Book review: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

At near random I picked this book from the shelf, and I'm glad I did so. I had been quickly browsing the Technology section at the library, the 600 category in Dewey Decimal, and spied a yellowish orange book in the middle of the white and blue covers on most of the nearby books. It was probably the same kind of hurried situation that William Kamkwamba was in when he found the book Using Energy. A quick look through it told me about William, who had built his own windmill from scrap to provide power for electricity and water pumps for his home and village. The biographical lead up to the construction takes more than the first half of the book but it sets the scene for the achievement well. Anyone who tinkers or spent their childhood taking apart things will deeply appreciate how William brought himself out of the scared and superstitious world that his community lived in and through trials and experiments learned the basics of science and innovation, proving his "madness" was nothing of the sort. He's so "crazy" he's been asked to speak at TEDGlobal twice and many other international conferences and forums. This biography is well worth the time to read to get a real African's perspective on how simple technology can change lifestyles and conditions and how ignorant superstitions impede the flow of knowledge.

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