Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sometimes the World Comes to Me

Last night I went over to Powerhouse Books in DUMBO (that's a part of Brooklyn) to see Bob Harris speak about his new book, The International Bank of Bob.

I haven't read the book yet—mostly because I just bought it last night and I've only been awake four hours this morning so far. I'll probably buy a Kindle copy too. I wanted the physical book, but have to admit most of my reading is done on a device these days. It's just easier to carry.

In Bob's new book, he goes around the world and visits recipients of microfinance loans, to see for himself what a loan of a few hundred dollars can do to transform the life of a stranger. He visits India, Rwanda, Morocco, Philippines, Kenya, Peru, Cambodia, Nepal...and lots of other places. I would have been jealous had I not been going around the world myself for much of the time he was researching this book—had I not been sitting on the steps of a closed post office on a remote Pacific island using postal wi-fi when Bob was working on his notes for this, and had just e-mailed me for an estimate of how many countries I'd visited.

Bob puts faces and real stories to the concept of small individualized loans and shows how they are really transforming lives of people. I'm a big fan of this type of development—it's my second favorite type of assistance. My first favorite is just going around the world and patronizing local businesses. Obviously, that's not for everyone. Most people have jobs and stuff.

I was delighted when Bob mentioned how we know each other during his talk. He was thinking of writing a book called Stalking the Wild Pudu. Well, that would have worked if he'd done it a few years earlier. But I'd beat him to it with Dik-Dik. I feel a little bad about that, because he's super-smart and not an ass about being super-smart—he's totally humble and a little sheepish about being a talented brainiac—and I would have enjoyed reading his travel narrative.

But what's odder and somehow more perfect for this is that I was sitting next to a guy named Scott who I'd last seen in Zambia in 2011. And earlier in the day, I'd met up with my pal Sean Howe who I've only met a few times before, and yesterday, I visited with Ed Ward, Mike, and Brian at an annual dinner we have when Ed comes to town. I've seen more people I don't usually see this week than I did all of last year. I might need a nap.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Wow, it must be homecoming week.

Congrats on being mentioned by the writer. Let me know how you like the book.