|Author: William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer|
Book Review By: Anshuman Nagpal
‘The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind’ is an amazing and inspiring autobiography written by William Kamkwamba, with the help of Bryan Mealer on 29th September 2009.
The book narrates the story of a teenage boy named William Kamkwamba who constructed a windmill entirely from scraps to provide electricity and water for his community in Malawi. He did this during the horrible months of the famine that happened in 2002, so that, using the water, the famers in his village could plant crops, grow food, feed themselves and their families and make some money to meet their daily necessities. The book also talks about how he was forced to drop out of school, because of financial constraints his family was facing. Despite that, William Kamkwamba sneaked into the library to keep up on his studies, but when he read about Physics, his mind went entirely on building the windmill. In doing so, he took the help of his friend, Gilbert, and cousins, Geoffrey and Charity, who provided him with some money and resources so that he could turn his vision into reality. When his windmill was complete, many good things happened: reporters started to flock at his house, bloggers wrote about him on the internet, and he was even invited for a TED Talk where he was asked to speak about his windmill. “I try, and I made it” was all he could muster.
To me, William Kamkwamba’s life was a roller-coaster ride. When I look at him, I realize how fortunate I am not to have gone through conditions such as drought and experience lack of money. For me, the take away from the book is to look at the less privileged to know that we are in way better situations than the ones who have less money and resources and struggle to provide for themselves or their families. I think that this book is different from all others as it reinforces the idea that anything can be achievable when one is persistent in one’s work, moves ahead with confidence and pride. This book encourages other people to work as hard as they can to achieve their goals and targets, so that they can master success. It completely relates to a quote by Bill Gates, “If you are born poor, it’s not your mistake, but if you die poor, it’s your mistake.”, and that itself is William Kamkwamba’s story.
Indeed, a very inspiring autobiography, and so deserves 5 out 5 stars.