Book Review: A Path Appears by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn

Book Cover of a Path Appears by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl Wudunn. Features a grassy field with a sun in the background.

The first book that I finished in 2019 was a Path Appears by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. I had previously read their other book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” and loved it, so I was eager to begin this book. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed A Path Appears. It was powerful and kept me feeling inspired and engaged. The book provides a wide variety of stories and examples of ways that you can make a difference in the world, from donating to volunteering your time or using special skills to benefit organizations.

One aspect that makes the book weak is the organization. Unlike their previous book, this book lacked a clear focus. Some of the chapters were well organized, but others were not and it led to confusion. Sometimes individuals or organizations were introduced in one chapter, and brought back up five or six chapters later. The book could have been improved with some outlining and narrowing in scope.

Another issue I had with the book is that Kristoff and WuDunn often send contradictory messages. For example, they talk a great deal about donating money, but will then argue that volunteering is more important, and then later circle back to the importance of donating. They talked very positively about the impact of the organization Charity Water but then admitted that the organization has had dozens of failures and that many of the wells it has funded are no longer operational. The authors argued that too many young people are trying to start their own organizations (rather than joining existing organizations) but then highlighted a few that they were particularly fond of. It seemed like the authors were pandering to all sides and I would have preferred to see them make one argument and defend it.

The book was not without its faults, but like I said, I found it inspirational and I enjoyed the writing. I therefore rate it as 4/5 stars.


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