“Three Cups of Tea,” or “Three Cups of Crap?”

Hey all,

I’ll bet you guys remember, especially those of us who began attending The Ohio State University in Autumn of 2009, the book “Three Cups of Tea.” It is the story of Greg Mortenson, an avid mountaineer-turned-philanthropist who was inspired to help build schools for Middle Eastern girls after his unintentional visit to the village of Korphe, and it was required reading at The Ohio State University in 2009. Not only did OSU assign this book, but in the same year it was assigned by Capital University and others (I’m trying to procure a list as we speak), and it was publicized as being required reading for senior officers deployed to Afghanistan. (This is contested, but it does reflect an interest in the “hearts and minds” campaign idea on the part of our military.)

Anyway, long story short, 60 Minutes released an expose on April 17th about Mortenson that suggests large parts of his two books (Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools) are fabricated and that there are suspicious practices afoot in his non-profit, the Central Asia Institute.

Following are links to various pieces of evidence/viewpoints:

Exhibit A: Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way
Exhibit B: 60 Minutes’ “Greg Mortenson”, the 60 Minutes expose based on Krakauer’s book
Exhibit C: Scott Darsney Questions the Accuracy and Fairness of “Three Cups of Deceit” — A climbing friend of Mortenson comes to his defense.
Exhibit D: Greg Mortenson Speaks

Edit: Susan was kind enough to provide more grist for the mill–

Exhibit E: “Tracking Down Mortenson’s Schools in Pakistan” , as seen on the Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty website.
Exhibit F: “In Defense of Greg Mortenson” as seen on OBrag.com.
Exhibit G: “Pakistan’s Education Crisis” as seen on The Pakistan Update
Exhibit H: Central Asia Institute

So, please, partake of the above info and leave your thoughts in the comments. 😀

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6 thoughts on ““Three Cups of Tea,” or “Three Cups of Crap?”

  1. Refreshing approach! How like a good teacher to use the case study method: Here’s the context. Here’s the conflict. Here are sources of additional information or misinformation. What do YOU make of it?

    You give me the pleasure of providing more exhibits for the case file:
    >>E: “Tracking Down Mortenson’s Schools in Pakistan” 5/16 on the sites for Institue for Gilgit Baltistan Studies and for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
    >>F: “In Defense of Greg Mortenson” 5/11 on the site for OB Rag (Ocean Beach CA) with a fascinating comment thread that’s still open
    >>G: “Pakistan’s Education Crisis” 4/25 on the site Pakistan Update
    >>H: http://www.ikat.org ~ CAI’s website

    Enjoy!

    • FYI: Thanks for writing in Susan. I’d like to second your positive assessment of Shaun’s balanced approach here, but also clarify that he’s a student in this class. This is not to minimize what Shawn’s doing but, in fact, to say, he’s using good teaching methods as a student…

  2. Hey, thanks for the glittering compliments and additional information! 😀 I added your additions to the body of the post and linked them to their respective sites for ease of viewing.

    – Shawn

  3. Shawn – Excellent post! One minor correction (however many Americans make this mis-perception): Mr. Mortenson does not work in the Middle East or help “Middle Eastern Girls”, the regions he has worked in are Pakistan and Afghanistan which are in SW Asia. Keep up the good work!

  4. Thank you, Shawn. It’s an honor.

    There were a couple of good posts I couldn’t remember last night. If they come to mind, shall I add them? (BTW, one of the posts I’ve provided is interestingly iffy, in that it’s not written quite clearly enough to understand which way the author leans…)

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