managed to destroy one of my heroes--and I don't mean Greg Mortenson, the person the book means to demonize. Instead, it's author who has left me queasy with disgust.

We all know that it's nothing new for me to hate an author, but Three Cups of Deceit is different, because I've been an ardent Jon Krakauer fan since I was 17. When 20 years of admiration are undone in a 70-page ebook, it's is a weird place to be.

I bought this book last year because I love Krakaue

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
Nov 20, 2011 Milan/zzz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, nonfiction
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
Jul 04, 2011 Jenn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: truth
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
Aug 22, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
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
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
Oct 18, 2015 Negin rated it liked it
I have not read “Three Cups of Tea” nor do I plan on doing so. Jon Krakauer is angry and I believe that he has every right to be. He was fooled by Greg Mortenson. This very thoroughly documented book is about the duplicity and inconsistencies in “Three Cups of Tea” and its sequel, “Stones into Schools”, as well as Mortensons’s non-profit organization, Central Asia Institute (CAI) where the funds are heavily mismanaged.

As far as reading goes, it was a bit boring for me, hence why I’ve given it 3
Aug 02, 2011 Don rated it really liked it
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
Apr 23, 2011 Eduardo rated it liked it
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:
Jan 16, 2012 Arlie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
May 24, 2011 Ulla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 07, 2011 KO rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jul 02, 2011 Greg marked it as to-read
Why didn't Barnes and Noble order this book for the stores?
David Gallin-Parisi
Mar 07, 2012 David Gallin-Parisi rated it really liked it
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
Jeffrey Rasley
Apr 09, 2013 Jeffrey Rasley rated it liked it
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
Kathy Hiester
Aug 17, 2011 Kathy Hiester rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 06, 2016 Paula rated it it was ok
So Greg didnt live in a basement where his wife and kid starved to death and contribute every penny of his earnings from the book to those who's cause he championed and brought to the forefront of the wealthyist community in the world. What an asshole- or Krakaur would have you believe. Kraukaur , who never did anything to benefit any of the participants in any of the stories that made him rich.

Krakaur is looking to make ANOTHER dollar off bashing Mortensen's undeniably decades long successful
May 27, 2011 Veena rated it really liked it
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
Mary Bloodworth
Apr 19, 2011 Mary Bloodworth rated it liked it
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
Mar 12, 2012 Donna rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 23, 2011 Stacey rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 20, 2011 Bridget added it
Shelves: 2011
This is probably the saddest book I've ever read. Even knowing that Jon Krakauer loves a good dispute he can really sink his teeth into - as long as he comes out in the right at the end of it; even knowing Krakauer himself has skimmed or doctored or ignored facts in his own writings; even knowing that a lot of this comes down to he said/she said: I can no longer believe anything Greg Mortenson says. Krakauer raises serious, pervasive doubts about the work Mortenson has done and the manner in whi ...more
Apr 19, 2011 Natalia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, ebook, 2011
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
Feb 15, 2013 Alexandra rated it really liked it
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
Apr 21, 2011 Punk rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, ebook
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
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Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, well-known for outdoor and mountain-climbing writing.
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“When our heroes turn out to be sleazebags, self-deception is easier than facing the facts.” 2 likes
“Mortenson was merely selling what the public was eager to buy.” 1 likes
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