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In 1998 John Wood was a rising executive at Microsoft . Then a trip to Nepal inspired him to set up schools and libraries in the developing world. Fuelled by the same drive that made him a top executive, Wood took his business acumen into the charity sector and created Room to Read, a stunningly effective organisation that has created a network of more than 2,000 schools and libraries throughout Asia and Africa in only six years. Leaving Microsoft to Change the World chronicles John Wood's incredible journey, his first years at Microsoft, his life-changing decision to leave, and the adventure that followed. Wood shares the methods he uses to manage Room to Read, taken from the boardroom of one of the world's most influential companies and applied successfully in a very different setting. His story is an inspirational example of how to create success on your own terms and change your world. After earning an MBA at the Kellogg School of Management, John Wood joined Microsoft in 1991. He quickly ascended to become Microsoft's director of business development in China and the surrounding regions. In 1999, he founded Room to Read, a charity that promotes literacy throughout the developing world. He lives in San Francisco.
Everyone is already painfully aware of our predicament - ecological extinctions, dwindling fossil fuel reserves and economic chaos. The solutions are less obvious, despite the many opportunities that surround us. We have never had more access to resources, knowledge and technology but this is not the problem. What we lack most is creative thinking, fuelled by collective optimism. In a pragmatic world run by careerist experts this is hardly surprising. As voters and consumers we are trained to choose and complain, but not how to envisage what we really, really want. How can we design a better world unless we revive the art of dreaming? For without dreams we are lost. Perhaps it should be the duty of all citizens to imagine alternative futures; in effect, to think more like designers. After all, designers have always been dreamers, and have often found ways to realize their dreams. Design for Micro-Utopias does not advocate a single, monolithic Utopia. Rather, it invites readers to embrace a more pluralized and mercurial version of Thomas More's famous 1516 novel of the same name. It therefore encourages the proliferation of many 'micro-utopias' rather than one 'Utopia'. This requires a less negative, critical and rational approach. Referencing a wide range of philosophical thinking from Aristotle to the present day, western and eastern spiritual ideals, and scientific, biological and systems theory, John Wood offers remedies for our excessively individualistic, mechanistic and disconnected thinking, and asks whether a metadesign approach might bring about a new mode of governance. This is a daring idea. Ultimately, he reminds us that if we believe that we will never be able to design miracles we make it more likely that this is so. The first step is to turn the 'impossible' into the 'thinkable'.
Included in this seminal work are essays on the western American daguerreotype, contemporary daguerreotypy, the American autochrome, the art of the cyanotype, European pictorialism, and American symbolism in photography. Wood's fresh use of the diaries and journals of gold field miners and his penetrating vision of the near extermination of indigenous peoples - the American holocaust - enable him to contrast between the reality and the mythology manifested in the faces of the photographed participants. His equally ingenious view of American symbolist photography and the primary myth to which most of this work refers, the Grail Quest, leads him to some striking conclusions in the context of Visions of Spirituality and Desire. His survey both of the history of the cyanotype process and of a contemporary practitioner, his dissenting opinion of the controlling influence of Alfred Stieglitz on the pictorialist movement, and his groundbreaking view of the autochrome process in America are still other important and unique contributions to the field of photographic history.