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Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  3,712 ratings  ·  494 reviews
An inspiring personal story of redemption, second chances, and the transformative power within us all, from the founder and CEO of the nonprofit charity: water.

At 28 years old, Scott Harrison had it all. A top nightclub promoter in New York City, his life was an endless cycle of drugs, booze, models--repeat. But 10 years in, desperately unhappy and morally bankrupt, he as
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Currency
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Average rating 4.48  · 
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 ·  3,712 ratings  ·  494 reviews

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Kathryn in FL
I have really wrestled with my feelings about this book and how to deal with my issues. I considered just leaving some stars and be done with it. I don't think that is fair to any of the parties involved, not to the writer, the publisher or those who will consider purchasing the book. Thus, I will break it down to good and bad. I have returned 15 hours later to remove stars from this conversation so we can focus on essential matters. We are not children waiting to see if the teacher put a star o ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring and moving

Until I read this book, I have to admit that I wasn’t aware of the severity of the global water crisis that many countries are facing and their plight. But after reading this, I want to pledge something for it by spreading the awareness and contributing as much as I can.
Coming to the story of Scott, radical transformation from a night club promoter to chief of a charity organization is truly inspiring and yet another story that it’s never too late to make a change.
Cat Windmiller
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So I didn't get this book for free, and I didn't pay for it. Got it at the public library, so here is an unbiased review. I love a good memoir, and this reads like one, albeit quite long. However, it's almost more of a memoir of charity: water than it is of its founder. I LOVE the podcast "How I Built This" with Guy Roz, in which he interviews founders of very successful companies and talks to them about how they built their brand. This was like reading a very extensive How I Built This intervie ...more
Hannah Moerman
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i was really cynical about reading this book, because when you work for a non-profit, charity: water is the ideal. what i loved is scott harrison’s no-holding-back look at his failures and successes over 20 years. this book was refreshing, helped me learn more about the global water crisis, gave me some great perspective about why few non-profits will be charity: water (and why that is good + okay!), encouraged me to keep sharing incredible stories, photos, and experiences with donors, and gave ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book was okay, but I didn't love it. One thing that bothered me was that this book felt very much like a christian book. Which is totally fine, except there is no mention of this in the description, and I really would have liked to know that before I started reading it. ...more
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fairly well written for someone who's not really a writer, and just an amazing and inspiring story. I own a hardcover if anyone wants to borrow it. ...more
Carly Antor
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is not just about a charity, it's about so much more.

Of all the books I have read this year, this has been my favorite by far. This intersects many fields of interest, so I believe that even if you aren't sure you want to read a book about a 'charity' that you will find value in this. This is not just about charity work, but a book about building a business from the ground up, changing and disrupting an industry, the importance of marketing, working through a tough family situation inv
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an autobiography of Scott Harrison. I didn't know who he was before reading this. And to be honest I didn't like him at all in the beginning. Maybe he played up that part of his life to make the latter part of his life more appealing. I don't know and it doesn't really matter....but it worked. He has done much good in life and he has raised millions upon millions of dollars for his charity, that digs wells in Africa bringing clean water to those who need it. So 4 stars. ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'll admit, I was skeptical about this book, particularly at the beginning when the author discusses his return to faith (flashbacks to my conservative Christian college - shudder!). But while the author makes mention of his faith and gives credit to his beliefs, he does not seek to convert people through the book. Rather he discusses his own journey in identifying a worldwide problem and using his own personal talents to try to solve the problem. He didn't always succeed, but he has made an inc ...more
Samuel Wood
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, owned, paperback
I received an early copy from Crown via my graduate program.

Scott's story is tremendous and amazing. While reading it, there were times where I felt a presence come over me, as if something unseen resonated with what I was reading. Please buy this book when it's released in October.
Daniel Henderson
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my #1 for the year.
Brian Egge
Apr 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was more interested in hearing stories about people getting water than Scott’s story, though much of the book revolves around him. He seems to really hype up his time as a club promoter, maybe with some regrets. He tries to get sympathy for flying in coach, or the difficulties of when a friend lets you borrow their chalet for a month and you have poor weather, but weaves those stories between people who have to walk eight hours a day for water.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like charity: water, its mission and the work that it does, but I do not like Scott. I would have liked to hear more about how charity: water operates and the book paints it as a mostly Scott and Vik show. I expected more insights about what goes in to a successful, global non-profit.
Ed Chang
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing, touching story of a man on a path to reinvent himself and make a difference in the world
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
everyone should read this book. i seriously want to go out and change the world after reading this.
Michael Huang
Harrison started playing keyboard in nightclubs after high school and became a promoter. A chance event made him join the effort of hospital ships. He discovered that there is a desperate need for clean water in Africa and started to pursue well drilling there. The book is his personal account of this growth story.
Ganesh Muthupalani
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Scott Harrison, a night club promoter, was tired of living on the thrill of vices and chasing happiness from material wealth. He came to realize that serving others unconditionally was the key to living a meaningful life. With his communications degree he got himself a job on Mercy Ships, which operates hospital ships, as a journalist. Beyond just understanding the plight of people in some of the poorest nations, he learnt from experienced volunteer doctors that access to clean water alone would ...more
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
A strong 3.5 review (1/2 stars goodreads - that's all we are asking for!) - I liked it and the day after I finished it one of my children was being very crazy about needing a new toy and I took lessons learned from thirst (I just googled some of Charity Water's videos to try and teach said child that they are spoiled rotten) we then proceeded to count how many clean water opportunities are found in our house alone. This book read a little long but this was a good reminder that there are lots of ...more
Rita Viegas
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Too often we are exposed to the bright side of success only.
We hear and read about successful people, successful companies and organisations and can’t help but to build in our minds the idea of success and happiness as a rightful destination.
We imagine life as a succession of events, clearly leading us to a well deserved, long hoped for, happy success.

Unfortunately to our expectations, life is often not a straight staircase with each step taking us clearly closer to any one end goal. Even when
Cindy Luis
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very personal story by Scott Harrison of his journey from a confused, rebellious young boy whose mother had a strange illness and whose parents became zealous in their faith to a selfish, partying young man to the founder of a wonderful charity hoping to make a real difference in this world! The book is easy to read and will touch your heart and soul. Scott doesn't hide the truth of his life as a drinking, drug-using night club promoter. Instead he tells us how he used the skills and c ...more
Lindsay Hickman
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I very rarely give five stars to any book, but this one checked all the right boxes for me. If you are not familiar with charity:water and Scott Harrison’s story he spends about the first third of the book giving a great history. One learns about his childhood, his family, life events that shaped him and how he ended up being a nightclub promoter in New York. I thought this section was fascinating because I’ve heard Harrison speak before, but never in such detail. The next part of the book is ho ...more
Katie Hamilton
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
This book solidifies Harrison's seat at the table alongside Nicholas Kristof and Dr. Paul Farmer. His journey around the world and back again is rivaled only by his quest to quench the world's insatiable thirst for clean water. While Harrison discovers and cultivates his Christian faith throughout his story, his message stems not from his religious faith, but from his faith in humanity. Harrison's own story spans over a few decades with enough momemtum to last a lifetime. He exemplifies the root ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a really inspiring book and brought me close to tears (especially at the end). I enjoyed reading about Scott's upbringing and lifestyle prior to charity: water. He was very candid about his thoughts regarding the positives and negatives that he's faced since starting charity: water, which I appreciate. I could feel his passion through his words. ...more
Sean Burnham
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Extremely inspirational and at times truly unbelievable. This book is actually filled with quite a few business lessons, leadership lessons and overall life lessons that most of us probably need to hear.
Carrie Turansky
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding book! You'll be inspired when you read or listen to this memoir about the founder of Charity Water. I listened to the audio, and it was great to hear the author read his story. ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. I feel inspired and refreshed.
Thomas Van Holder
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the best stories I’ve read ever. Authentic and inspiring.
Donna LaValley
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I give this 3.5 stars: much admiration for charity:water and a bit less for the writing and the author.

There are two stories here. One is the Scott Harrison autobiography covering his life up to publication, and the second is about a phenomenal charity that he started and brought to success by using the experience, connections, talents, and abilities he has.

His childhood was normal and happy until his mother became seriously ill via carbon monoxide poisoning. Afterward, she had allergic reactio
Julie Harding
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Between 3.5 and 4 stars. I may come back and up this to 4 stars. Parts of this were tremendously moving and inspirational, while others were a bit boring. Scott Harrison's Thirst: A Story of Redemption is a worthy and inspirational tale, if a little long-winded. The incredible parts included his mother's illness, his crazy partying, his journey towards founding a leading charity with zero experience, and the unbelievable stories of individual donors AND recipients of his charity's grace. The bor ...more
Bec Pink
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting read but felt like the author (founder) was trying to sell me their charity the whole time - felt like marketing effort to get more donation. Didn't agree with a lot of the book but insightful nonetheless! ...more
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Scott Harrison is the founder and CEO of charity: water, a non-profit that has mobilized over one million donors around the world to fund over 28,000 water projects in 26 countries that will serve more than 8.2 million people. Harrison has been recognized on Fortune's 40 under 40 list, Forbes' Impact 30 list, and was ranked #10 in Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business. He is currentl ...more

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“Imagine you’re standing on an island, looking at water on all sides. You think that this little piece of real estate, which represents your capacity for love, is all there is. Then you have your first child, and a bubbling happens off in the distance and a giant new island appears. You realize that the new island was part of your heart all along, just submerged. And then you think you could never love another child like this one, but you look off to the left, and a brand-new island appears: your second child. And your heart expands even more. You’re not borrowing from or shutting down other parts to feel more love. It’s an additive process, like reclaiming land from the sea.” 3 likes
“Three nights later, at 12:30 a.m. I was sitting in bed working, and worrying about charity: water's future, when an email came in:
Hey, Scott,
The wire should have gone through today for $1M. Let me know if any issues.
Please use this in whatever way you see as most benefiting the charity.
Keep on rocking!
Michael p194”
More quotes…