I read THE BLUE SWEATER: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR IN AN INTERCONNECTED WORLD by Jacqueline Novogratz a while ago. I just haven't had time to share it. I first heard about this book on Seth Godin's blog and was happy to receive a copy after filling out the form requesting one. I feel terrible that it's taken me this long to review, but I wanted to give this book the time and energy that it deserves. And I figure it is summer, so many of us have a bit more time to read.
THE BLUE SWEATER is a great story about so many things. Jacqueline Novogratz is one of those people I would love to meet. Someone who is spending her life making a difference in the world. Someone who has a vision of what could be. She is founder of the Acumen Fund which I didn't really know about until I read this book. She is someone who wants to make a difference but also someone who understands banking and financing. She believes in people and believes that in empowering them in authentic ways. Her organization supports entrepreneurs in developing countries and THE BLUE SWEATER chronicles much of her work. In the book, we meet many people--people from all over the world who are committed to the things that Novogratz is committed to. We also meet the people who are the entrepreneurs and hear many amazing stories.
For me, this book was one about people and relationships. Jaqueline Novogratz is not successful because of her banking background. Although that piece is important to her work, what struck me was her undying belief in people and the ways in which she build real relationships with people. That seemed key to me.
I love stories about people who are doing things that matter to them. People who use their passions to make a difference in the world. This is one of those stories.
Since reading THE BLUE SWEATER, I've followed some of the work of Acumen and continue to be impressed and excited about their work. As a teacher, one of the video clips that really struck me was the one called "Kids Put the Fun in Acumen Fund". On Take Your Daughter/Son to Work Day in 2009, Acumen hosted a great day for kids where they were active in learning so much that is part of the organization. The way that the organization ran this day for children is another indication to me that the work has a vision.
Now that I have read the book and discovered the work of Novogratz, I have learned so much from her. I keep up with some of the work on the Acumen Fund blog, follow Novagratz on Twitter, and have read more of her work. I was also thrilled to see her TED TALK from 2006. And then again in one from 2007. An amazing person who is committed to an important cause. This story is an amazing one no matter what your cause. It is the story of how connected we all are and what a difference we can make when we believe in people. Put this one on the top of your stack. It is a great story that is an important one to know and one that will stay with you for a very long time. So much packed into one book.