Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World By Scott Harrison


An inspiring personal story of redemption, second chances, and the transformative power within us all, from the founder and CEO of the nonprofit charity: water.

At 28 years old, Scott Harrison had it all. A top nightclub promoter in New York City, his life was an endless cycle of drugs, booze, models--repeat. But 10 years in, desperately unhappy and morally bankrupt, he asked himself, What would the exact opposite of my life look like? Walking away from everything, Harrison spent the next 16 months on a hospital ship in West Africa and discovered his true calling. In 2006, with no money and less than no experience, Harrison founded charity: water. Today, his organization has raised over $300 million to bring clean drinking water to more than 8.2 million people around the globe.

In Thirst, Harrison recounts the twists and turns that built charity: water into one of the most trusted and admired nonprofits in the world. Renowned for its 100% donation model, bold storytelling, imaginative branding, and radical commitment to transparency, charity: water has disrupted how social entrepreneurs work while inspiring millions of people to join its mission of bringing clean water to everyone on the planet within our lifetime.

In the tradition of such bestselling books as Shoe Dog and Mountains Beyond Mountains, Thirst is a riveting account of how to build a better charity, a better business, a better life--and a gritty tale that proves it's never too late to make a change.

100% of the author's net proceeds from Thirst will go to fund charity: water projects around the world.
Thirst: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World

This is my #1 for the year. 336 This is an autobiography of Scott Harrison. I didn't know who he was before reading this. And to be honest I didn't like him at all in the beginning. Maybe he played up that part of his life to make the latter part of his life more appealing. I don't know and it doesn't really matter....but it worked. He has done much good in life and he has raised millions upon millions of dollars for his charity, that digs wells in Africa bringing clean water to those who need it. So 4 stars. 336 Fairly well written for someone who's not really a writer, and just an amazing and inspiring story. I own a hardcover if anyone wants to borrow it. 336 I'll admit, I was skeptical about this book, particularly at the beginning when the author discusses his return to faith (flashbacks to my conservative Christian college - shudder!). But while the author makes mention of his faith and gives credit to his beliefs, he does not seek to convert people through the book. Rather he discusses his own journey in identifying a worldwide problem and using his own personal talents to try to solve the problem. He didn't always succeed, but he has made an incredible impact on many people's lives, especially in Africa. I didn't detect white savior complex either; just someone doing what he can. I was moved enough to become a monthly donor. Definitely worth reading! 4 stars 336 I like charity: water, its mission and the work that it does, but I do not like Scott. I would have liked to hear more about how charity: water operates and the book paints it as a mostly Scott and Vik show. I expected more insights about what goes in to a successful, global non-profit. 336

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i was really cynical about reading this book, because when you work for a non-profit, charity: water is the ideal. what i loved is scott harrison’s no-holding-back look at his failures and successes over 20 years. this book was refreshing, helped me learn more about the global water crisis, gave me some great perspective about why few non-profits will be charity: water (and why that is good + okay!), encouraged me to keep sharing incredible stories, photos, and experiences with donors, and gave me ideas for how to grow as a leader. this should be required reading if you work for a charity or non-profit, particularly if your non-profit and charity is involved in international development work. 336 I have really wrestled with my feelings about this book and how to deal with my issues. I considered just leaving some stars and be done with it. I don't think that is fair to any of the parties involved, not to the writer, the publisher or those who will consider purchasing the book. Thus, I will break it down to good and bad. I have returned 15 hours later to remove stars from this conversation so we can focus on essential matters. We are not children waiting to see if the teacher put a star on our coloring.

First let me establish my own credentials. I graduated from Florida State University with a Business Degree in Non-Profit Management, it was the first class in the Business School for Undergraduate work in the country at that time in 1986. Due to the low salaries, interest was insufficient for the college to continue offering this program (so I was 1 in 3). I have work experience with 3 different non-profits and volunteered my time with several more. I earned a full ride to all four years of college based on my academic achievements. Likewise, I was in the top 2% of my High School class. Few people know this about me, I am not one to brag, I am explaining my background as being no stranger to the business world. My career has always involved managing people, programs, marketing, communications and finances. Thus I had certain expectations when reading this book.

First the good, Scott Harrison is the ultimate pitch man. He believes he can change the world and is convinced no matter what your background, age or income, you can help. He states that all funds collected for charity:water (is how it was displayed in the Advanced Reading Copy); is supported 100% by donation only, to dig wells and they have dug many across the African Continent and changed many lives for the better. He does mention that there is a separate fund for contributions to offset rent, office supplies, salaries, mailing invitations, processing credit cards, and other necessities (high end parties targeting the wealthy for donations), - not that other charities don't do the same thing). He went from being a marketing/promoter for Night Clubs and rubbing elbows from movie stars, and dating top models to the bringing in the big boys to spend their cash on high prized booze while they gazed on the celebrities. He was using various drugs daily seemed to have everything. Then he hit his bottom and left that world to join Mercy Ships, which old ships converted into traveling hospitals that do surgery all over the African continent. After being there for nearly two years, handling their promotions and marketing, he realized that he wanted to go to the source of the many health problems he saw. Scott believed by providing wells for better health among the various African nations where war and other issues resulted in little governmental infrastructure to provide their peoples with healthy water. Many times, he witnessed adults and children drink water that was dark brown or green because the river or pond they had access to was not safe. It is an amazing story. I commend Scott for his dedication, his inspiration and his creativity.

Now the less appealing appraisal, it is hard to give a rating/review/appraisal on someone's life, since the format is autobiographical. Reading this book for me was like watching hours of late night local infomercials. I felt like I was reading 336 pages of a pep rally. The minutia that is explored made my brain numb. This book could be more influential if it was cut by at least 100 pages. Additionally, I read some names of people and know their affiliations and I was deeply disturbed that this Christian man was working with this caliber of person and in one instance, he played it off as if it was no big deal. As a Christian (which is what Scott claims to be, the scripture is clear that we don't affiliate with people, who are not in agreement with the scriptures). I am not saying don't go to lunch with someone because they have different beliefs, I am talking about being in a working relationship. This may not concern most readers but I deeply disturbs me. The fact he played it off, demonstrates that he knows better as well. Since this is not the final copy, I am not permitted to quote anything. I suspect if the book isn't finalized, my mention of this may prompt the removal of that story.

**I went to the website and I wasn't impressed, now, I didn't get far because I didn't want to provide my full name and email and permit cookies to be used! I am not looking at porn or some get rich quick scheme, I want to see what you do in the field. THIS IS A BIG RED FLAG FOR ME! As far as I am concerned, I don't want to be stalked by you just because I went to your website to see if it is as fantastic as you claim, thanks but how do I know you won't sell my information then I spend 15 minutes a day for months sending all your other charity buddies my data so they can ask for money as well.**

Furthermore, I read Mountains Beyond Mountains and I don't think it is a fair comparison. Yes, both are selfless and yes, their work is discussed but in Mountains Beyond Mountains, there wasn't a plea for money at least not in every paragraph! I think it might have come at the end but if there was it was subtle such as if you want to help, here is the address type solicitation.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this story made into a documentary and being shown at movie theaters in large communities with high, middle class income brackets (and many opportunities for donations). It is probably in the works at this moment. I would consider going but only after others commented on it's content because frankly, I wouldn't buy a theater ticket to watch 90 minutes of what I just read.

Most of the reader's didn't write a review currently (19 wrote nothing and 2 people left very brief and fluffy comments). Those 19 people didn't want to say what I will. The synopsis of this book is all you really need to know. If you buy the book so that you make a donation, more power to you at least they won't stick browser cookies into your book!

Thank you to Goodreads, Currency publishers and author Scott Harrison an opportunity to read this book in return for my honest opinion.

Edited September 2, 2018 for clarity. 336 This book is not just about a charity, it's about so much more.

Of all the books I have read this year, this has been my favorite by far. This intersects many fields of interest, so I believe that even if you aren't sure you want to read a book about a 'charity' that you will find value in this. This is not just about charity work, but a book about building a business from the ground up, changing and disrupting an industry, the importance of marketing, working through a tough family situation involving ongoing sickness of a parent, the leaving behind of everything you know to start a new life, the transition to adulthood and journey of self discovery, balancing family life with a demanding career, and more. If any of these one topics sounds interesting to you or in alignment with your usual genre of reading, then this book is for you.

Not only is this a great personal testimony of changing the course of one's life for good, but this also gave a deep dive into just how challenging it is to create one of the world's greatest charities and bring about change on a global level. Scott overcame so much, and seeing how he solved problems, sought the Lord's wisdom in trying times, and changed the lives of millions made this book one of my favorites. 336 I was more interested in hearing stories about people getting water than Scott’s story, though much of the book revolves around him. He seems to really hype up his time as a club promoter, maybe with some regrets. He tries to get sympathy for flying in coach, or the difficulties of when a friend lets you borrow their chalet for a month and you have poor weather, but weaves those stories between people who have to walk eight hours a day for water. 336 So I didn't get this book for free, and I didn't pay for it. Got it at the public library, so here is an unbiased review. I love a good memoir, and this reads like one, albeit quite long. However, it's almost more of a memoir of charity: water than it is of its founder. I LOVE the podcast How I Built This with Guy Roz, in which he interviews founders of very successful companies and talks to them about how they built their brand. This was like reading a very extensive How I Built This interview, with the ups and downs of starting something new and keeping it going.

I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed getting to know the founder more. He gave just the right amount of detail to his early life and the lead-up to founding the charity. I think he explained the challenges in bringing clean water to places very well, and I found myself rejoicing in their successes. The whole book could be considered a 'pitch' to donate to the charity, but I never felt pushed by the author. I enjoyed the pictures of the people he was talking about, and I even went online to the special link/passcode to see more at the end. 336