Passion & Purpose

Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders

Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders (Harvard Business Review Press, 2011)

Globalization. Sustainability. Technology. Diversity. Learning. Convergence of the public and private sectors. These are the big issues on the minds of young leaders today—the challenges they most want to, and must, pursue.
In Passion and Purpose, dozens of recent Harvard Business School MBAs share personal stories on assuming the mantle of leadership in ways unlike any previous generation. In candid accounts of their successes and setbacks—from launching start-ups to taking on the family business to helping kids in the Arabian Gulf to harnessing new technology and developing clean energy—they reveal how the next generation of ideas, aspirations, and practices are shaping business and redefining leadership around the world.

Drawing on insights from a survey of 500 students from top U.S. business schools, Passion and Purpose provides an overview of big, hot-button issues, followed by firsthand accounts from young leaders who are tackling these issues head-on. Their personal stories are rounded out with broader perspectives from established luminaries in business, academia, and the public sector, including Dominic Barton (Managing Director of McKinsey & Company), Nitin Nohria (dean of Harvard Business School), David Gergen (CNN analyst, presidential advisor and director of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership), Carter Roberts (CEO of World Wildlife Fund), and many others.

Passion and Purpose offers profound insight into the values and vision of tomorrow’s leaders, and inspiration and ideas for all aspiring leaders who hope to lead change in the world. You can read more at the Passion & Purpose blog on

Reviews and recommendations: 

“…on the whole infectious …an upbeat, enjoyable read – as well as a useful one. ” – Emmanuelle Smith, Financial Times and the Los Angeles Times

“We’re introduced to a group of highly impressive MBAs who want to change the world for the better… The result is a surprisingly compelling array of vivid storytelling that reveals this generation’s ideas and aspirations.” “In the end, Coleman and his two buddies have pulled together a book that is less about mainstream MBA thinking than it is a clarion call to a less-traveled, yet potentially more impactful MBA path.” – John Byrne, Poets & Quants.

“Drawing on the personal stories of young leaders across the country, Passion and Purpose gives senior federal leaders insight into the values and visions of our future government leaders.” – Tom Fox, Washington Post.

“These crowdsourced stories from young MBAs (the book is also written by three MBA graduates from Harvard Business School) may provide encouragement to business leaders struggling with millennials in the workplace.” – Lauren Brussell, CIO Magazine

“A reassuring thought from Passion & Purpose: Stories from the best and brightest young business leaders by John Coleman, Daniel Gulati, and W. Oliver Segovia ( is that today’s young leaders will, over the coming few decades, successfully combine their interests across sectors, cross-pollinating previously tired industries with new insights. ” – D. Murali, BusinessLine

“Young people, elite and poor, Ivy League and uneducated, committed capitalist and dedicated altruist continue to astound. They draw inspiration from each other, teachers, role models, the world around them, and even the books they read to achieve amazing and revolutionary things. That should elicit a “gee-whiz,” even in the face of the harshest realities.” –  Constance DeVereaux, Flagstaff Business News

“Leaders in each generation face several challenges that are quite different from those that confronted leaders in earlier generations and are also quite different from those that leaders in future generations will encounter. It was ever thus and always will be true. That is one of several reasons why I think so highly of this book.” – Bob Morris

“Each of the sections of the book devoted to a theme ends with an interview of a senior leader. The stars of the book, however, are the young leaders whose active “passion and purpose” make a compelling case for the connection between business success and building a better world.” Soundview Executive Book Summaries

In the News: 

“Fashion a Passion-Driven Life Realize Your Purpose and Feed Your Soul” Natural Awakenings

“Interview with John Coleman” 33voices.

Passion & Purpose on the JPMorgan 2012 Summer Reading List, cited at CNBC, Bloomberg, Business Insider,  and elsewhere

“Take Ownership of Your Actions by Taking Responsibility” John Coleman,

“For Those Who Want to Lead, Read” John Coleman,

“The Bad Habits You Learn in School” John Coleman,

“How Two Career Couples Stay Happy” Jackie Coleman and John Coleman, 

“Five Tips for Your First Job” John Coleman,

“Democracy’s Debt Dilemma” John Coleman,

“A Gateway to a Career Through Volunteering” Eilene Zimmerman, The NewYork Times.

John Coleman at the National Association of Broadcasters, 2012

“Passion & Purpose” Panel Discussion with David Gergen, Bill George, Katie Laidlaw, Jake Cusack, and John Coleman at Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership

“Enhance your Overseas Experiences” John Coleman and Bill George,

“Faced with Distraction, We Need Willpower” John Coleman,

“Diversify Your Dreams” – Daniel Gulati,

“Your Friends are Now Your Customers” – Daniel Gulati,

“A matter of ‘false choices'” –

“Putting Ghosts to Rest: How cows and co-ops are paving the way for genuine reconciliation in Rwanda” – Chris Maloney, Harvard Business School Alumni Bulletin

“Floating above the boxes” – Umaimah Mendhro, Stanford Social Innovation Review

“Loans, Relays, and the Power of Community: How Relay Rides Uses Technology for Social Good” – Shelby Clark, Fast Company

Businessweek’s “New Business Books” 

“Five Resolutions for Aspiring Leaders” – John Coleman, Bill George, HBR, Businessweek, Huffington Post,

“Hope for the Holidays” -John Coleman, Bill George, Huffington Post,

“What Young Leaders Want” – HBR (slideshow)

“What Motivates Tomorrow’s Leaders” John Coleman, Umiamah Mendhro, Rye Barcott, Patrick Chun, HBR (podcast)

“Purpose as a Compass” – John Coleman, BigThink

“Facebook is Making Us Miserable” – Daniel Gulati, HBR, Huffington Post,

“To Grow, Leave What You Know Behind” – John Coleman, HBR

“Three Ways Overcome Career Anxiety” -Daniel Gulati, HBR

” The Auto Industry Embraces its Own Disruption” – Shelby Clark, HBR

“Building a Mobile App is Not a Mobile Strategy” – Jason Gurwin, HBR

“Fighting Against Veteran Unemployment” – Rye Barcott, HBR

“Creating Shared Value with a Trampoline Approach” – Valerie Bockstette, HBR

“Leadership’s New Direction” – John Coleman, Daniel Gulati, Oliver Segovia, HBR

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