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

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  10,147 ratings  ·  1,340 reviews
Greg Mortenson, the bestselling author of Three Cups of Tea, is a man who has built a global reputation as a selfless humanitarian and children’s crusader, and he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. But, as Jon Krakauer demonstrates in this extensively researched and penetrating book, he is not all that he appears to be.
Based on wide-ranging interviews with form
Paperback, 75 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Anchor (first published 2011)
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Start your review of Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way
the moral of the story seems to be: don't fuck with jon krakauer's money ...more
Jun 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
La Petite Américaine
In 70 pages, Three Cups of Deceit managed to destroy one of my heroes--and I don't mean Greg Mortenson, whom the book intends to demonize. Instead, the fallen hero here is author Jon Krakauer, thanks to this ebook, which 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.

Laura Gembolis
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
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
In current condition, I cannot comment much about the content, but there are many sources in the net for your own judgment. The book is very thin and some of the details were written for necessity than for readibility. This book has too much details for me even for a thin book.
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, asia
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

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
I had read Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortensen, before this.I loved it.And then,I read this.It was painful to discover that Mortensen wasn't such a hero after all,and had fabricated his story ! Millions of dollars,in donations were pouring into the coffers of Mortensen's Central Asia Institute,yet his book never mentions the staggering amounts involved.Three Cups of Tea,is full of drama,including the alleged kidnapping of Mortensen,who claims to have worked in dangerous areas to build schools.
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
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Peter Derk
There is a very short list of people you absolutely do not want to fuck with. Jon Krakauer is one of those people. Because if you fuck with him, there's a chance that he will write an entire (granted, short) book about what a terrible person you are. It will contain exhaustive detail, including financial and travel records, and will even take passages from your memoirs and show what a hypocrite you are. It will be as fair as possible, granting you those few things you did right, but even that wo ...more
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
Whatever you do, don't piss off John Krakauer.

Greg Mortensen did, and Three Cups of Deceit is the result, an eighty page takedown where Krakauer puts him up against the ropes, pounds him merciliessly, then dances around his slumped and disgraced form.

Mortensen makes this pounding he receives so, so easy, and (if even half of what Krakauer talks about is true) so, so justified.

You may not have heard of Gretg Mortensen. I hadn’t. He is the founder of the charity CAI (the Central Asia Institute), a
Oct 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Susan (aka Just My Op)
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
Jan 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second time I've read this--was jonesing for a revisit as I've delved deeper into mountaineering non-fiction, specifically more K2 stories. Listened to the audiobook from the library (previously read as an ebook when it came out), and it still packs a punch. A stunning piece of investigative journalism. Fascinating looking over the Goodreads reviews and how polarizing they are--I come to this with no nostalgia for the source material, and find every argument compelling. Of course most interestin ...more
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1993 a free-spirited American named Greg Mortenson, having failed to climb the K2 mountain, descended over a glacier into far northern Pakistan. He went a little off-course into the wrong village and wound up in the care of a local chieftan who gave him physical care and philosophical comfort. As a result Mortenson Founded the Central Asia Institute (CAI) and built numerous successful schools throughout the region. Mortenson wrote two books -- THREE CUPS OF TEA and a sequel, STONES INTO SCHOO ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The only thing this book claims is Mortensen is a crap administrator, the only thing it proves is Krakauer is a media whore with his vampire teeth firmly entrenched in Mortensen's hide.

So Greg didnt live in a basement where his wife and kid starved to death to contribute every penny of his BEST SELLING book to those who's cause he championed SUCESSFULLY and brought to the forefront of the wealthy community in the world. What an asshole- or Krakaur would have you believe. Kraukaur, who never did
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:
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 02, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Why didn't Barnes and Noble order this book for the stores? ...more
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
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
May 24, 2011 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
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This bare knuckles expose is a quick and entertaining read. Krakauer convincingly makes his case that Greg Mortenson is a big fat liar. I haven't read Three Cups of Tea or Stones Into Schools but my wife did and enjoyed them greatly. She recommended them to me very highly and I promised I would read both. Unfortunately I must break my promise. Also unfortunately we've made a few donations to the Central Asia Institute and I feel it's money thrown away.

Not having read Mortenson's books did not po
Kathy Hiester
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Karachi: October 2011 - Three cups of Deceit 4 27 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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