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Walk in Their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World?

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  328 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
The powerful, personal story of Jim Ziolkowski, the man behind the organization buildOn—which turns inner city teens into community leaders at home and abroad—and his inspiring mission to change the world one community at a time.

Jim Ziolkowski gave up his career in corporate finance to create buildOn, a service-oriented program that goes into high-risk areas around the wor
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Simon Schuster (first published April 2nd 2013)
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Patty Mitchell
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Patty by:
For non-Christian readers I would like to say, don't be put off by some reviewers references to the author's "deep faith". His Catholic upbringing and beliefs really are not there to preach, convert, or judge, but do provide important personal context to the ways he found meaning through the work he started and continues to do today.

Even though I don't share his faith, I feel that by sharing his beliefs, and the things that challenged his faith, his story becomes more intimate and real for the
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
I was a goodreads first reads winner of "Walk in Their shoes" Jim Ziolkowski.wrote of his 20 plus years as a humanitarian who went around the world and helped build schools for the desperately poor.He gave up a career to Join "Buildon" in the USA that helped teens to volunteer in cities like Detroit, the Bronx. he even lived in Harlem for a couple years.
Over the years Jim and volunteers have built schools in Haiti,Nepal south Africa. to date over 550 schools world wide.I found this book touchi
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
*Spoiler alert*
This is an amazing book. Of course, being an active buildOn (the organization that Jim founded) student who has fundraised money and traveled to Nepal to build a school, my opinions might be a bit biased.
I was lucky enough to get the book from buildOn before it's release, and when I finished I was like WOW... I had known some of Jim's stories before, but this book in it's entirety gave me a complete new perspective on the hardships that he had to overcome for the past 20+ years.
نهى خالد
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It has been a great journey. Reading this book, felt like reading Jim's diary. It was awesome and special. It helps in knowing how things would really go to build something like BuildOn. I enjoyed to the max and it influenced me a lot. Thanks Jim.

I will miss all characters mentioned in the book too.
Anne Mason
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book by someone who truly walks the walk! Yes, one person clearly can change the world for the better. Inspirational!!
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: just-read
A good book about discovering the pressing needs of others and taking direct action to help. I have traveled the world for business and have seen extreme poverty and look for ways to help alleviate it.

Jim found a way by taking things one step at a time and has built upon his success. It's a beautiful way to accomplish multiple purposes, build schools, get inner city kids involved in helping others and educate young people.

I'm going to try to get involved with BuildOn in Phoenix for kids I work
Carol J
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Walk in Their Shoes: Can One Person Change the World?, is a truly inspiring book. I found Jim Ziolkowski's attitude and outlook to be refreshing in a world of me,me,me. He makes no bones about his faith being his core strength but he does not preach or judge others. The work he has done with buildOn has impacted so many people around the world and here in the States that it is a true example of the ripple effect.
I found his personal actions and thoughts about what he did to be real. This book i
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished-2014
I have to make a disclaimer that I currently work with buildOn and that was what brought me to read the book but it was an amazing read. I truly understood what Jim went through to start the organization and the drive and passion he has for changing the world. I personally could relate as I have felt a calling since college to make a difference in the lives of others and have selected my career path based on that. I am lucky and fortunate to get to work with the students at buildOn and I hope ot ...more
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, a-and-a
I was privileged to read the galley proof this May. While I recognize many of the themes and anecdotes having known Jim for nearly twenty years, I was impressed by the depth of his spiritualism that forms the foundation of his beliefs and drive. buildOn, the organization he founded, has made a lasting positive impact stamping out illiteracy and empowering kids and adults across the globe. Jim has been an inspiration for me and so many others around the world. I hope others will equally be touche ...more
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Walk in Their Shoes:
Can One Person Change the World?

Short answer: YES

How? one person shows another person who shows another person how to do what Jim does --the organization builds.
One person living in abject poverty receives an education and teaches others. A mother receives an education and her children become educated.
One school is built for Grades 1-3, and 3 years later, the community, without BuildOn, builds another school for Grades 4-6, and it continues.

But although this book recounts the
Karla Winick-Ford
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh. Such an amazing narrative. I laughed, I cried... twice.
This is an uplifting and truly motivational story everyone can relate to. Loved that this was a Michigan boy raising others around our world. I was sad that I was a day late and a dollar short, as his team just held a conference in Detroit ... Truly wonderful story. Easy read, and will leave your heart warm. Read it, share it, spread the word,.. and thank the man for making a positive difference in this world, one person at a ti
Tamara C.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You need this in your life to draw from in times of ...

One of the best books I have ever read. It is a quick read with loads of content and quality. I was deeply immersed and inspired.
Josh Allred
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must read. One person really can change the world. It's no longer if we have a choice but whether we are going to decide to make a difference.
Olga Khalatyan
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fear is useless what is needed is trust.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Truly an inspiration. What an incredible spirit of giving.
Cindy Hipolito
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: firstreads
Walk In Their Shoes by Jim Ziolkowski (w/James S. Hirsch) was received as a giveaway through First Reads program (sponsored by

This is an autobiography of the author introducing himself as living a fairly normal life with loving parents, through high school and continued emotional support through his college years. The story further elaborates about the strengths the parents had regarding life and their faith (Catholicism). After just a short time at a prestigious program which wo
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Although there were many times I thought the author was a naive idiot, I also felt he was noble in his venture to be the change. Education is something the United Nations believe is a right of every human being, but is not happening due to poverty. Jim Ziolkowski had a promsing career with GE he decided to leave the corporate world to create the organization buildOn. BuildOn is a organization that turns inner city teens into community leaders at home and abroad and to build schools in the poores ...more
Another in a string of books that have proven to be far more interesting than I'd anticipated -- not going to argue with that! Not long after college, Ziolkowski cofounded a company dedicated to working with youth in the U.S. while building schools in developing countries. What started as a short-term vision -- three schools on three continents -- grew, and he stuck with it, in part because of a religious drive to serve and in part because he found it so satisfying.

My middle-of-the-road rating h
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Walk in Their Shoes, was a very inspirational read for me. This book is a biography about Jim Ziolkowski, a successful businessman who abruptly changed his career after a life-changing trip with his brother around the world. After Jim’s experiences abroad, he came back and gave up his corporate career at GE, to start a non-profit organization to build schools and help people. It was amazing to see how one person on a mission can make a difference in the world. I highly enjoyed myself while readi ...more
Sep 14, 2013 rated it liked it
*DISCLOSURE*- I won this book as a Good Reads "First Reads" giveaway.

When I first received this book, I was hoping that it wasn't just another info-book written to promote a particular cause. I had nothing to be concerned about. Jim Ziolkowski took me on a journey to places that I could only imagine seeing. He did something that many us wish to do, experiencing life with those that we would like to help, not just writing another check for an NGO. I can't imagine the courage that it must have tak
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was fortunate enough to receive this book as a goodreads first reads winner.

I found Walk In Their Shoes to be truly inspirational. I went to a high school that required community service and funded part of my college career with a community service organization that requires 900 hours of service every two years. I'm now a college instructor who incorporates service into my courses, when appropriate. Clearly, I have been actively involved in service for a while and believe it to be pretty esse
Phaedra Wilkinson
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This story of one American man's journey around the world. to follow his heart and soul to affect positive change around the world was inspiring and faith-affirming (regardless of whatever faith/spiritual practice you follow). Jim's service to others is deeply rooted in his spiritual practice and while his practice differs significantly from mine, I found myself energized by his practical application of faith to everyday service. I resonated with the message that all beings suffer (including tho ...more
I LOVED this book! I want to go out and change the world. Being from the same area as the author and Catholic, I've heard of him, ran into him and had the honor of meeting him. He is amazing! His story is doubly amazing. It will inspire you, make you weep and most of all make you wonder if you can change the world.

I was so excited to FINALLY get to read this book and the fact it was assigned was like a bonus, pleasure reading for class!!

Read this book! Be inspired. YOU can make a difference.
Zefanya Wulandari
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
There is a bigger, more complex world outside your world. Open your eyes and it's one hell of a life out there. Awesome book on education, which always fascinates me. Without education, it's always a darkness of illiteracy, but when knowledge is present, there is hope. Learned a lot from his journey. Great outcomes are started with passion and willingness to suffer through tribulations ahead to reach the purpose we want to serve. Recommended read!
Chevy Robinson
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Best novel I've ever read! It evoked so many emotions that I literally laughed aloud and cried silently. After reading this novel, my answer to the question, can one person change the world" has changed. Every human being should aspire to be like Jim. Thank you for giving us this amazing story. I wish there were more photos.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Walk in Their Shoes is one of the most inspirational books I have ever read. Jim Ziolkowski is an incredible role model, and his story is not only inspirational, but motivational. The importance of what he is doing is incredible, and it is so important that the word gets out with the help of this book that tells his story. This is definitely a must read!
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Walk in Their Shoes is a book about perseverance and how one person can change the world. It shows that even though there are dark times in our life, we will find the light again if we try. An uplifting story, Walk in Their Shoes is a great book for everyone, especially people who want to achieve something but don't know how to get there.
Michelle Tringali
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Inspiring story of a young man's life and faith that left my heart feeling full of hope. I am a 911 Dispatcher and all to often deal with peoples bad and ugly moments. It is beacuse of my career that this story gives me hope that yes 1 person does make a difference. Thank you for sharing your this piece of your life with us!
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A true story of an amazing man who gave up his corporate job to start an organization which builds schools in the developing world as well as created programs in inner city schools to get kids to do service work. Some of those kids went overseas to help build the schools. He also has a child with serious health issues. He said it is his faith which keeps him going.
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Jim Ziolkowski is the Founder, President and CEO of buildOn, a non-profit organization that builds schools in developing countries while also running community-service programs for high school students in America. At home or abroad, Jim’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Inspired by his own travels to some of the most impoverishe ...more

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“Each of us has the power to take action, to light a fire and be the ignition for others.” 3 likes
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