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Book Review: John Wood’s Leaving Microsoft To Change The World

Very candidly written, John Wood’s Leaving Microsoft To Change The World is a fast-moving, inspirational book about a major career change.  Wood left Microsoft as Director of Business Development in China and established the non-profit Room To Read.  Accolades aside (and Wood deservingly has received many), he left behind a secure and prestigious job, a high salary, and a serious relationship to accomodate his radical transformation.  There are numerous coaching lessons in Wood’s story:

Dreams require hard work.  Wood logs hundreds of thousands of miles and works round the clock. 

There will be tradeoffs.  The anecdote about Wood checking out the open house in San Francisco and realizing he will be a renter his whole life is refreshingly honest and funny.  His reaction upon seeing the listing description:  There. Is. No. Way.

Being true to yourself is the ultimate payoff.  At first, Wood has to practice talking about himself.  He is very candid about having a hard time answering the What Do You Do question the first few times around.  But he also talks with genuine excitement and passion about everything he does, and he acknowledges (and you can feel it as you read it) that he has realized his true self. 

There are many aspiring career changers out there.  While most will not make as radical a transformation, there is insight and inspiration to be gained by going along with Wood on his journey.

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