Meet Nicholas Kristof, whose Herculean humanitarian efforts have made him one of the world’s most beloved activists. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize (twice), Kristof has written decades of New York Times columns, and has traveled to 150 countries, where he’s gained first hand expertise with malaria, mobs, and remote African plane crashes.

This Fall, he shared his new book, A Path Appears, with IVY NYC and IVY Boston. Co-written by Kristof’s wife and force of nature, Sheryl WuDunn, the book encourages every one of us to do something—no matter how small—to make a difference, even when we think it won’t matter.

Nicholas Kristof in conversation with IVY NYC.

What’s the one take away message you want every IVY member to know?

There are huge benefits connecting to a cause lager than yourself, whether it’s through donating or volunteering. There’s a view sometimes that people should spend the first third of their life studying, the next third making money, and only the final third giving back. Don’t do that.

How can communities like IVY help advance great social impact causes?

I think of IVY as a secular form of what churches used to deliver. Traditionally at times when Americans were more religious, they had a weekly fellowship of some kind and it connected them to a larger cause. In the secular world, giving tends to be more private, and I think as a result it’s less fun. There’s something to be said about finding ways to get people together as a fun social activity that involves a higher cause.

What do you do outside of work?

I love running and backpacking. My daughter and I are trying to backpack whole Pacific Trail. It’s happening in stages.

What was it like writing this book with your wife?

People always wonder how we wrote a book together and stay married. But I always said that if we could raise kids and stay married, writing a book would be a piece of cake.

How can IVY members support you?

We hope that in a path appears, they will find some cause or organization that speaks to them, and that they will run with it. For us, the most exciting thing has been having people read the book and then go do something on their own they otherwise may never have thought of. The other thing would be connecting with us on social media. I try to use my social media as a way to shine spotlight on neglected issues. We would welcome people to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and spread the word about some issues that don’t receive adequate attention.

Nicholas Kristof is an IVY Thought Leader. To learn more about IVY, please visit