My Unusual $20,000 Birthday Gift (Plus: Free Roundtrip Anywhere in the World)

(Photo: Sanctuary Photography)

34. I’m turning a glorious 34 this year, right about now.

It’s going to be a great natal year–-I can already feel it. Perhaps it will be good luck for you, too: in this post, I’m giving away a round-trip ticket anywhere in the world.

But back to that strange birthday gift…

Much to the chagrin of my momma-san, I’ve become quite difficult to buy presents for. Some friends even think I’m impossible to find presents for.

It’s not entirely true. I love handwritten letters, home-made brownies (like Fred Wilson), girlfriends dressed in next to nothing, and–-most of all-–when people do something nice for others.

In lieu of gifts this year, my birthday wish is to help the poorest kids in the world learn to read. I believe literacy, and the self-determinism it allows, is fundamental to solving the problems of this world. Want an alternative to extremist terrorist schools, to have fewer welfare states, or to prosper with better economies? Teach people to read and help themselves…

On a personal level: can you imagine never having read a book? Never being able to satisfy your intellectual curiosity? That’s unacceptable.

Since I am turning 34 this year, if you feel so inclined, please help me build a library for children through Room to Read by donating $34 (or whatever you can) to my donation page (give it a minute to load). Readers on this blog have already changed the world in real, significant ways, like this school in Vietnam that you all built!

A stand-alone library costs just $20,000 and can provide the educational foundation for multiple generations of kids. Here are two additional kickers:

– If you all help raise $20,000, I will personally foot the bill for another $20,000 library.

– I will put the names of the top 20 donors (and one person below) on dedication plaques placed on each library, 10 people per library. These are real libraries that will be finished in 2013, which you can see with your own eyes. It’s an incredible feeling you’ll never forget.

If we don’t reach $20,000, the funds will still go to Room to Read directly for building schools. If we raise more than $20,000, all extra funds will go to building more schools.

Beyond the good karma, I’ll add another incentive to act now: a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the world that Star Alliance flies, which is just about everywhere. There is no expiration date on the trip, so no rush on deciding where or when to go. Here’s how it works:

No later than 11:59pm PST this Sunday, July 31st:

– Spread the word however you can. Send people to this post or to my library page.

– Leave a comment below telling me what you did (Facebook, Twitter, e-mail blast, add to your e-mail signature, encourage employees/friends to do the same, etc.). Measurement of any type gets huge bonus points.

– Lastly, answer the following question at the top of your comment: “What does education mean to you?”

I’ll pick the top five promoters, and you’ll all vote on the winner of the round-trip. Easy peazy. This winner will also get his or her name on one of the school plaques as a top donor. Pretty sweet, right? Perhaps that’s where you’ll globetrot with your free round-trip ticket?

But the best reason of all…

Beyond the bribes, you’ll feel awesome about yourself for doing real good for little ‘uns who have so little, perhaps no future without education. Trust me.

Superman is not coming to help these kids, nor is the government–will you pause for a moment and step up for even two minutes? It would mean the world to me. I’ll share pictures and updates from first construction to opening day.

Again, here is where to go to donate $34, $1, $1,000, or whatever you can.

Thank you for reading this post. You are all rock stars, and I continue to write on this blog purely because of you.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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330 Replies to “My Unusual $20,000 Birthday Gift (Plus: Free Roundtrip Anywhere in the World)”

  1. Seriously awesome. Bravo, my friend.

    I’ll get the word out on my twitter, facebook, and email list.

    I would rather not be entered into the contest–you’ve already done a lot for me, so please leave that glorious prize for someone else–but as you know education means everything. Literacy has been my savior.

    Donating now.

    Great job.

  2. Another spectacular birthday event. Congrats. And just to clarify is it Sunday August 31 or July 31? (Cos 8/31 is a Wednesday).

  3. Awesome Tim! Happy Birthday and what a great cause to donate to. The ability to read and comprehend has been one of the biggest tools to my personal success and I know that it will make a difference for others as well.

  4. Howdy

    What does education mean to me? It means gaining the freedom to explore a far large and more interesting world than a person could have imagined. Education also allows for insight and understanding into people and cultures that are different from ones own. But it also gives a person a chance to determine their own path in life and shape the world around them to be a better and more enlightened place than how they found it.

    For my part in this I’ll be sending out the word on Facebook, Twitter, and via e-mail. Even in the age of the internet a library is an important and valuable resource for anyone seeking knowledge or entertainment.

    – Kris Busby

    1. Kris, so well said! Education is and has been the foundation of civilization on all levels. I just find it so sad that people concentrate all their efforts to help children only in Africa and the East (commendable though) whereas Europe is mostly ignored, probably because it is thought to be a well educated continent. However, that is surprisingly not true. I am thinking of a country like the Ukraine where the conditions in some of their orphanages are totally appalling! Apart from near starvation the children are put out in the streets at the age of 14 without any education whatsoever, mostly becoming part of street gangs and a world of crime just to survive. Just thought I should mention that.

      Tim, 34 is still very young. I wish you a birthday filled with inner peace.

  5. To me education means possibilities.

    I Just added this link to Facebook, Tweeted the link and Blasted my sales team with a donation pwn!

  6. Tim, this is a super idea! As a teacher (at the post-secondary level) I get many students right out of high school that struggle in a college environment due to literacy and reading comprehension problems. I am an avid reader and I could not imagine having never experienced the joy that books can bring. Education is such an important part of being successful at anything. Being able to read opens up the minds to new possibilities and enables the seeds of knowledge to grow.

    I have posted your link on my facebook page and to my twitter followers of other teachers, former students and colleagues that will hopefully feel the same way I do. Sorry I could not give more 🙁 I think what you are doing is fantastic and I hope you raise your money quickly!

  7. This is the kind of thing that makes you truly remarkable, Tim. We’ve got to keep people engaged in books. (I’m kind of sick of people not knowing proper spelling and grammar.) Books are wonderful. They can take us anywhere, and they keep our minds sharp.

    I’ll be reading about this project’s success, for sure.

  8. Hi Tim,

    As an educator, education means the world to me. Watching a child’s eyes come alive when they learn something means so much. This is a great thing you are doing. I’ve shared this on Facebook, “Liked” the blog on Facebook, and then “tweeted” it.

    Thanks for doing this, and I hope you have a great birthday.


  9. To me education means being able to improve your personal situation. Given nothing else, if all you have is an education, you have been empowered to live life to the fullest and the sky is the limit. With an education, we can all achieve our dreams!

    I have added the link to your library fundraiser onto my email signature, made it my status on Facebook, tweeted about it, and told my family about your goals and reasons behind the goal.

  10. You are undoubtedly one of the most unique people I have ever met.

    I will take you up on your offer, give a donation and spread the word via social media, email, etc. whatever creative ways I can think of – for this outstanding cause!!

    Books will transform their lives and give them a vision for their future.

    1. Update:

      What does education mean to me?

      Education in its many forms, is a vehicle that will allow anyone with a strong desire and belief in themselves to accomplish ANYTHING they set their mind to.

      Time and time again I have seen, heard, and experienced situations and people who have harnessed education and used it to achieve dreams that otherwise would not have been reachable.

      Never stop learning! Never!

      I posted links on Fb and twitter and captured images of them if you want proof, not sure how to post that here…

      Made donation and talked with husband about why I chose this organization.

      BTW, Happy Birthday!!

  11. Great move,… Happy Birthday, getting the work out by FB and mail. I imagine not being able to read like being in a country where you don’t speak a single word of the language. Reading is the basis of communication, it almost belongs to ones senses.

    All the best Tim, lets get the books out there.

  12. Education means freedom, choice, wonder, and possibility in life.

    What a great idea.

    Amazing, smart, and going in the right direction. Thank you for your incredible example. Happy 34th Birthday to you!

    I added it to my Facebook update, my twitter, and will include it in my next email to clients.


  13. Tim, Do you mean “This Sunday, July 31 instead of Aug 31?” I’m happy to post this on my FB and Twitter pages. We need literate children as much as they need trees.

  14. As an internet marketer, I have a handful of e-mail lists that all add up to about 8500 people. Between that and my friends and family on facebook, I will get the word out to about 9000 people and encourage them all to share this with their friends. For my e-mail lists I will offer a free ebook product to anyone who donates as an extra incentive.

    It’s hard for me to imagine what it would be like to not be able to read. Most of what I have learned in my life has been through self education, and without reading I would be lost. The beauty of what you’re doing here is that the trickle down effect of teaching someone to read is HUGE. What they can accomplish in their life, and how they can help others who also need it. As far as I’m concerned $20,000 is enough to help just ONE child, but know this will help many more than that is amazing.

    As another note, if I were to win the trip to anywhere in the world, I would plan to visit this library, or one similar to it, and raise funds to supply the library with computers and internet connections to help further their education.

    This has also inspired me to see if I can raise the funds to build my own library. Thanks Tim.

    1. Update: Posted both to facebook, and did my email blast. For my email blast I promised a free ebook to anyone who donated that give tips on growing their own online business (this is what my list all about). Also, on top of that I did the same thing here that Tim did: I told everyone on my list to tell me how they got the word out about this, and tell me what education means to them. Out of those I will pick one and give them a free copy of my next product (online business video course – $500 value) EARLY, when it’s not scheduled to be released until mid september.

    2. Hi Steve McBride, good Irish name. I will donate right now as I totally agree the trickle down effect is Huge. Another great Tim vision. Gary Mc

  15. Hey Tim, Just some days back I realized its time your birthday is coming soon and what will Tim have in mind this year.

    And here it is!

    I just wanted to be early to comment but will have a “grand” plan of promotion for the same.

    Will continue with my upcoming comment very shortly with some action steps taken.


    Abhinav Gulyani

    P.S. Happy birthday! And may god bless you with 10X more gratitude in the coming times ahead! Your increase in gratitude towards life in exchange helps the world around you! Enjoy the day!

  16. Tim – such a great idea, and great cause, kudos mate.

    Spreading the word on facebook, blog, twitter and G+. Books hold a special place in my heart – a crucial conduit for that timeless wisdom of the ages. The dedication in my first book read: “This, my first book is dedicated to the memory of my Mum, who taught me that knowledge holds power, and that knowledge when tempered with honesty, humility and love, becomes wisdom, true and timeless..” We didn’t always have a lot growing up, but we did have a lot of love and a lot of books!

  17. “What does education mean to me?” Great question and one that has certainly influenced my life.. that was the exact one I answered in a scholarship application essay in 2006 which won me a four-year fully paid tuition at the University of California. My answer then was “a combination of learning and doing” and thinking about it now, it still rings true.

    I might be deep deep deep in debt if it weren’t for that opportunity.

    Without reading I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today–growing my muse doing what I love designing and printing gangster-rap greeting cards, while living abroad. Literacy is an amazing skill and definitely one that should be available to all.

    Going to spread the good word every way I can. I would be honored to win the trip (currently planning an epic adventure with my great friend) but I’m here to support no matter what.

    Thanks Tim.


    Melissa Rachel Black

  18. Thank You Tim! and Happy Birthday , Education is a treasure to behold, you are a true treasure to us all.

  19. Posting on Facebook, blog, and forwarding to my parents – both teachers with upper level access to the public schools system in Ohio and its followers. Great idea – I love your emphasis on education for all..

    1. Oh, it’s also going out on the listserv for my department at school, so that’s several hundred to a thousand more people. Updates about numbers from the public school circuit as they come in.

  20. I posted and tagged you on FB (I have lots of friends/family and coworkers there)! Good luck!

    Education means the world to me as my dad worked at a factory for maybe $20,000/year for a family of 5 (we lived in a mobile home most of my life) and was laid off at least once where we had to have public assistance (very humbling). I put myself through college and I am now a pharmacist! I now have a HOUSE! WITH A FIREPLACE! I took out A LOT of loans, because believe it or not as a valedictorian from a lower class family, I did not get many scholarships. I am still paying them off, but that is OK, it was worth it! Obviously, if I could not read, this would not be possible! As much as you inspire me, Tim, I try to inspire others- making the world a better place one person at a time, whether it is verbal encouragement, recommending your book, medical advice (solicited or unsolicited!), I am a better person for it.

  21. Very nice Tim, already started with the help! For sure if everyone makes a little thing we can make it big.

    I am making a campaign with my facebook, e-mail, with my company e-mail, facebook and twitter and with my “Friend Club” page at facebook.

    Education Tim is just the basic thing for our society, for us to live in peace together. And for me who loves reading this project is catching.


    Stéfan Adam

  22. I couldn’t agree with you more Tim!!!

    I turned off the “programming” that was coming through my TV over 15yrs. ago now. Though I’m a high school drop out with a very blue collar background for most of my 50yrs., almost 20yrs ago I somehow ended up becoming very engrossed in the study and research of America’s roots and the republic form of government this nation started out under for her first 80+ yrs. I’m here to tell you that a very very VERY bad thing happened to all that and our freedoms in 1871. 95+% of Americans have NO idea.

    How do I know what I know….R E A D I N G!! and lots of it.

    I never would have anywhere near the understanding of where we are at today as a nation, had it not been for 1000’s of hours of reading and study.

    This “high school drop out” can now honestly say that I’ve read nearly all of Americas founding documents start to finish. Some numerous times. I’ve read numerous landmark supreme court cases, bills, acts, legislation, executive orders etc. etc. The degree of understanding I now have about the current political / economic environment of my county and the world for that matter, simply as a result of knowing how to read, is truly amazing to me.

    Then one day about 3yrs ago I found a copy of “The 4 Hour Work Week” and thought to myself….if he can do it, I can do it. Well…I almost wound up literally homeless in the process of trying to make it through this learning curve, but I think I’m going to be OK. I’m at least generating 100% of my income online, and actually paying all my bills for the first time in over a year. So, I won’t be able to contribute any money right now Tim, but if there is ANYTHING else that I can do to support you’re most awesome, admirable, and highly respectable idea, I’d be honored to be involved….even a little.

    Happy Birthday Tim…you’re amazing to me and one of my greatest living mentors!!!

  23. To me, education means freedom.

    And that came, mostly, from reading (although I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to attend great schools and to acquire a degree or two along the way).

    Reading, though, was at the core of it all: I grew up in a library (literally, my mum worked as a librarian when I was a kid) and I have been an avid reader ever since. I believe the ability to read from an early age is crucial to an inner sense of freedom and empowerment—and to upward social mobility (it definitely has been for me, as I hail from a so-called “developing” country).

    It’s a great initiative, Tim, and I hope you keep up the good work!

    Here’s what I’ve done so far:

    * Tweeted to my 280+ faithful followers:

    It takes $20,000 to build a library. Donate to Room to Read to help build one now: #Reading = freedom!

    * Posted a question on my Facebook feed:

    “What does reading mean to you?” with a link to the donation page

    * Messaged my librarian friend, explaining the project to her and asking her to forward the message to her colleagues. She’s one of the most social-media-savvy librarians I know, so I expect that to make quite an impact. 😉

    * Added a donation link to our Shopify store (we’ve been featured in today’s Shopify New Store Fridays blog post, so we expect a spike in traffic 🙂

    * And much more to come!

  24. Education is the means through which I have been able to express thought, think logically, and most importantly, pique my curiosity. Learning to read at a young age, I was able to escape to other worlds, take on new identities through the characters, and unlock my imagination. Imagination is the soul of progression in, well, anything. Education, mainly the ability to read, cultivates the imagination, and causes it to grow and go in wildly different directions (I commonly call light bulb moments “Mind Grenades”). So, unlocking the imagination is what I find is the true value in education.

    I reposted on your page on facebook (I referred to you as my “buddy”. Hope you don’t mind 😉

  25. Hey I posted on FB and shared on twitter (as usual). I just wanted to wish you a very very happy birthday! I have something for you when I see you next month, which ironically, fits into the birthday present criteria you mention above 🙂 Cheers!

  26. Tears in my eyes for yah. You probably won’t read this, but I’m starting now. I’m friends with your old Princeton mate, Dan Newman, you’re inspiring.

    Till later, I hope we’re friends to come.

  27. Happy Birthday Tim! I will promote this over the weekend. As much as the trip sounds nice, it’s really more about just helping people. One question you asked that bothered me was “what if you never read a book?” Education is critical, and by education, I mean learning skills and information that can help you live life and make informed decisions–not pass state-sponsored exams. I’ll revisit your blog later this weekend!

  28. donated a initial amount… hope it helps! great cause! donated last year to a school in rwanda and visit them. there’s nothing better than help kids to read their first book ever!

    i’ll spread the word and post it via my twitter-page & facebook.

    oh btw: happy birthday! 🙂 hope you enjoy YOUR day – i am sure you will. 😉

    all the best from germany.

  29. Happy Birthday Tim! Great idea and way to help out! Enjoy your day, week, and birthday month!


  30. Education, to me, is the process of developing lenses through which to process & understand, and thus thrive in the world around us. When we learn something, we’re provided with reference or view points on the topic that we can further inquire on or use for better decision making.

    Literacy is also such a wonderful way to benefit from centuries of previous thought and trial and error. The ability to read, write, and communicate ideas and concepts is by and large one of, if not the greatest conceptions of mankind. Without it, what would be possible?

    And happy birthday, Tim. More than happy to donate to see this happen.

  31. Tim,

    I will contribute when i get home from another interesting day.

    You are a true inspiration and I will continue to better everyone around me.

    I have about $2230 in gold, saved and accumulated for 3yrs (1.5oz)

    You can sell the gold or use it for a small custom finish in the library?

    or gold plate a book or sumn lol its far-fetched but $2300ish market value.

    Please let me know and ill spend the rest of my adword capital to spread the word.

  32. tweeted it and posted it on my wall. Will spread it again. Happy Birthday. FYI lost 30 on slow carb since Passover and looking at another 30 before October…


  33. What does education mean to you?

    I wrote a blog post long time back which started because of a conversation I had with few of my friends. Anyways, here it is:

    Everybody feels strongly about education, since it affects us all so much, me doubly so because of my background. I left school at 17 and am largely self taught. What was key for me, was that I’d found my passion – marketing & running businesses. If you love a subject, then it’s easy to teach yourself. I just feel that the priorities in the education system are really misaligned with what’s really important. In reality, the vast majority of what you’re taught at school will be forgotten, especially if you have no interest in it. As it stands at the moment, if you correctly jump through all the hoops presented to you, you’ll end up a university professor. In other words the system is geared towards a definition of success that applies to a tiny minority. There should be more scope for flexibility and less hoop jumping.

    I created my own self-education plan based on many contributors and combining world’s best people to teach me the topics I wanted to learn.

    So, I followed a curriculum set by a guy named Josh Kaufman who made a curriculum of several books which were equivalent as a MBA Degree ( I went through all the books he suggested and gained my business and marketing knowledge. This knowledge helped me to become a better business person and earn a successful full-time living.

    I then with my hunger for more knowledge took my knowledge to the next level by going through coaching from world’s one of the most brilliant marketers on the planet like Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, John Carlton, Ted Nicholas who are pioneer in there area of expertise.

    And following which to know more about online marketing I went with coaching from the best in the field like John Reese, Andy Jenkins, Trey Smith, Frank Kern, Russell Brunson, and alike.

    It was as if I can decide my own subjects, my own timing, and I have a huge library which I can enter each day and select my education along.

    The crux of the problem though, is that the vast majority of people get to university and don’t have a clue what they want to do – or indeed, what they like and dislike. There are no more hoops to jump through, and they panic – taking the first available career at hand. One that may be finically sensible but could leave them with a job they despise for the next thirty years. They settle, and get stuck. My message to them is that as you spend about 80% of your life working, life is too short for a job you don’t love. Don’t settle, keep searching, keep hungry.

    As for the education system, well I feel that it should be designed to expose students to as many areas as possible, so they get a good indication of what they like and dislike. The system has a victorian factory feel, which needs to be changed. There are bells between shifts, and batches of students – it all feels so antiquated. The stigma attached with not attending higher education should also be removed. Universities aren’t for everyone and you won’t make society ‘fairer’ by sending everyone there – you’ll just get crap degrees.

    If you’re interested, I highly recommend Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talks, who articulates the problem far better than I could.

    1. Abhinav

      Just went to your website. Thanks for the link to Eric Thomas’s youtube video. I like his quote

      ” You’ll be successful when you want it as badly as you want air to breathe”



  34. Hey Tim

    Happy Birthday and best wishes for your next year. Teaching kids to read is an awsome an powerful goal to do. I;ll be posting this on my facebook page.



  35. Tim, what an awesome birthday gift! i am sharing this post throughout the online Network Marketing community to show everyone what the total UPSIDE of our industry is. I look forward to giving you the stats, having people click it through a shortcode as much as possible, but regardless, its the kids that WIN. Room to Read is an organization that gives me goosebumps, thanks for this and all the great work you do with them.

    HB, Tim!

  36. Hey Tim!

    First of all…Happy Birthday! Great idea and project you are doing here.

    Education for me is the first step to personal freedom. With education and knowledge you are able to make up your own mind and have a chance to free yourself from suppressing manipulation.

    Spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter and in person…

    Wish you all the best from Vienna, Austria

    Bernhard (;o)

  37. I posted to my facebook page 🙂 That’s really the only thing i have any friends on..

    Have a wonderful birthday ^^

  38. Kudos to you Tim and Happy Birthday! I’ll be sure to forward along the link to my friends as well as donate myself. Education, to me means the training of how to ask questions and subsequently how to find answers. Cheers, Jeffree

  39. Tim,

    First, happy birthday man! May you live long, grow wiser, and prosper.

    I too also believe in giving back, education is not the whole solution, but as a pre-requisite to the pursuit of wisdom is a must. I will contribute, and tweet about this. May even do a full blog post.

    For now, Feliz Cumpleaños amigo del Tango, Dios me lo bendiga.

    Joseph Hurtado


    From Toronto, Canada

  40. Education to me? Well, I will put that into 2 categories. For the first, I will define it in terms of how any federal or state level should define it: Any way in which parents/guardians care to teach their children: any subject matter, in any form, for any duration of time. For our own family, we are homeschoolers. I have 4 children: 8, 6, 4, 2. In our family, the goal of education is never about money (besides having ability to meet crucial needs). Education is all about learning to love to learn. Build on your strengths and go as far as you like. Teaching the ability to self-teach and self-motivate. Teaching them to teach themselves. In a very basic sense, the subject matter includes reading, writing, math and character building. They lead themselves beautifully after laying firm foundations. So excited for a chance to win a vacation! My 34th birthday is tomorrow. That would truly be a wonderful gift. I have shared this page with my 300+ friends here on fb. Cheers!

  41. Congrats man.. All men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine. –Socrates

  42. I spread the word through all of my email contacts (many teachers) and students.

    What does education mean to me…I am a science teacher so it means many things. In the negative sense…it is me being required to dump lots of specifically chosen (by others) facts into the heads of teenagers. More creatively, it involves me making -them- think of ways to absorb, process and reteach whatever concept we are covering. I have tried to convey to my students that what we are doing on a given day might not be right/wrong or matter in the grand scheme of things. However, the thinking and processing skills that they are practicing will help them to reason through all of life’s lessons. In a nut shell: True learning = divergent thinking. Not many things in life have a black/white answer.

  43. Tim,

    Happy Birthday man! Un amigo de la vida y del tango te saluda y agradece tu gran corazón.

    Don’t count the years, count the blessings, the lessons learned, and be grateful. In the road to wisdom you are well ahead, one thing you lack find faith, search for truth.

    I am also a big believer in the power of empowering people through Education, for it allows people to pursue knowledge, knowledge opens the door to wisdom, and wisdom leads us to happiness.

    Salud y muchos años más!

    Joseph Hurtado


    From beautiful Toronto, Canada

  44. “Education to me means having access to every tool, utility, and experience the human mind has developed and dealt with thus far. A strong education is the foundation for eliminating hunger and poverty, and of vanquishing fear and bigotry. Education is freedom from those who cherish ignorance and the bricks of the road to self-empowerment.

    “That is why I’m happy to donate to Tim Ferriss’ Room to Read cause (link below) as there is no better start in providing an education to children then with a trip to the library. Click the link, read through the cause’s aims and choose for yourself. As a parent, I am thrilled to have access to a good public library for my son. Imagine if all the children of the world had that same access to information. The synergistic effect could be staggering.

    “Oh, and Tim has a little competition going on with this–a round-trip ticket to almost anywhere in the world! So, if you’re not feeling altruistic, indulge in some greedy hopefulness. Either way, you’ll be doing good work.”

    And that’s the education by-line I put on my Facebook page. 34 buckaroos in the pen, Happy Birthday, Tim!

  45. your education is the foundation of how big, complex, multidimensional your inner world will be, your map of reality. Throught that map will you expeience what we call the real world. The more advanced it is the more significant your experiences will be. And after all your experiences are the only thing that is truly yours.

    So ==> To me, education means giving a sparkle, the initial push to someone’s intellect to ignite the inner urge to understand, thus exerience more.

    (hope this didnt sound too “wooh-wooh”)

    I put the link to this page on facebook, g+, and in my email sig.

    (That’s all I have at the moment. Not an extreme ammount of people but have few influencers among them)

    Donated as well.

    And of course, Tim, Happy Birthday!

    Play this song, this remix is awesomingness:

  46. Tim, $50 donated and I only put it up on my facebook due to the fact it’s the only one I have audience on.

    Literacy is a special thing. It truly helps the world go round. From fostering the dreams in children, to helping adults assemble items from Ikea, to helping expand the minds of the curious, literacy is there. while literacy is only part of the equation to success, I would argue it’s one of the most important.

    Lets not forget the most important reason for literacy….to be able to enjoy Tim’s writings……jk…….sort of.

    Bravo Tim, and happy 34th. One day, I’d love to spend some time with you just to see how the frick you accomplish so much.

  47. Education presents opportunity. It provides the basic tools for a person to control their own future. True education doesn’t teach one what to think, it inspires them to want to think.

    Tim has been a source for my own personal education and challenges me to look at the world in a different way. He has my buy-in and I’m glad to do my part tweeting, facebook-ing, and plus-ing for a great cause.

    I’ll do my best here:

  48. Education is not just learned in a formal setting. Education to me is expanding the mind.

    Tim as you know all to well traveling to other parts of the World is one of the best educational tools out there. It’s amazing how you A) learn about yourself, B) become inspired to learn about other cultures, C) become more open minded in general, which creates more education for yourself, and D) makes you an overall better person.

    I can’t believe how much my life has changed because I’ve been so fortunate to travel to different parts of the world. I can’t wait to get back out there but launching my own business how forced me to focus. Thanks for the inspiration from the 4HWW and now 4HB!

    Keep up the GREAT work!! You ARE truly making the World a better place.


  49. Education allows you to break through boundaries of class, race, family history, and of self doubt and lack of confidence; to really believe you can do whatever you dream to be.

    I’ve posted a link to this to my 3,000+ Twitter followers and hundreds of Facebook friends. Will be repeating through the weekend.

    Happy Birthday Tim. What a great way to celebrate!

  50. Hey Tim,

    Just chipped in for you. Great bday wish! And a great organization… Room to Read is doing a lot of work out near us in Zambia. We have 5 schools where we’re piloting a sustainable e-learning model next year. Feel free to come visit if you’re ever in the area!

    Happy bday,


  51. Happy birthday Tim! Wow just seems like last week when you had your last birthday and got people to donate to Will definitely send this out to Facebook. Will send it out through my tribes on and reach of 157,000+ followers.

  52. Hi Tim,

    Thanks heaps for the opportunity to help out with this. As a future teacher, I have an irrational emotional attachment to books (and tea!). They’re everything to me. So I’m very glad to put the word out there, and hopefully we’ll see some pretty amazing things happen.

    I’ve posted about this on my tumblr, which also pushes it to my Facebook page and twitter. I’ll also retweet it from my other twitter accounts.

    You can see the tumblr post here:

    Here it is on my Facebook page:

    I have made a US $5 donation in my mother’s name, Susan La Mont. She died of cancer when I was 18, but she taught me to always find a way to help out, even if you don’t have anything material to give ^_^

    Thanks again Tim!

    ~ Miles

  53. Education means choice. When you are educated you have the ability to see the world and yourself through a different lense. Education brings opportunity. I don’t see education as something that you just receive through school though (although attending a good school is certainly beneficial), education is something I think you gain mostly through life and experience in general. I feel like I personally learned far more by reading, googling, listening, and doing than I did in the classroom. I think in school, I learned how to learn and how to interact with people mostly.

    I love books and I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have the ability to pick up a book and learn about someone I find interesting or dive into a story that takes me on an adventure. Giving this gift to other people by building a library for kids gives me goosebumps–so awesome.

    I’ll absolutely help spread the word through twitter, FB, email, etc. Donating now.

    Happy Birthday, Tim!

  54. In addition to the usual Facebook/Twitter blast (not AS effective, since I’ve recently culled my FB list down to an appropriate size), I have another method that I hope to use.

    Recently I’ve begun work as a web developer for Inc. Pobal means community in Irish Galic, and I hope to get some of my community involved here to make some donations. I’ll try and get a link up on the front page for as long as I can.

    Education for everyone is a basic human right. Not only have there been correlations to decreases in poverty for individuals with an increase in education, but widespread education can have tremendous impact on developing nations’ economies. Until we have worldwide-spread education for everyone though, we still have a lot of work to do.

  55. Happy Birthday Tim

    Education brings awareness, awareness brings change, new ideas, new

    Actions and thus improves this wonderful world we live in.

    And you have brought all that to us, can’t thank you enough

    I definitely wish you a great and happy journey

    I emailed everyone this link on my email contact list

    Re-posted on All my Facebook accounts and twitter

    And created an add on craigslist:

  56. Education means a better quality world for everyone. The majority of the world’s biggest problems could be fixed if we were better educated. I personally try to educate myself as much as possible. It’s the best investment one can make in himself.

    I tweeted the message to my almost 22k followers and shared it on Facebook with my 275 friends.

    Thanks for everything you do!

  57. I’m donating and I linked to you on my Facebook, and will post on my two blogs later tonight. Thanks for harnessing your tribe to do fantastic things and change lives!

    Every day I know how lucky I am to be a woman who lives somewhere where I can EXPECT an education – what a concept. I cannot imagine life without books, reading and learning – and for that matter sharing amazing content on the internet. I wouldn’t even be myself were it not for what I’ve learned and continue to absorb.

    1. Tweeted to 466 followers on my person feed, 64 on my blog feed (I’m just getting started!) and to 301 FB friends. Every little bit helps! I hope this goes viral.

  58. Education to me is building a life of opportunity to not only bless ourselves but to bless others. It brings dignity, autonomy, and respect for oneself and a way to move forward, and progress and create. Education helps to learn patience, obedience, and discipline, which provides greater freedom in many areas of life.

    I’ve been sharing your books, and blog to my friends and family. I love to make time with them to talk about life, culture, people, and change. We inspire and motivate one another. I really appreciate your willingness to help others especially with literacy goals for children and will continue to share that.

    Tim, thank you for your knowledge and experiences that you share with us. I have made so many positive changes and awareness with my mind and body since discovering your books last month . It keeps me in the process of learning, and achieving my goals. All my study, training, diligence and growth is to try to help those around me and be a good person.

    All the best,


  59. – What I did:

    Shared this page on Facebook to my 298 friends, on Twitter to my 231 followers.

    -What does education mean to me?

    Education for me is one of the most important gifts a parent/friend/guardian can give their charge. For me it started with a program called Head Start ( Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. Specifically it is for children living in poverty. I have some of my fondest memories of learning from Head Start … and it also formed a life long love for Ritz crackers 🙂

    That program gave me access to a foundation that I would normally never have had. I became the first person in my extended family to attend and graduate college. I went further to become the first in my extended family to receive and MBA. My tenacity even encouraged my older brother (of 3 years) to finish his undergraduate degree and his Masters.

    Point being, that giving me access to a solid educational foundation at such a young age led me to where I am today. My education is something I value beyond any other achievement in my life. It opened my mind, opened my opportunities and saved me from the life of poverty that was almost guaranteed.

    Thanks for the opportunity to gush about a subject so close to my heart and I wish you, Tim, a very happy birthday.

    Best Regards,

    CJ Wellman

  60. I just realized I am adicted to education but the sad thing is I always took it for granted! I’ve always loved going to school – always hungry for new knowledge. And speaking of hunger: I suppose hungry kids don’t think of school or learning but when they learn how to read and how powerful this tool can be they can get inspired thru books and change their lives or at least dream away from their reality and they dream may com true one day. I still remember a book I read when I was about 9 – it was a story about Easter Island – I always wanted to go there and now, many years later I still need to realize that dream and I know I will 🙂

    Have a great b-day Tim! I spread your message thru FB. If any of you want to give a meal to a kid please visit It only takes a minute to click into a stomach of a little Pinoccio on that page 🙂 Best regards!

  61. Happy birthday Tim.

    Just made my donation. My daughter is fortunate she doesn’t need donations to receive her education. All children should be entitled to have the same experiences as she does. It’s simple, education means choice.

    I wish you the best of luck with this project.

  62. Great idea! Nice way to celebrate a birthday! I might donate.

    I wasn’t motivated by the prize, but it sounded interesting. But then I realized it was heavily weighted toward the people with the biggest social networks. Which is great for getting the word out. But you might lose a lot of the ‘regular folk’ who go “eh…I’ll never win with my 263 Facebook friends”. Perhaps next time make the selection random?

  63. Education means to me the ability to learn all answers to any applicable questions comments or concerns ever presented. Education utilizes knowledge deriving channels in different forms, via books, tests, and hands on exercises, and applies that knowledge into a system of understanding to create an ability to educate on another. Once that system of education is successfully duplicated, education has the ability to harness endless amounts of information, and distribute it anywhere education is available.

    Tim, as promised after my workday I would contribute, I did and it does feel rewarding, you will have no problem with the $20,000. 200,000 followers and if there anything like us, they will make it happen, we will make it happen.

    I must have read wrong before work as it would be impossible to take my gold out and sell it before July 31. As far as capital goes i’m fully invested and waiting to buy 100 of your books. I was really hoping to make an impact here but ill be ready for the next one.

    As part of my second business venture i need your blessings on my idea that will sell 20,000 of your books for the first milestone and 2 million books for the second milestone as a promotional gift of my product.

    I think your going to love this idea as it ties in a lot of your beliefs that are very similar to how I think if I lived like you. My idea also embodies the very meaning of this contest “Education.” In such a powerful way, I find it ironic you post this contest as i’m trying to reach out to my only ever living mentor and share my idea that endorses education as i buy 100 books off you.

    One 5min phone call.

    Thanks again for making a difference. You are my government and i’ll help build followers to make more dreams come true. I can’t believe how society is operated, we need more people like you.

    Enjoy your Birthday and never lose sight of what you set out to do in your lifetime.

  64. Here’s what I’ve done:

    1. I make videos on YouTube on a regular basis as apart of my job. In the latest video I dedicated a significant portion of it to talking about this promotion. This has been sent out to over 33,000 subscribers on YouTube with a very obvious link to the charity page in the description of the video.

    You can find the video here:

    Skip to 3:00 for the relevant part. If there’s reason to make another video before the deadline, I will repeat this process.

    2. I’ve posted this video on a related blog I own ( which receives upwards of 20,000 visitors each day. It is currently the top story and will probably remain on the front page for another 24 hours or so.

    3. I have sent out a tweet via the @Nintendo3DSBlog account (with just over 4,800 followers). I will do this a couple of more times, asking for retweets with each one.

    You can visit the following URL to see how many visitors I have sent to the charity page:

    1. Ah, and one last thing, the answer to the question:

      Education, to me, is the opportunity for life to change for the better. It’s the one thing that can be consumed, but then reused forever. Once something is taught its with the student for the rest of their life. That has a long tail benefit that’s impossible to even grasp.

  65. Happy birthday Tim! I’ll do my bit to get the word out. You should be able to make the 20000 cut easily. Wish you a great day.

  66. Hi Tim,

    #1 – Happy Birthday 🙂

    #2 – Way cool present. I’m vacationing in Sihanoukville, Cambodia now and see just how important it is for people in developing nations to gain access to education. Many know no other way, other than killing themselves all day with hard labor, and a few know only how to beg.

    By expanding their awareness, people from anywhere can see their potential and live their dreams. Acquiring knowledge is where it starts.

    Thanks for sharing the opportunity with us Tim.


  67. Tim,

    Happy B-day!!! Congratulations… not only for your day, but for what you have become and done up to this date.

    Today (30th) is my B-day, ‘sweet 33’. ‘Start it’ contributing w/ such a cause is both an honor and pleasure to me… thanks 😉


  68. Education has been the key to unlocking the fullest potential of my life. It inspires me, opens up wondrous possibilities for me, and allowed me find my talents, strengths and purpose.

    This project is so wonderful, Tim! I hope you have a wonderful birthday! I donated and I’ll be doing everything I can to spread the word!

    – Posting every few hours to my twitter @breezybaldwin

    – Posted to my 1215 Google+ contacts –

    – Posted to my fan & personal Facebook –

    – Sent out an email blast to everyone I know

    – I’m going to encourage my family, friends, and anyone I can get to participate & come up with ways to keep spreading the word!

  69. Education for me is preparing our Children for Life. For a life where they can be true to themselves.

    Their experience of School (and home) needs to be as a place of learning—learning about Life. School is for Life. Given the experience of movement, working with their hands, running and playing. Of social interactions in a group (small and large) as well as of being alone as an individual. Given all this we help our children to become themselves and much more.

    Given the experience of making, doing and creating things we can create the following: “I am confident to try new things. I can do anything! This is not a bravado, but an inner strength that I know I can learn no matter what situations I am faced with in Life.”

    It all starts with me—we are all learning from each other—when I am true to myself then I give that to others. The real Teachers in my Life have been all the people I have met and know. I have so much more to learn, so many new people to meet, I am prepared for Life.

    As a Father of three, Education is the most important thing I can do for (and give to) my children, helping them to Love Life.

    1. “If you give a child a fish, you feed them for a day;

      if you teach a child to fish, you feed them for a lifetime;

      but if you teach a child to learn, you feed them for a lifetime

      and they don’t have to just eat fish.”

      —Tim Gallwey, creator of the Inner Game series

  70. i’ve been to various third world countries and can’t help but think they are a lot happier than us ‘educated’ people,

  71. Hi!

    Education to me means experience. I think that education is largely emotional—we can learn so much from books, but I don’t think we can fully educate ourselves unless we experience what we are learning about. So, it means trying new things and exploring areas and socializing. It is these emotions that determine for us how we want to live our lives, and it is these experiences that open our world to a wider range of friends and talents.

    My friends in Tokyo, Europe, and America will all see this on Facebook! : )

    Have a fabulous 34th!


  72. Education? The ability to read? Even if nothing else changes in a child’s life, nothing, the ability to read will affect an internal change and that person’s life will be enriched. Once this has been achieved, it cannot be taken away. At the most, it’s an avalanche… it can cascade into all sorts of further learning, and of course, the learner can then become a contributor to the pools of knowledge. It is ALL advantage. Wonderful! Happy Birthday Tim, and thank you for your contribution to this world. xx

  73. Happy Birthday!

    Great cause, donated! Thanks again for everything, I will have to pass a testimony to you soon of all the amazing financial and life goodies your 2 books have brought me =)



  74. Education is what makes the world go round, not money. We place too much emphasis on material possessions and not enough on education – sharing knowledge, ideas and experiences. I’ve travelled to some of the poorest countries in the world and I’ve met children far happier than the inhabitants of Monaco. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had – my education was the greatest gift of my life.

    Tim, this is a BRILLIANT idea! I’m equally as difficult to buy present, not because I’m rich, just self sufficient. One year I asked for donations to charity, and this year a friend surprised me with a polar bear adoption. I am constantly trying to educate people about animal welfare.

    I’ve reposted this on Facebook and emailed my address book.

    Good luck!!

  75. Hi Tim, another great Tim vision.

    Education to me means POWER, power to change your life, power to change other lives, power to make a difference.

    Tim you would not be doing this or I would not be donating without the Education we got.

    I will use my email list, facebook, twitter, snail mail, to get your message out. This is worthwhile. I know I will not have the most contacts, however, even if one other person donates thats a good result.


  76. Education is so important to me, and not only do I desire my own kids to receive great educations, but I also have a desire to help spread education and the ability to read and learn throughout the world. I believe that with a good education and by being empowered to learn on your own through reading and gaining a love of learning, doors will be open to you for the rest of your life. I don’t just mean doors to get a job but doors that will help you to enjoy life even more as you love learning and as you grow in knowledge. By growing in knowledge you can understand the world around you more. By getting a great education, you are able to allow you were creative ability and knowledge affect the world around you. By giving children and opportunity to learn to read and have a great education. We are preparing the next generation to influence the world in ways that we cannot imagine. I think that this program through room to read is an excellent opportunity to help open children’s eyes to the world around them and to influence the next generation throughout the world.

    To Promote This Great Cause I Have Done the Following

    1. Using HootSuite I pushed the message out to my social networks

    2. I searched related Hashtags and trending topics and posted relevant messages as well ask asked influencers through DM or @replies to also share the message

    3. I used OnlyWire to push the message to 40+ social sites

    4. I published the message on Google+

    5. I wrote a post on my blog, which has a large following:

    6. I created a short promo video and uploaded it to YouTube:

    I used 1 URL so I can track it accurately:

    You can see my main hub social sites to see posts and traffic

  77. Hi Tim, ??????????

    A year has passed and it is good to join your birthday gift charity once again. I was packing books to sell to bxxk-off but it will go to Room to Read then???

    ”My life will end when my curiosity dies” is my sort of motto so I read/listened to 320 books last year (Thanks to your recommendations, I think I read them all.)

    Reading is like creating knowledge folders, training the bypass between them, retrieving necessary info and lead to conclusions/decisions in your brain. I also like the simulated experience in novels.

    Good luck with your charity.



  78. Japanophile,

    Happy B-day!

    Your beloved country will not be the same again, but when things are settled, please come and visit Japan in the future.


  79. DONE 😀 and you’re the Rock Star btw…….

    Education is understanding yourself and your environment a little bit more everyday. All you need is open eyes and a mind that likes to talk to itself!! 😀

    The ability to read gives you access to the minds of incredible people who have pondered before you. It is crucial so what an excellent cause to chose and make a difference to.

    Happy Birthday!!!

  80. Dear Tim,

    Its a great initiative you have started.

    Education to me means ability to decide. Being responsible for your own actions and thats a big ability. When you make a conscious decision most of the times its on the right side. To a person who gets the ability to read is in my way getting an eyesight and removing the darkness around yourself.

    Hope to hear from you more on this…

  81. – Education means two things to me: freedom because it opens doors, and expansion because it opens minds.

    – I shared a link to this page on Google Plus (you must join, Tim), retweeted your tweet, and shared it with my Facebook friends.

    Next up: go donate myself. 🙂

    What a fantastic birthday present, Tim. I participated in last year’s present and it’s becoming so I’m already looking forward to your next birthday. You rock.

  82. What a great effort! You’ve inspired me with a new way to celebrate my birthday. You can’t ask for a better way to start a Saturday morning … paying it forward and contributing to something bigger than yourself!

    It’s so easy to take for granted the ability to read. Unfortunately what should be a right in many places is a privilege. As an author I can’t imagine not being able to read. It has opened the world to me and so many endless possibilities. It has helped me make my dreams come true.

    So with my contribution, Facebook post, and email blast, I not only wish you a happy birthday, but I wish a world of opportunity open to kids learning to read. Here’s to helping build many libraries for all those kids who deserve the chance … no, who have the RIGHT to read.

  83. Education means having the freedom to explore your curiosities. By providing a library to these children, they’ll have a new opportunity to learn that wasn’t available to them previously. Who knows what this will lead to for them. The possibilities are endless.

    I retweeted and posted on facebook for my friends in North and South America, Russia, Africa and Europe to see.

  84. I like this,

    I can’t afford to give much but what I can spare I have done. I’m afraid spreading the word (despite the lateness with which I discovered this) is all I can do.

    Education to me is the greatest asset at my disposal. I’m currently in the military but looking to leave (and hopefully join the NR), but the one thing I’ve learned is that education and by extension knowledge is the key to survival in any environment and the best thing about it is, it doesn’t weigh anything.

    Hopefully my meagre contribution will be counter balanced by my future muse in freshfable.

    Happy Birthday Tim.

  85. Education means having the freedom to choose what you want to do with your life.

    Happy birthday! And thanks for the great books.

    Shared on FB with a link – we’ll see how motivated my friends are.

  86. Thank you for using your powers for good! I’ve been giving people gift certificates to Donors Choose for a few years and I’ve received more positive feedback from those gifts than anything else I’ve ever bought someone.

    There’s nothing I can buy you, or anyone else, for $34 that will make much of a difference in their life… but donating it to a great cause like the Reading Room WILL change someone’s life.

    Thanks, Tim! I hope you inspire others to do the same for their birthdays.

  87. Books are our connection to great minds. That so many people choose not to read is a loss for everyone. Giving children the chance to learn is a true gift.

  88. Wishing you a wonderful day filled with random acts of kindness.

    Reading has been my salvation.

    I am fighting a battle with clinical depression.

    Reading your book and a million others arms me with

    information to use food and exercise as ammunition.

    reading fiction for release. and history to glean what

    I can from those who came before.

    I will spread your mission of literacy to everyone

    that crosses my path.

    Today I am in Oshkosh with my family at the

    EAA Airshow–truly inspiring to see the planes

    that forged our freedoms.

    Cheers mar

  89. This is a great idea for a Bday gift! I’m behind education and teaching reading. Reading has forever changed my life for the better. You can take part of the knowledge and wisdom from the last several thousand years. Knowing what works what doesn’t work or anything in between. I posted on my FB