Book Reviews


“THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND is the inspiring story of a young man in Africa who used the only resources available to him to build a windmill and elevate the lives and spirits of those in his community. William Kamkwamba’s achievements with wind energy should serve as a model of what one person, with an inspired idea, can do to tackle the crisis we face. His book tells a moving and exciting story.”
— Al Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Laureate

"This is an amazing, inspiring, and heartwarming story! It's about harnessing the power not just of the wind but of imagination and ingenuity.  Those are the most important forces we have for saving the planet.  William Kamkwamba is a hero for our age."
— Walter Isaacson, author, Einstein: His Life and Universe

"In this book, the spirit, resilience and resourcefulness that are Africa's greatest strengths shine through.  My heart was gripped by the tale of how William's family pulled through the famine, and it was lifted up by the tale of how his determination brought light to his home and hope to his village.  THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND is a remarkable story about a remarkable young man and his inquisitive and inventive mind."
—Amy Smith, Founder, D Lab, MIT

"William Kamkwamba is an alchemist who turned misfortune into opportunity, opportunity beyond his own. The book is about learning by inventing. William's genius was to be ingenious."
—Nicholas Negroponte, Founder, MIT Media Lab, Founder and Chairman, One Laptop per Child

"This book traveled with me from Copenhagen to San Francisco to the South Fork of the Flathead and tells the story of how the battle for saving our planet and meeting the needs of humanity will be won by individuals like William Kamkwamba. His  determination  to improve his corner of the world is a testament to the power of a dream and the freedom that comes from accomplishing a sustainable way of life. Read this book, act on its message and pass it on."
—Carter Roberts, President & CEO, WWF

"William will challenge everything you have thought about Africa, about young people, and about the power of one person to transform a community. This beautifully written book will open your heart and mind. I was moved by William and his story and believe you all will. Essential, powerful and compelling."
—Chris Abani, author of Graceland

"I loved this enchanting story of a humble young hero from an impoverished African village who accomplishes a miracle with scrap materials and unstoppable enthusiasm. What an inspiration!" 
— Mark Frauenfelder, founder of boingboing.net and editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine

“A powerful read. This book takes you on a journey to discover pure innovation and the unfolding story of a natural genius. A true vision of struggle and tenacity to make a bold idea become a reality. This should be required reading for anyone who dares to dream.”
—Cameron Sinclair, Eternal Optimist, Architecture for Humanity

"This book is an inspiring testament to the ingenuity of Africans. If we can develop more innovative leaders like William, Africa will finally stand on its own two feet."
—Fred Swaniker, Founder & CEO, African Leadership Academy

"This book is inspirational. What William did took nothing more than initiative and a little learning, yet he changed his village and his life. There's never been a better time to Do It Yourself, and I love how much we can learn from those who often have no other choice."
—Chris Anderson, author, Free: The Future of a Radical Price and editor-in-chief of WIRED

"Wonderful! I challenge you to read this story of one young man changing his corner of the world with nothing but intelligence and perservance and not come away more hopeful about the prospects for a brighter, greener future." 
—Alex Steffen, editor, Worldchanging.com

"Much more than a memoir, this is a snapshot of life as a precocious teenager in contemporary Africa, and an affirmation of the notion that talent, beauty, and brilliance are distributed in equal measure around the world, even if opportunity is not. This is a story that hums with the excitement of an individual who, like the continent where he was raised is poised for greatness."
——Nathaniel Whittemore, Change.org

"Beyond opening the door to a nascent genre of African Innovation literature, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind makes excuses about why Africans can't change their fates untenable. This potent, powerful, and uplifting message is the heart of Williams Kamkwamba's courageous story."
—Emeka Okafor, internationally acclaimed blog author, The Timbuktu Chronicles and Africa Unchained 

"I was moved first to laughter, and then to tears by William's explanation of how he turned some PVC pipe, a broken bicycle and some long wooden poles into a machine capable of generating sufficient current to power lights and a radio in his parents' house: "I try, and I made it.""
—Ethan Zuckerman, co-founder Global Voices 

"A rare and inspiring story of hope in rural Africa, a true story of youth challenging and winning against all of the adversity that life throws at it.  William represents a new generation of Africans, using ingenuity and invention to overcome life's challenges.  Where so many tilt at windmills, William builds them!"
—Erik Hersman, AfriGadget and White African

"An inspiring tale of an African Cheetah -- the new generation of young Africans who won't sit and wait for corrupt and incompetent governments -- or vampire states -- to come and do things for them. Here is one who harnessed the wind to generate electricity for his village -- on his own."
—Professor George Ayittey, Distinguished Economist, American University

William Kamkwamba

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