©2019 by Powered by Purpose.


Inspiring Business for Good


“I believe we were put on this earth to do more than just make money.  
Our careers can and should stand for something bigger than just ourselves.”

John Wood



John Wood is the Founder of Room to Read, one of the fastest-growing social enterprises in world history that has brought the lifelong gift of education to over 18 million children in 17 countries across the developing world.  John has published five books, including the best-selling Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, which was chosen by Amazon as one of the Top Ten Business Books of 2006.  Goldman Sachs named him one of the World’s 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and he was awarded Microsoft’s Alumnus of the Year by Bill and Melinda Gates. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.  John is a frequent contributor to the BBC and CNBC.



In this revolutionary book, authors John Wood and co-author Amalia McGibbon set out to refute Milton Friedman’s oft-repeated adage that there is no social purpose of business beyond returning maximum profits to shareholders.  Instead, they show once and for all that cause is not the enemy of commercialism, but perhaps the new key to it. 

Based on over 100 interviews with entrepreneurs and executives, the provide a breath-taking tour of this new and inspiring world.  Readers learn how a storng sense of purpose can help their business to win the war for talent, create a compelling bond with customers, motivate employees, reduce attrition, create a positive buzz on social media, and so much more.

Purpose Incorporated is a “permission slip” to all those seeking to use the power of business to make the world a better place, and provides examples that will inspire the reader to find their own ways to unite cause and capitalism.


Inspiring through Purpose

John is a popular speaker whose talks focus on leadership, scaling organizations, and the intersection of purpose and profitability.  With hundreds of successful engagements over the years, his elite client list includes Bloomberg, Clinton Global Initiative, Credit Suisse, Facebook, Fidelity, the Financial Times, Google, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter, UBS, the Wall Street Journal and the World Economic Forum.

For speaking inquiries, please contact:





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  • John Wood

Amidst Politics and Pandemic, How I Remain an Optimist

Dear Friends Around the World:

Over the last nine months, my home city of Hong Kong has experienced an unprecedented wave of political protest, a feckless and uninspired government response, and now proximity to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. While it’s at times been a tough environment, I have remained optimistic and have experienced a wave of productivity and creativity. Here are the seven ways I’ve stayed an optimist through this turbulent period:

1.  Fewer Conferences, More 1:1’s:   I’ve tried to turn the work from home thing to my advantage. When I reach out for a meeting, I ask people “Are you by chance also at risk of cabin fever?”  Many busy people who used to say “How’s six weeks from next Wednesday?” now immediately reply with “How about lunch tomorrow?”

2.  Taking Time to Get Personal:  Those meet-ups have been longer and more interesting. Yesterday I met with a senior banker who is usually up and out the door in 30 minutes. This time we talked for 90 minutes and covered topics (books, movies, our relationship with our siblings) that we’d never before had time for.

3.  Exercise Your Free Time:  No doubt work has been slower, but the winter weather in Hong Kong (cool and dry) has been fantastic for running, hiking and tennis. As I write this, I’ve exercised for 15 of the last 16 days and on that one day off got a 90 minute massage. I’ve also made each run or hike at least 30 minutes longer than normal.

4. Nature Beats Conference Rooms:  What the Japanese call Forest Bathing can lead to a de-cluttered brain and increased creativity. In fact, I wrote the first rough draft of this post on a two-hour hike while enjoying this inspiring view.  A vigorous hike defeated a days-long writers block.

5. Perspective is Everything:   I have tried to retain perspective by reminding myself that any inconveniences foisted upon a well-off expatriate like me are minor compared to those who don’t have access to world-class health care, a comfortable home to work out of, a gym where the equipment is being wiped down twice an hour, and the list goes on. Whinging about “first world problems” is counterproductive to one’s mental health and annoying to those around you.

6.  Firing Up the Brain:  Rather than over-investing in reading continuous newsfeeds (Pandemic! Trade Wars! Trump!), Amy and I have been stockpiling books, reading more than ever and even sharing out top recommendations with friends around the world.  I’m in awe of how much great writing that’s out there, and next month’s newsletter will include the Top Three Books of Q1.  Get excited, get very excited. 

7.  Play the Long Game:   As I think about the future of this wonderful city, I remember the old adage “Never make a long-term bet against the people of Hong Kong”. Once upon a time, God threw a bunch of random rocks into the middle of the South China Sea, and those were populated by refugees who inherited a land with no natural resources. Through hard work, commitment to education that is second to none, and an open trade and investment environment, they’ve created one of the world’s most open, vibrant and competitive economies.

Hong Kong will rise again! Meantime, I’m trying to stay high on life. Hope that’s the same for you! As always, please drop me a line if you have comments, feedback or ideas to share! And if you encourage a few friends to join my newsletter that would be further cause for optimism.

All the best, John

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