Summary of The Promise of a Pencil

How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change

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The Promise of a Pencil book summary
With a dream and a bit of moxie, Adam Braun brings new schools to remote places.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


Adam Braun may be one of those much-maligned millennials, but he embodies the spirit of altruism. Born with many advantages and given an Ivy League education, he left a lucrative job at a Wall Street firm to apply his talents to helping others. In 2008, still in his 20s, Braun founded Pencils of Promise, an organization that builds schools, trains teachers and awards scholarships in the world’s most destitute communities. In this absorbing autobiographical account, he shares his journey from growing up in a wealthy New York suburb to founding a nonprofit that today breaks ground for a new school every four days. getAbstract recommends Braun’s inspiring story to anyone who dreams of helping others. If you tend to write off millennials as entitled and self-absorbed, this readable lesson about good will and dedication could change your mind.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why Adam Braun started Pencils of Promise
  • How it fulfills its mission to build schools in impoverished communities
  • How to apply Braun’s lessons to live a more purpose-driven life


“Why Be Normal?”
Adam Braun’s dad expected his kids to put their best effort forward. Adam, his brother Scott and his sister Liza followed “Dad’s Rules”: “Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do if Dad were watching,” and “Choose your actions as if Dad were next to you.” Adam and his siblings...
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About the Author

Adam Braun is the founder of Pencils of Promise.

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