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“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

“An Accident of Geography could also be called An Accident of Birth. Where we are born determines so much about our chances to fulfill our potential on earth. This inspiring book describes the work being done by people who want to make sure that this accident does not turn into a punishment, even a life sentence. It is a book about innovation but above all, compassion.”

—Fareed Zakaria, author and CNN anchor


“Dick Blum is an American original. His chapter on reviving two moribund financial institutions in Asia, generating $4 billion for investors by 2010, is destined to become required reading in courses on business strategy and international management.”

—Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of The Aspen Institute, and New York Times best-selling author

“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

“An Accident of Geography abounds with life lessons, showing us Richard Blum’s fascinating and, at times, surprising journey as a leader in business and finance, education, politics both domestic and international, global economic development, religion, spirituality, and philanthropy. The book includes, close-up, some of the most significant figures of his era, from Sir Edmund Hillary to Jimmy Carter; the Dalai Lama; Bill Clinton; Barack Obama; and Blum’s wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein. His book shows how an optimistic, talented, and energetic American made himself into what Isaiah Berlin might have called both hedgehog and fox.”

—Michael Beschloss, presidential historian

“Dick Blum’s passion to make the world a better place, particularly for those born in the world’s poorest regions, is evident on every page of this important and moving book.”

—George P. Shultz, former US Secretary of State

“This timely call to action begs us to consider how we can turn privilege and good fortune into positive action to reduce poverty and suffering in a world of increasingly limited resources. Dick has made it his life’s work to share his success by fostering programs which provide education, healthcare, food, and access to clean water in needy communities around the world. The seeds he has sown will continue to grow and bear fruit for generations to come.”

—Richard Gere, actor and humanitarian

“The friendship between Dick Blum and my father, Ed Hillary, came from time shared in the Himalayas. But, unlike most expeditionaries, their focus moved from the mountains to the people who lived among them. Dick’s book is about how these people in turn became good friends. Once you have friendship and trust, it is a short climb to empowerment and from there the climb ascends the arête of innovation to the summit spur of actualization. This is the story of that climb.”

—Peter Hillary, mountaineer, philanthropist, and writer

“Dick Blum has worked for more than forty years to fight poverty, strengthen democratic institutions, and promote education. He has written a timely, engaging book about the promise and challenges of today’s global development work—and one person’s focused determination to make a difference. I urge you to read An Accident of Geography.”

—Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State

“An Accident of Geography is the well-told story of one man’s fight against global poverty. The book abounds with energy, innovative ideas, and impatience with existing governments and bureaucracies. After reading it, you will ask yourself what you have done to improve the lives of others. On this score, Blum’s record will be hard to beat.”

—Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California and former US Secretary of Homeland Security

“Deeply troubling at times, this absorbing, fast-paced personal journey is also affectionate, humorous, instructive, and, ultimately, uplifting. Dick Blum makes a compelling case that the best response to today’s urgent challenge of avoiding deadly regional conflicts is fighting poverty with compassion and disciplined management that gets results.”

—Walter F. Mondale, former Vice President of the United States

“As a successful investor, Richard demonstrated that smart strategic thinking and analysis coupled with persistent, focused leadership could build market value for companies in the United States and around the world. This same approach can transform global poverty and expand the reach of justice, especially for the world’s poorest people. An Accident of Geography is a must-read for all young people and especially those with that important inner desire to do something special for the world.”

—Rajiv Shah, distinguished fellow, Georgetown University, and former administrator of the US Agency for International Development

“Dick’s philanthropic generosity makes the world a far better place . . . and inspires me every day. An Accident of Geography gave me even more insight into Dick’s extraordinary contributions to mankind. For anyone wishing to give back to society, this book will serve as a template for how to do so effectively, and with great passion and humility.”

—Sherry Lansing, founder and CEO of The Sherry Lansing Foundation

“An adventurer–philanthropist’s lively, passionate combination of memoir, manifesto, and manual for anyone who wants to improve the world.”

—Strobe Talbott, president of the Brookings Institution

“In this thoughtful and inspiring book, Richard Blum offers his personal journey as a model for how to improve the lives of others. He shows us through example that although one person cannot defeat poverty, one person can make a profound difference.”

—Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley