Jay Mathews, as a long-time education writer for the Washington Post, displays an enviable ability to produce a real page-turner on a topic far from the top of the average person's reading list. The narrative flow is far more engaging than much of what we find in contemporary novels; the emotional engagement he fosters has us rooting for his protagonists and feeling the occasional personal losses he documents. As he chronicles the story of Mike Feinberg and Dave Levinâs journey from being two inexperienced yet idealistic, highly energetic, and incredibly persistent Teach for America alums to running a successful chain of charter schools--the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)--serving disadvantaged children, he tells an archetypal tale that any trainer-teacher-learner can appreciate. As we absorb the wonderful story of how they engaged their youngest learners in actions to shame reticent school district officials into action--thereby providing a lesson in civics by inspiring the students to engage in civic action--we have an extremely important example of the importance of providing learning opportunities that are grounded in experience that puts what is being learned into action--experiential learning at its best. It's not all rosy in "Work Hard, Be Nice." Mathews and his interviewees do not shy away from acknowledging the occasional small and large failures that sometimes come from overzealous actions. We are, however, never in doubt as to where Mathews himself stands on the issue of whether KIPP is worth studying: "Over time, the debate about KIPP among educators has grown, full of misinformation and misimpressions because few of the people talking about KIPP schools have actually seen them in action," he writes (p. 281). And he fully intends to continue exploring the KIPP model, he adds: "In the search for the best schools, I still have a lot of work to do" (p. 317).