Creating Room to Read – the new book by John Wood

John Wood In 1999, at the age of 35, John Wood left a lucrative career at Microsoft to found Room to Read, an award-winning nonprofit that promotes education, gender equality and literacy worldwide. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as the “Andrew Carnegie of the developing world,” Wood strived to bring the lessons of the corporate world to the nonprofit sector—and he succeeded spectacularly. He told the story of the start-up in his first book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

Creating Room to Read tackles the organization’s next steps—the challenges of managing expansion while maintaining integrity; of raising money in a collapsing economy; of promoting gender equality through scholarships for girls; and of changing the mission to include not just building libraries but publishing books for children who literally have no books in their native language. Thanks to Room to Read, over seven million children have now had the benefit of books and schools, and their stories are the true heart of this book.

About Room to Read

Room to Read’s programs have benefitted more than 6.5 million children so far and are on track to reach 10 million children by 2015.

Learn More

Room to Read Events

Room to Read has events happening around the world. Check here to see what might be happening in your part of the world.

Learn More

About the Author

John Wood is the Founder of Room to Read, one of the fastest-growing and award-winning charities founded during this century.

Learn More


Get Involved!

World Change Starts with Educated Children.

Learn more about Room to Read and how you can get involved!

Get Involved!


This moving account of the way the program has impacted the lives of children is only one part of Wood’s important story. The author explains how he applied lessons learned in the corporate world to running a successful nonprofit, describing Room to Read's commitment to maintaining low overhead and accountability.
Kirkus Reviews, Kirkus Reviews
A refreshing reminder of the power of libraries—their ability to transform individual lives and strengthen communities.
Melinda Gates, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
To John Wood, founder of Room to Read, books are not simply inanimate objects, they are vehicles of change, stepping stones for children out of poverty and into a brighter future. Continuing the story from his earlier work (Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, 2006), Wood explains how, in 10 short years, Room to Read became an enormously successful nonprofit, opening more than 10,000 libraries.
Eve Gaus, Booklist
John Wood is building a global movement around literacy and gender equality. Creating Room to Read offers a blueprint for transforming lives…and eventually the world.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook