When you stop pointing fingers,
Lying to yourself and others,
When you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will ride through darkness
And your gloom will rise as the noonday sun,
And you'll continually find the desires of your heart in
Scorched and dry places and strength in your bones,
And finally become like a watered garden,
Like a spring whose waters never fail.

He put this in his wallet. Hokey? Maybe. But he was ready.

Mike cashed in some air miles for a trip to Costa Rica. He wanted to help the people of this friendly country. Providing jobs seemed the substantive way to help them. He wondered whether there was something manufactured here he could sell in the United States. He went into a leather shop, a little hole in the wall. Workers were bent over workbenches making leather goods - luggage and duffel bags. Could they make bags for him to sell in the United States? They could. Could they use vegetable-only dyes? They could. Were forests cut down for grazing land for the cows? They weren't? Mike took some samples and came back to the Bay Area.

Mike went around to banks, showing these well-crafted bags and his business plan, hoping to receive a loan for a small importing business. He always showed them his Success Formula. He wanted them to understand he wasn't just going to be a bag salesman. He was that bricklayer who was helping to build a cathedral.

He got a loan, bought some bags, and began cold-calling on Silicon Valley software companies, trying to get them to buy his bags as giveaways. A year into it, he met a banker in Oakland who made it her business to help disadvantaged communities. She suggested Mike buy a small warehouse building in West Oakland, where unemployment was 50 percent, and use that as his domestic warehouse. This would qualify him for special community­-development loans she could offer. "I can't buy a building! I'm selling bags out of my car!" he said. But she loaned him the money and then went to Costa Rica with him. Impressed, she urged him to buy the factory there and move it to a tax-free zone near the San José airport. That seemed way out of his league, but she coached him through the process and loaned him the money.