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In which John recalls the time he met Greg Mortenson, the embattled author of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools. I was once a featured author at a dinner along with Mortenson, and...well...hilarity ensued.



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A Bunny
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Good morning, Hank; it's Monday. Please to be ignoring the decapitated parrot in the background. Today's video comes to you in four parts. Part one: my encounter with Greg Mortenson. So Hank, Greg Mortenson, the author of 'Three Cups of Tea', has been much in the news lately. There are accusations that he fabricated part of his memoir and that his charity doesn't run as efficiently as it should. And Hank, it so happens that I can contribute to that conversation because I have met Greg Mortenson, and I thought I would tell you the story of how that went. Okay, so a couple years ago, when 'Paper Towns' came out, I went to a library convention, and Penguin, my publisher, threw this author dinner for like, eight authors with two hundred or something young adult librarians. Important note: almost all young adult librarians are ladies. Okay, back to the story. Right, so at this author dinner, I was one of the authors and so was Greg Mortenson, and we each had our own table that was full of librarians, and we ate dinner and drank wine and chatted and then we had to give, like, a two minute presentation. And then I was like, "Oh, I wrote this book, it's about Walt Whitman and imagining other people complexly, and I hope you like it." And I sat down. And then right after me, Greg Mortenson got up and he was like, "That book sounds interesting; my book is about how I almost died and decided to devote my life to education in Afghanistan." And I'm sittin' at my table kinda drunk thinking, "Ugh, I wrote a book with a bunch of pee jokes in it, and this guy's out saving the world." But then, I remember that Nerdfighters helped rebuild a school in cyclone-ravaged Bangladesh. And I wanted to tell him about it, but he was all the way across this huge room; I could barely even see the guy, so I got the bright idea to go talk to him during the cocktail party portion of the program that followed the dinner. So as soon as we're finished eating, I race up to Greg Mortenson and I say "Ah, it was so great to hear your speech, I love your book", which I hadn't read. And Hank, as you well know, in this equation, X equals not being able to shut up, so I start talking to Greg Mortenson about this online community, Nerdfighters, and all the cool stuff that we're doing; we're building pond sand filters in Bangladesh, we're doing Kiva Micro-Loans, we built this school, it's so awesome! And I buy him a drink - the drinks were free, but still. And at some point I realize that I've been talking to Greg Mortenson for twelve minutes, and I have not allowed him to say a single word. So I say, "I'm sorry to go on so much, I'm just a huge fan of your work." And then he says, "Thank you, but I'm not Greg Mortenson." Hahahahah. Ohhhh, because ninety-five percent of young adult librarians are women, I just walked up to the white guy, figuring that that would be Greg Mortenson. And it wasn't. Ugh. The humiliation is still washing over me, Hank. So, Hank, here's what I have to add to the Greg Mortenson discussion: it seems like his heart is in the right place, although that doesn't always matter, and, uh, he looks like a lot of other white guys. Part two: are you Dutch? Not you, Hank, I know you're not Dutch, but the other people, they might be. If you are Dutch, please read the video info below; there is relevant information for you. Part three: Hanko de Mayo. Hank, you're birthday is coming up, it's Hanko de Mayo, May fifth. So Hank, you're turning thirty-one. Usually, we do something really nice for you on your birthday, except when we forget, but this year, your birthday is very inconveniently located for me because I am desperately trying to finish this book, so I have decided to outsource your birthday to Nerdfighteria. Nerdfighters, you will find a link in the doobly-doo to a birthday thread in Your Pants where we can discuss ways to make Hank's birthday awesome. Hank, don't read it or I will gouge out your eyes. Probably not; that's probably excessive, but don't read it! And lastly, part four: I'm gonna do a Question Tuesday on Friday - things that don't make sense to new viewers. So please leave your questions in comments. Hank, don't forget to be awesome; I will see you on Wednesday.