A reflection on Tracy Kidder’s book Mountains Beyond Mountains.

John Stepper

If you don’t know the story of Dr. Paul Farmer, you should.

He’s saving thousands of lives while changing how the world thinks about poverty, about disease, and about what’s possible.

As we try to change how companies work, we can learn a lot from his approach.

“Mountains beyond Mountains”

Paul Farmer grew up in an unconventional, poor family in various parts of the US. Always smart, he wound up graduating from Harvard Medical School and doctoring in two of the most different places on earth – Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts and a hospital he built in Cange, Haiti.

In “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, Tracey Kidder chronicles how Paul Farmer could be in a crowded hut one day caring for a TB patient and in a posh conference hall the next day trying to change World Health Organization policy.

Besides making for fascinating reading, that contrast is instructive.

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