Three Cups of Deceit

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Three Cups of Deceit - How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way
Three cups of deceit - book cover.jpg
Softcover edition
AuthorJon Krakauer
CountryUnited States
Publication date
April 20, 2011
Media typee-book
Pages96 pp.
Preceded byWhere Men Win Glory 
Followed byMissoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town 

Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way is a 2011 e-book written by Jon Krakauer about Three Cups of Tea (2007) and Stones into Schools (2009) author Greg Mortenson. In it, Krakauer disputes Mortenson's accounts of his experiences in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and accuses him of mishandling funds donated to his charity, Central Asia Institute ("CAI").


Release of the e-book online came one day after a 60 Minutes report on Mortenson that aired on April 17, 2011. The book was initially available on a limited basis at for free download in April 2011[1] and has since been released in a number of digital formats. Since its release as a Kindle Single edition, the e-book has risen to the number one spot on Kindle Single's bestseller's list.[2] On July 1, 2011 the book was released as a paperback edition published by Anchor Books.[3] A much expanded, revised, and updated edition was published in November 2014.[4]


Krakauer has received both criticism and praise for the book Three Cups of Deceit. The e-book was described as both "Krakauer's fact-based gut-punch to Three Cups of Tea" and to "have a bit of a 'jilted lover' feel to it" by Chamber Four online book reviewer Marcos Velasquez, who congratulated Krakauer on the book's release.[5] A starred review in Publishers Weekly proclaimed, "Packed with interviews and anecdotes that undercut Mortenson's image as a cheerful do-gooder, Krakauer's account of good intentions gone horribly wrong is a stunning example of investigative journalism".[6] Critics of Krakauer's work, however, have said Krakauer's focus is in the wrong direction.

Marjorie Kehe, books editor for The Christian Science Monitor, stated in her article on Krakauer's book, "...having read and fully digested Three Cups of Deceit, I can still identify...fundamental truths in both of Mortenson's books, Three Cups of Tea and Stones Into Schools. Kehe went on to state, "Most of us, if we had established one such school – or even played a part in doing so – might feel that we had justified our very existences by that act. Mortenson has done this many, many times over. I'm not saying that this makes any wrongs he has committed right. It doesn't. But it certainly ought to be weighed in the balance."[7]

Scott Darsney, a mountaineer and friend of Greg Mortenson's, wrote an email subsequently turned into an exclusive article for Outside magazine's online version as a response to Krakauer's book. Darsney questioned the accuracy and fairness of both the Krakauer piece and the 60 Minutes report. Darsney had been interviewed by Krakauer for Three Cups of Deceit, and maintains that Krakauer either misquoted or misunderstood what he said.[8]


As a response to Krakauer's allegations, CAI produced a comprehensive list of projects completed over a period of years and projects CAI is currently working on. The list was released in December, 2011.[9]


  1. ^ Krakauer, Jon (April 2011). Three Cups of Deceit (excerpt).
  2. ^ Canon, Gabrielle (April 20, 2011). "'Three Cups Of Tea' Author Greg Mortenson Still Being Burned By Fraud Scandal". Huffington Post. HuffPost Impact.
  3. ^ Krakauer, Jon (July 2011). Three Cups of Deceit. Anchor. ISBN 978-0307948762.
  4. ^ Krakauer, Jon (November 2014). Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way (Second ed.). Anchor Books. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Review: Three Cups Of Deceit". Chamber Four. 5 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Nonfiction review: Three Cups of Deceit". Publishers Weekly. 25 July 2011.
  7. ^ Marjorie Kehe (May 4, 2011). "What I Do Believe About "Three Cups of Tea"". The Christian Science Monitor.
  8. ^ Scott Darsney (April 13, 2009). "Scott Darsney Questions the Accuracy and Fairness of "Three Cups of Deceit"". Outside magazine.
  9. ^ "Comprehensive list of CAI projects past and present" (PDF). December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-12.

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