Soundview Executive Book Summaries

The Power of Purpose

If you tuned in to our recent Soundview Live event with Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, you might have heard his comment on the need for purpose. Of the three elements that comprise Pink’s Motivation 3.0 concept, purpose is the one that, in my opinion, proves elusive for many individuals. As Baby Boomers progress to the latter stages of their lives and careers, the sense of purpose with which they entered public life is returning as they eye a future beyond the walls of an office. However, as Pink points out in Drive, “Boomers aren’t singing alone in their chorus of purpose. Joining them, and using the same hymnbook, are their sons and daughters — known as Generation Y, the millenials or the echo boomers.”

Pink’s argument that purpose looms large in the minds of the newest generation to enter the workforce has considerable support. Over the weekend, I stumbled across this piece in The Wall Street Journal about the percentage of Ivy League graduates who forgo the path to the corporate ranks in favor of the Teach for America program. Teach for America sends the pinnacle of America’s college students to teach in 100 of the lowest performing school districts in the United States. According to the Journal, the most recent group of applicants for the program included 12 percent of seniors due to graduate from Ivy League schools.

Take a moment and think about this premise: An Ivy League senior walks off the riser after receiving his or her diploma and approaches two doors. Behind one door is a position with a Fortune 500 company and a comfortable salary that bubbles beneath six figures. Behind the second door is a two-year stint in an environment where education has often been secondary to survival. When facing this decision, one out of every 10 Ivy League graduates are applying for the second option. Makes you think about the power of purpose, doesn’t it?

For more information on Daniel Pink’s books, as well as other Soundview Live events, visit us online at


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