Study Guide

Three Cups of Tea Perseverance

By Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin


By the time you go to school, the building that you're studying in has probably been there a good long time, with bathrooms that have been around since the 1960s and lunch ladies who have been there even longer. You might not consider the fact that your school had to be built from scratch, brick by brick.

Your school probably didn't take ten years to build, or involve climbing impossibly high mountains, dodging land mines, and crossing bridges made of yak hair, but that's exactly the kind of effort Greg Mortenson puts into building the schools in Pakistan in Three Cups of Tea. He encounters tons of roadblocks and has to keep charging right through them, much in the same way he charged up the mountains the schools are built on.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. What are some of the biggest challenges Mortenson faces, and how does he manage to push through them?
  2. Mortenson isn't the only persistent person in the book. Who else perseveres through difficult situations to help build schools or to educate themselves?
  3. Would it be possible to survive in Pakistan without having a fierce level of determination?
  4. Is Mortenson's determined hardheadedness always a good thing? When does it get him into more trouble than it helps him push through?

Chew on This

Mortenson's mountain climbing skills translate to his position as a charity-runner both well and poorly. His perseverance is a priceless trait, but his solo nature can be detrimental to the cause.

As presented in this book, perseverance is a trait shared by almost anyone living in Pakistan. It's not a nation of leisure, and people have to be tenacious to survive.

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