The Sciences

Greg Mortenson and "Three Cups of Tea"

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanApr 16, 2011 3:02 PM

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I've been a bit skeptical of the details of Greg Mortenson's story in his book Three Cups of Tea for years. It seems be to so predicated on contemporary biases about the basic universal goodness of human nature. I hoped everything was true, but it seemed too good to be true. Other people who worked in Afghan NGOs tended to tell a more gritty and gray story, so either Mortenson was embellishing, or he had a special magic touch. Since I don't believe in magic touches, I wondered as to the nature of embellishment. Now 60 Minutes has made some allegations as the veracity of Mortenson's narrative in Three Cups of Tea, and more importantly the finances and efficacy of his charity. In Mortenson's response he seems to admit embellishment in terms of the "hook" in Three Cups of Tea. But the work of his charity is much more important than the details of some book, so we'll see how that pans out. Not all investigative reports exhibit proper context, so I don't necessarily assume that CBS News is giving the most accurate accounting.

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