Practices for a Moral Revolution

Book by Jacqueline Novogratz offers insights on how to build a better world

Manifesto for a Moral Revolution by Jacqueline Novogratz

In a small village in Pakistan, a girl named Shameem Akhtar was born. Her tribe saw girls as a burden. No girl in her village had ever attended school. Her parents, only teenagers, did something daring and imaginative. They raised Shameem as a boy. Unlike other village girls, Shameem went to school. She sat at the feet of elder men during councils. And she studied hard to be the best in her class.  

Eventually, Shameem went on to university. She was able to stop posing as a boy. After graduating, she started a job, allowing her to send money home to her parents. For the first time, her village saw the benefits of educating girls.

Shameem’s story is one of courage, love, and potential. Her parents challenged cultural status quos. Shameem’s potential could have been lost. Instead, she went on to earn a Ph.D. More importantly, she returned to her region to pay it forward. She is now a teacher, working to educate and empower eager and capable girls like she herself once was.

We came across Shameem’s story in Jacqueline Novogratz’s book Manifesto for a Moral Revolution. The Manifesto is 252 pages of resilient hope for change-makers. It is filled with inspiring stories like Shameem’s. Stories about people who lead with moral courage and imagination. People who make positive change in a broken world. People who use their gifts to lift the lives of the poor—smartly, empathetically, and effectively. 

“What if our Golden Rule were not only “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” but also “Give more to the world than you take from it”?” Jacqueline asks. 

With over 30 years of experience in change-making, Jacqueline cuts to the heart of things. She challenges how we calculate success in terms of profit and status. “Laughter, respect, a sense of belonging, dignity—these are the things that matter the most to our experience as human beings,” Jacqueline argues. Thus, they are the metrics that we should celebrate. That we should incorporate into business models. That we should embody in every domain of our lives. 

Jacqueline’s book is a breath of fresh air for anyone feeling jaded by the state of the world. It is a rallying cry against cynicism and toward hope. Toward more than hope, toward action. 

“Change is the domain of all of us,” she writes. 

Change is the domain of Orant. It is the domain of you. 

If you’re interested in building a more equitable and sustainable world, you might find value in reading Manifesto for a Moral Revolution. You can even host a book club. And/or, listen to the author share her expertise on this podcast. We’d love to hear what you think. Let us know!

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