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I had the privilege and honor to see Nicholas Kristof, NY Times Journalist, #1 Bestseller of “Half The Sky book & Documentary, yesterday at All Saints Church in Beverly Hills. He was there to introduce his new book, “A Path Appears“. LiveTalksLA put the event on which I learned puts on a lot of other great events coming up including some Chef Talks.

I have followed Nick on Social Media (Facebook/Twitter) since the inception of Half the Sky. What’s even more exciting is that the documentary features 6 charities, which includes the non-profit I’m most involved with “Room to Read“, with Gabrielle Union visiting the schools & students in Vietnam.

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10 Things I learned from Nicholas Kristof

1. ANYONE can make a difference and help. You don’t have to be a millionaire to donate money or help others. For example, many kids in developing countries have intestinal worms, which leads them to be sick, anemic and away from school. It takes approx. $350/year to send a child to school, while it only takes $3.50 to de-worm a child, giving them a chance to live a healthier long life. Now the child can attend school and potentially a better job in the future, helping the overall economy. It all loops around as we are ALL connected.

2. “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” is a Chinese Proverb. Nick uses another example, countries where women are not educated or allowed to work, the citizens are only flying with 1 wing. In countries where women have higher education, the economy tends to be better, i.e.: Bangladesh & Omen (women with higher education rates, better economies) than Pakistan & Yemen (lower women’s education rate, worse economies).

3. When choosing a charity, do your research. Some ideas are brilliant, but when tested their efficiency, may not be proven to be work as much as they had hoped. IE: A group that installed stoves in Indian villages so women would have less pollution to their lungs. They tested out 2 villages a year later, one with the stove, one without, and learned that it didn’t make much of a difference in their lungs; and the maintenance of stoves wasn’t sustaining itself.

4. There’s so much tragedy in the world, instead of feeling helpless, feel hopeful. “Witnessing the World’s troubles isn’t depressing but inspiring – because crises bring out the innate helpfulness in people, and side by side with the worst of humanity, you see the best.”

5. The local news is driven by ratings. We all know that. It’s unfortunate what people prefer to focus their attention and free time on. Statistics show that there’s a much higher rating when you have Democrats & Republicans in a room screaming at each other, then when you put on News around the World. The reason we haven’t heard much bout Ebola until recently is because a few Americans had contracted it while in Africa. Ebola (first outbreak was in 1976 in Sudan killing 176 people – to date, approx. 2000 people), 1 person arrives in the U.S. with Ebola & the nation is freaking out. Thousands of other diseases have existed for a long time, people are dying from it every day (how much do we know about it?). Out of sight, out of mind. There’s a major lack of World Insight for a country that has so much resources; a solemn apathy that many Americans hold for those less fortunate as us. [Reality shows about Rich Armenian girls with big butts & a Family in the South called “Honey Boo Boo” have higher ratings than the news of Children in an African Village raising money to send to American Kids in Oregon.]

6. Studies show through Brain Scans, that people get more Joy in Giving than receiving. Shows the Emotion of Happiness is as high as Sex & Fine Food (who doesn’t want more ecstasy in their lives!?). Elders who volunteer tend to live longer than those who don’t. The more we have to look forward to, and in helping others, the happier we are.

7. When wealthier people were tested their Emotions when seeing images of poor people, they lacked more empathy than middle-class or lower-class individuals. Many wealthy people tend to think that poor people deserve to be poor, since the wealthy individual was able to “work their way up, so why can’t they?”.

8. When asked about the Ice Bucket Challenge, Nick replies that he supports anything that will make an Impact & Awareness. Since we can’t rely on the Media or Journalists to cover it, we can rely on individuals through Social Media & their network of people.

9. Building Schools is more effective than dropping Bombs. The US has spent billions of dollars on military weapons, sending soldiers abroad who legally are not allowed to consume alcohol but allowed to fight & risk their lives, some innocent lives killed along the way, blah blah blah. How about educating children instead? It is estimated that the cost of 1 soldier for 1 year is the equivalent of building 20 schools in Afghanistan.

10. His wife/co-author, Sheryl WuDunn, is usually right. October 8, 2014 marked their 26th Wedding Anniversary. Yep, you’ve got it down!

 

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I really look forward in reading Nicholas Kristof’s new book A Path Appears: Transforming Lives Creating Opportunity during my visit to Laos this Monday for a Room to Read Leadership Trek. The book is about proven ways that individuals can make a difference.

 

“Hope is like a path in the countryside. Originally, there is nothing – but as people walk this way again and again, a path appears.” – Lu Xun, Chinese Essayist, 1921

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