Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - The Blue Sweater

Inspiration is one of the main reasons I read. To my delight, Jacqueline Novogratz, the CEO of Acumen Fund, a nonprofit venture capital fund dedicated to eradicating poverty through strategic entrepreneurial investments in the developing world, wrote a book from her heart that is uplifting for anyone who ever had a dream and went after it. The Blue Sweater is a story of encouragement, faith, and determination for people who want to live a purposeful, fulfilling life. In other words, this book is for everyone. And you must read it. 

Jacqueline takes us on a journey from her life as a young college graduate working for Chase Manhattan into Africa where she worked in microfinance back to the US where she attended Stanford Business School and then through her career post-MBA up through her founding of Acumen Fund. Articulate, powerful, and deeply moving, Jacqueline's prose are so fluid it's as if a friend sat me down to tell me her life story. Every page took me further and further down the road of adventure. I couldn't put it down and read it from beginning to end in one weekend. 

With a vivid writing style, Jacqueline introduces each character so clearly that you feel they're in the room with you and you feel compelled to help them in the way that you'd help a friend or family member. I wanted so much to see each character succeed. As their pride welled, so did mine. As they smiled and grew more confident, so did I. And when things didn't go well for the characters, I felt their heartbreak, too. I wanted them to keep going and I wanted to go with them. 

Perhaps the most incredible feature of the book is Jacqueline's humility and her ability to try and try again she made some positive progress in everything she ever attempted. Too often we are reading the stories of people and companies who are too afraid to admit mistakes or failure, who don't want to take risks or step out of their comfort zones. It was refreshing to hear the twists and turns that Jacqueline's career in social enterprise has taken. She owns every success and every failure with grace and dignity. And the many entrepreneurs she has helped throughout her career are all better off for her tenacity and ambition.  

Warning: there is a high probability that this book will motivate you to make a difference today. Be ready.   


runner52 said...

Sounds interesting. maybe I'll read it and get back to you. I had the chance to work for the Red Cross last night, canteening at a fire...involvement i high on my list

Christa said...

Hi runner52 - The Blue Sweater is an amazing book! I highly recommend it. Jacqueline's story is extremely inspiring and motivating. It's also incredibly well-written.