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Hearts on Fire
Cover of Hearts on Fire
Hearts on Fire
Stories of Today's Visionaries Igniting Idealism into Action
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INSPIRING STORIES OF FOURTEEN VISIONARIES WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD--AND A BOLD CALL TO ACTION TO MOTIVATE THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS

There's Amy Lehman, a gutsy single mother who is building a floating health clinic on Lake Tanganyika; Jimmie Briggs, a journalist campaigning to stop violence against girls and women; and Jacob Lief, a young American who founded a school for street children in South Africa.

You will discover how Josh Nesbit, Isaac Holeman, and Nadim Mahmud are connecting rural patients to hospitals using cellphone technology, how Susana De Anda is bringing fresh water to the migrant workers in California's San Joaquin Valley, and how Andeisha Farid is establishing, in the face of war, orphanages for Afghanistan's child victims of war and poverty.

These are just some of the stories that will inspire you. Visionaries don't wait for others to take action. They step out. They are brave. They walk the walk. And they connect with others in deep and real ways. Jill Iscol's message is that everyone has the talent and compassion to make the world a better place. Hearts on Fire is a call to action for all of us.

Praise for Hearts on Fire

"Attention must be paid to these lives and these stories. In Jill Iscol's capable hands, their stories offer us hope--just when we need it."--Brian Williams, NBC News

"What inspiring stories of people who have made meaningful lives through service and sacrifice--one person at a time. These are our world leaders!"--Richard Gere

"Hearts on Fire is one of the most inspiring books I've read."--Tina Brown, editor-in-chief, The Daily Beast and Newsweek

"Clear and compelling . . . I know you will be inspired by the visionaries in Hearts on Fire."--President Bill Clinton

"A powerful call to action for each of us to marry passion with purpose and act boldly in the quest for a more just and sustainable world."--Cheryl Dorsey, president of Echoing Green

"Powerful and eloquent, Hearts on Fire is a passionate and infectious invitation to get involved and help make the world a better place."--Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University

"A beautifully appointed treasure box filled with inspiration and possibility. You cannot read this book without wanting to do more."--Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund

"A desperately needed antidote for those discouraged by the dysfunctional politics that have left so many on our planet vulnerable and voiceless."--Billy Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength

"Hearts on Fire reminds us that we need to dream again, inspire again, and act again."--Wes Moore, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore

"Vivid, down-to-earth, and well-told, Hearts on FireEthan Nichtern, founder of The InterDependence Project, and author of One City: A Declaration of Interdependence

INSPIRING STORIES OF FOURTEEN VISIONARIES WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD--AND A BOLD CALL TO ACTION TO MOTIVATE THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS

There's Amy Lehman, a gutsy single mother who is building a floating health clinic on Lake Tanganyika; Jimmie Briggs, a journalist campaigning to stop violence against girls and women; and Jacob Lief, a young American who founded a school for street children in South Africa.

You will discover how Josh Nesbit, Isaac Holeman, and Nadim Mahmud are connecting rural patients to hospitals using cellphone technology, how Susana De Anda is bringing fresh water to the migrant workers in California's San Joaquin Valley, and how Andeisha Farid is establishing, in the face of war, orphanages for Afghanistan's child victims of war and poverty.

These are just some of the stories that will inspire you. Visionaries don't wait for others to take action. They step out. They are brave. They walk the walk. And they connect with others in deep and real ways. Jill Iscol's message is that everyone has the talent and compassion to make the world a better place. Hearts on Fire is a call to action for all of us.

Praise for Hearts on Fire

"Attention must be paid to these lives and these stories. In Jill Iscol's capable hands, their stories offer us hope--just when we need it."--Brian Williams, NBC News

"What inspiring stories of people who have made meaningful lives through service and sacrifice--one person at a time. These are our world leaders!"--Richard Gere

"Hearts on Fire is one of the most inspiring books I've read."--Tina Brown, editor-in-chief, The Daily Beast and Newsweek

"Clear and compelling . . . I know you will be inspired by the visionaries in Hearts on Fire."--President Bill Clinton

"A powerful call to action for each of us to marry passion with purpose and act boldly in the quest for a more just and sustainable world."--Cheryl Dorsey, president of Echoing Green

"Powerful and eloquent, Hearts on Fire is a passionate and infectious invitation to get involved and help make the world a better place."--Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University

"A beautifully appointed treasure box filled with inspiration and possibility. You cannot read this book without wanting to do more."--Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund

"A desperately needed antidote for those discouraged by the dysfunctional politics that have left so many on our planet vulnerable and voiceless."--Billy Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength

"Hearts on Fire reminds us that we need to dream again, inspire again, and act again."--Wes Moore, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore

"Vivid, down-to-earth, and well-told, Hearts on FireEthan Nichtern, founder of The InterDependence Project, and author of One City: A Declaration of Interdependence

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Excerpts-
  • Introduction

    i am writing this book to share with you the joy and excitement I have experienced meeting and becoming friends with some of the twenty-first century's most innovative and compassionate visionaries. These extraordinary and life-affirming activists have enriched my life; whenever I am in their presence, I feel optimistic about the future of our planet and its people.

    Where others tear at the social fabric, they mend; where others see the world in shades of gray conformity, they see the world as a kaleidoscope of possibilities; where others avert their eyes from the suffering of others, they fearlessly look at the world the way it is--and how it might be.
    What are the personal experiences that shape the lives of today's activists? What are their hopes for the world? What are their dreams of the future? What are their fears? How are they changing the world one step at a time? What drives them to put aside comfort and safety to join hands with those most in need?

    A new consciousness is sweeping the globe. Columnist and -bestselling author David Brooks describes it as the New Humanism; Bill Shore, founder of Share Our Strength, describes the natural human desire to be part of something "bigger and more lasting than ourselves." I think of today's visionaries as thoughtfully and actively guiding the world in the direction of greater justice and a deeper humanity, where the birth lottery does not determine life chances.
    Nobel Prize--winning author Toni Morrison, at a recent graduation speech at Rutgers University, beautifully expressed the personal importance of pursuing something bigger and more lasting than ourselves: "Personal success devoid of meaningfulness, free of a steady commitment to social justice, that's more than a barren life; it is a trivial one. It's looking good instead of doing good."

    Whatever words we use to describe this new consciousness, the reality is simple: It is fundamental to our nature to join with others to enhance the condition of the human family. In Jacqueline Novogratz's inspiring words, "The time has come to extend to every person on the planet the fundamental principle we hold so dear: that all human beings are created equal.... Our collective futures rest upon embracing a vision of a single world in which we are all connected."

    This book is a call to action. I am both motivated and humbled by the many people in our lives who serve without the expectation of reward. I have been fortunate to be close to people from all walks of life who feel it is a privilege to roll up their sleeves and extend a helping hand to others. Together we can make a real difference, today and tomorrow. If this book can, even in a small way, help you define and refine your dreams and plans for a better world, then it will have accomplished its mission.

    In 2010 and 2011, my colleague Peter Cookson and I filmed each of the visionaries featured in this book. Their stories are told in their own words--directly, honestly, and passionately. The chapters that follow emerge from the lightly edited transcripts of our interviews. The stories you are about to read capture what we believe is often overlooked: Behind every story of service is a very human and heartfelt journey--signified by yearning, struggle, happiness, and fulfillment. These vignettes allow us to see how purposeful imagination and solidarity with others can transform the world and in the process transform the lives of those who serve.
    Peter and I have known each other for many years; both of us are sociologists and educators. Not long ago, we discovered we were working in parallel and decided to collaborate on a book that would bring to public attention new and...

About the Author-
  • Jill W. Iscol is president of the IF Hummingbird Foundation. She is an educator and sociologist who has a life commitment to supporting domestic and international efforts to strengthen democracy and the social, economic, and educational inequalities that threaten it. Jill Iscol is active in the philanthropic, educational, and political worlds. Hearts on Fire is her first book.

    Peter W. Cookson, Jr., is the founder of Ideas Without Borders, an educational consulting firm specializing in twenty-first-century learning and human rights. He is a sociologist and the author of numerous books on education and inequality.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 22, 2012
    Compiled by Iscol, the founder and president of the IF Hummingbird Foundation, and featuring a foreword by former president Bill Clinton, these lightly edited first-person narratives transcribed from filmed interviews showcase individuals shouldering the daunting task of creating change in their local or global community. Seeing a need and taking responsibility for addressing it pushed Josh Nesbit to cofound FrontlineSMS to improve communication between community health workers in Malawi and their nearest hospital, while Susana de Anda responded to the pollution of water in California’s San Joaquin Valley with the simple statement: “Why is that people that don’t really look like me are... coming up with these terms and talking about these issues? We should be talking about it.” Following an inner voice to overcome obstacles is central to many of these stories, including that of Amy Lehman, who founded a floating health clinic on East Africa’s enormous Lake Tanganyika. Though many stories highlight the awakening of social responsibility, the omnipresent air of humility in these accounts doesn’t allow for scenes of inspiration; instead they exhilarate the reader with the understated way in which these people have made a massive difference around the world. Photos. Agent: Jessica Salky, One30One Agency.

  • Ethan Nichtern, founder of The InterDependence Project, and author of One City: A Declaration of Interdependence

    "Attention must be paid to these lives and these stories. In Jill Iscol's capable hands, their stories offer us hope--just when we need it."--Brian Williams, NBC News "What inspiring stories of people who have made meaningful lives through service and sacrifice--one person at a time. These are our world leaders!"--Richard Gere "Hearts on Fire is one of the most inspiring books I've read."--Tina Brown, editor-in-chief, The Daily Beast and Newsweek "Clear and compelling . . . I know you will be inspired by the visionaries in Hearts on Fire."--President Bill Clinton "A powerful call to action for each of us to marry passion with purpose and act boldly in the quest for a more just and sustainable world."--Cheryl Dorsey, president of Echoing Green "Powerful and eloquent, Hearts on Fire is a passionate and infectious invitation to get involved and help make the world a better place."--Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University "A beautifully appointed treasure box filled with inspiration and possibility. You cannot read this book without wanting to do more."--Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and CEO of Acumen Fund "A desperately needed antidote for those discouraged by the dysfunctional politics that have left so many on our planet vulnerable and voiceless."--Billy Shore, founder and executive director of Share Our Strength "Hearts on Fire reminds us that we need to dream again, inspire again, and act again."--Wes Moore, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore "Vivid, down-to-earth, and well-told, Hearts on Fire will comfort and inspire anybody trying to do a little bit to make this world a more connected and compassionate place."

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Stories of Today's Visionaries Igniting Idealism into Action
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