Three Cups of Tea

In: Social Issues

Joseph Nye in The Powers to Lead defines what he believes to be a leader and the skills necessary to be a leader. Greg Mortenson, the focus of Three Cups of Tea, fulfills Nye’s definition of a leader. After failing to summit K2, Mortenson stumbled upon a small Pakistani village and began a journey that would not only change his life, but the lives of thousand of children in Pakistan. While building schools in Pakistan, Mortenson has helped transform the mindset of an entire nation about the value of education. Nye says that two-thirds of Americans believe they are in “leadership crisis” (Nye pre). After the collapse of the sub-prime housing market and recent economic struggles, who can blame them? Those who are looking for a leader, however, need look no further than Greg Mortenson.
Joseph Nye defines a leader as one who “helps create and achieve shared goals” (Nye 18). A leader must act in a triangular system that involves the leader, his followers, and the context in which the situation exists (Nye 21). Mortenson works effectively as a member of the leadership triangle. He acts as the leader and his followers are the towns, villages, and refugee camps that receive the benefits of his schools, water systems, and community centers as well as his assistants and the members of the Central Asia Institute. The context in which Mortenson exercises his leadership is as equally important as the other two parts of the triangle. As Nye quotes Karl Marx as saying, “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please…but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past” (Nye 5). Mortenson takes the unique context and uses it to become a leader. At the time of Mortensen’s trip to Korphe, the educational system in Pakistan was deficient at best. Many towns and villages lacked public schools and receive little to no funding...

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