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An Accident of Geography 

In An Accident of Geography, author Richard C. Blum narrates his inspiring personal story and profiles the efforts of dedicated people who are fighting poverty and succeeding.

About the Book

What if you could change the world simply by using your good fortune to help those less fortunate than yourself? In An Accident of Geography, Richard Blum profiles dozens of inspiring people helping poor people improve their lives and communities. Many have adapted proven principles of ethical investors like Blum to build businesses for the long term, sharing benefits in trusted relationships among workers, customers, communities, and owners. Among them are former US President Jimmy Carter, physicians in Nepal combating sex trafficking, slave labor, and crippling childhood diseases, and young people using science, technology, and management skills to bring practical, low-cost services to people in the developing world.

Modern global development is a force for good in fighting poverty on a massive scale. Be inspired. Become a part of it. Village by village, neighborhood by neighborhood. Put your accident of geography to work for others.

The Authors


Richard C. Blum is an accomplished private-equity investor and philanthropist with deep interest in the developing world. Sherpas who guided his treks high in the Himalaya five decades ago sparked his humanitarian vision and commitment. Several hundred thousand people in more than 70 countries have benefited directly from projects, methods, experts, and young people inspired by his leadership.

Thomas C. Hayes is a principal with Finsbury, a global consulting firm in strategic communications, and a former award-winning New York Times economic correspondent. An Accident of Geography is his fourth book, collaborating on each as writer with authors in investing, management, technology, and philanthropy.


An Accident of Geography offers a rousing, uplifting, high-octane tour of an extraordinary life. Although Dick Blum has made an indelible mark in many spheres, I know him primarily as the driving force behind the amazing American Himalayan Foundation. Over the past twenty years I have witnessed Dick’s visionary leadership and irrepressible energy transform hundreds of thousands of lives in Nepal, Tibet, and India. If you’re wondering how to make the world a better place, this book will inspire you.”


Jon Krakauer, author of Into the Wild,
Into Thin Air,
and Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

“Richard Blum has been engaged in philanthropic work in Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and the Himalayan regions of India. He has generously helped many poor people find new opportunities, enabling threatened communities and cultures to thrive. An Accident of Geography is a moving account of what he and his colleagues have achieved in their efforts to promote development and happiness for all. There is much in the pages of this book to emulate and admire.”


His Holiness the Dalai Lama


Supported Organizations

The American Himalayan Foundation

Founded and chaired by Richard Blum, this humanitarian group works in Nepal and throughout the Himalaya to improve education and health, preserve Tibetan culture, and prevent girl trafficking.

The Blum Center for Developing Economies

At each of the University of California’s ten campuses, the Blum Center provides an interdisciplinary hub for students, researchers, and scholars focused on global poverty and income inequality.