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Three Cups of Tea update

Three Cups of Tea

The uproar over Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, continues.

The most complete collection of articles and posts written in response to the allegations of wrongdoing raised first by CBS’ 60 Minutes and, in greater detail, by former supporter and author Jon Krakauer’s Three Cups of Deceit can be found at the blog Good Intentions are Not Enough.

I won’t try to summarize the debate at this point, but I did want to take note of a few articles that I think raise some good points about our desire for the “heroic narrative” in humanitarian causes.

I wrote about this last week, in a post asking if this would be a teachable moment, and spoke to KUOW’s Steve Scher on Weekday about the danger so common in DIY aid of even well-intended people conflating their own personal success, as a leader, with the success of the mission.

Here are some more articles along similar lines:

The New Yorker: What Greg Mortenson Got Wrong

Alex Stonehill, Common Language Project: Greg Mortenson and Leadership Narrative Lies

The Guardian: Greg Mortenson’s Flawed One-Man Mission in Pakistan

Forbes: Doing Good is Hard Work


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.