Review: The Promise of a Pencil


Recap: Adam Braun was a fresh-out-of-college, hard-partying, money-making finance guy in New York City. But there was a moment — a single moment that sparked something in him and changed his life. While traveling to India, he came across a young boy and asked him if he could have anything in the world, what would he want? The boy’s answer: “A pencil.” 

That was the moment when Adam Braun realized the significance of education. It became glaringly obvious to him how little education was offered in other parts of the world compared to where he grew up.
That moment stuck with him for years until finally he took a leap of faith, leaving his high-paying Wall Street job to pursue his own charitable organization, Pencils of Promise. Braun started the organization with just $25. Pencils of Promise has since gone on to create hundreds of schools around the world: a cost both so astronomical and yet, priceless at the same time.


Analysis: At the beginning of Braun’s memoir, it’s clear he is a teenager struggling to figure out who he is and who he wants to be. He is just drifting along until he discovers his purpose. Even when he’s discovered his true calling, he continues to stumble and fall, unsure how to put his purpose into action. Like most anyone would be, he’s scared to take the leap.

The difference between Adam Braun and so many others is that he DOES. He eventually does take the leap by creating his organization and making that his primary focus.

Braun’s book is really a coming-of-age memoir mixed with business how-to and self-help. I say self-help because each chapter of his book is named for a specific mantra that he developed based on his experiences. These mantras apply to him and the business and professional moves he made, but they also apply to anything in life. A person could read this book from a self-growth and personal development perspective or from a business and professional perspective and come away with completely different takeaways and appreciations, and ALL of them would be beneficial and life-changing.

Get The Promise of a Pencil in paperback now for $11.39.

Or on your Kindle for $12.99.

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