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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

kamkwamba

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind has been regarded by pretty much everyone as one of the most inspirational stories in recent history. It’s currently Amazon.com’s ‘Best Book of the Month,’ and for good reason. If you don’t know about William Kamkwamba, now a TED Fellow and world famous inventor, you’re truly missing out.

Born into an impoverished, rural village in Malawi, William’s family could hardly afford to eat, let alone send him to school. As a fourteen-year-old drop out, he took it upon himself to continue his education and started reading books from a local library on wind power and physics. From pictures and diagrams alone he was able to build a windmill entirely from junk yard parts (think bicycle wheels, tree branches, and bottle tops for washers) that generated enough electricity to power a light bulb in his home, the only source of light during nighttime for miles around.

The ability to power a single light bulb may not seem like a big deal, but given William’s education and environment (building a windmill was literally considered crazy) it’s a positively tremendous accomplishment. Now in his early 20s, William is about to finish his education at African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg and continue onto college, probably in the US. With the help of journalist Bryan Mealer, William wrote a book (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) about his life up until now, and it really is as good as everyone says.

If you’re in NY, you can attend a reading/signing tomorrow night at Barnes & Noble in Tribeca, or watch him and Bryan Mealer on Good Morning America.