Reading List: Clay Water Brick

Ten years ago in a cramped apartment at Stanford University, Jessica Jackley and her partner launched Kiva, the first online micro-lending platform for the working poor. Kiva’s birth was a difficult one. From the get-go, the young co-founders were cautioned about the possible complications with the then-untested person-to-person lending approach and its online execution (potential SEC violations among them). Despite the risks, they dove in and Kiva entered the world as a bare-bones beta site with seven borrower profiles. Today, entrepreneurs in 200 countries have received more than $600 million from lenders who give loans of $10 and up. The loans are repaid without interest.

Jackley recounts her personal and professional story with candor, clarity and heart. She shares her steps and missteps and the life lessons she learned from the many Kiva entrepreneurs she visited. In Beijing, Li the tailor reminds her that when a dress—or an idea—isn’t working, you have to be willing to rip it apart to fix it. Raj, an Indian rickshaw driver, shows her that the best route to your destination isn’t always the most obvious or shortest one. Jackley’ impressive storytelling skills make Clay Water Brick a captivating read and a valuable resource on both nonprofit and for-profit entrepreneurship.

by Jessica Jackley
June; Spiegel & Grau; $28

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