Book Review – Work on Purpose – NextGen Keynote

**Lara Galinsky, the author of Work on Purpose, is a closing keynote speaker for our Next Generation of Government training summit on July 26-27. Full details at nextgengovt.com***

Every month, at least a half dozen folks reach out to me for informational interviews. In all of them, there is a common theme – they all want to work on issues that matter and make a real impact. However, that can be hard – making change in public sector can be hard, great ideas to improve public services can have trouble finding funding and business models, and it can be hard to do something that both soothes the soul and pays the bills.

That’s why I was really excited when I heard about the book Work on Purpose. This book is created by Lara Galinsky from Echoing Green, a great social entrepreneurship group that helps fund and support social innovators.

The book is basically a guide book on how to make an impact and work on purpose. It gives 5 great case studies of social entrepreneurs and tells their stories – the good times, the tough times, and how to find your calling. They include such founders as of One Acre Fund (which helps hungry farm families get out of poverty), Khmer Legacies (video history archive about Cambodian genocide), Hello Housing (affordable housing), and the Genocide Intervention Network

It’s a fun, quick read that should take about an hour.

After each chapter, they asked some really great questions to encourage folks to think down your path and where you could “work on purpose”:

-What moments from your childhood shaped what you think is important?

-When in your life have you felt out of whack?

-In those out of whack periods, what was out of balance? Were you following your heart? Your head?

-What would you do if you were not afraid of failing?

-What can you do that draws upon both your head and heart?

-Why do you do what you do?

-When have you felt “In the Zone” like you were doing exactly what you should be doing?

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Mie Miller

After reading this post on GovLoop this afternoon, I checked out the book online and decided to read it. Despite all the things that I planned for the day, I could not put down the book until I finished.

My eyes were watery as I imagined myself witnessing the poverty and other social issues described in the book: a mother in Africa feeding her five children the only meal of the day, a tiny cup of flour mixed with water, for example.

I think it’s so true that the perfect job is the one you do without pay. We can make a difference when we follow our heart, not money.