The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into How the World’s Poorest People Are Educating Themselves

The Beautiful TreeWhile researching private schools in India for the World Bank, and worrying that he was doing little to help the poor, James Tooley wandered into the slums of Hyderabad’s Old City. Shocked to find it overflowing with small, parent-funded schools, he set out to discover if they could help achieve universal education. So began the adventure lyrically told in The Beautiful Tree—the story of Tooley’s travels from the largest shanty town in Africa to the mountains of Gansu, China, and of the children, parents, teachers and entrepreneurs who taught him that the poor are not waiting for educational handouts. They are building their own schools and learning to save themselves.
Named after Mahatma Gandhi’s phrase for the schools of pre-colonial India, The Beautiful Tree is not another book lamenting what has gone wrong in the Third World. It is a book about what is going right, and it offers a simple lesson: both the entrepreneurial spirit and the love of parents for their children can be found in every corner of the globe.
“A moving account of how parents struggle against great odds to provide a rich educational experience for their children.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“A masterpiece. When I talk to students I show them The Beautiful Tree and say that if they want to change the world for the better, this book should be their model.” – John Blundell, writing in The Claremont Review of Books