Q&A with Aaron Hurst

We recently interviewed Aaron Hurst, author of the recently published The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community is Changing the World. Globally recognized entrepreneur and founder of Taproot Foundation, which helped create the $15 billion pro bono service market, Aaron argues in his latest book that the new driver of the American economy is to connect people to their purpose. 

How would you describe your professional purpose?

My imperative is to create communities that are empowered to realize their potential.

Thank you for providing many personal anecdotes in The Purpose Economy illustrating decisions that have shaped your career path and entrepreneurial outlook. 

What has been a prominent "butterfly decision" that you have taken, one that has unexpectedly transformed your path from one state to another by putting you through a cocoon phase of waiting so to speaking (and maybe even a bit of pain)? 

There are thousands of little butterfly decisions but the one that was perhaps most important was the decision to focus my time as an undergraduate on studying abroad and spending time volunteering in local prisons.  It helped me understand the world outside the classroom and inspired me to make an impact.

We're curious about your off the cuff reactions to each of the following buzz words.  What do you think of when you hear the word...


constant and desirable.


overused and underused and rarely used the right way.


overused and underused and rarely used the right way.


greatest source of hope for the world.

Constructive feedback changes depending on a person's stage of personal and professional maturity.  

What type of feedback do you find most useful for your continued motivation and growth today, and how does it differ from the feedback you preferred at earlier stages of your career?

Not sure it has changed.  I love constructive feedback, it just needs to follow the classic outline of being specific and actionable.  Otherwise it isn't constructive.  I have also come to put feedback increasingly in context and not just jump every time I hear something.

Putting aside your goal to be a published author of a book by the time you were 40! As an entrepreneur, what motivations spurred you to write The Purpose Economy?  

Specifically, what white space did you see or what need did you identify?  What role did timing play in your decision to articulate this movement now?

The Purpose Economy is the culmination of 10 years of research and experiences around the world and across sectors.  What I observed was that the world is radically changing around us and yet people weren't connecting the dots or finding shared language.  I wrote the book to help accelerate the change by providing a framework and language.  We are at that moment now where we need to see the big picture.

If you had a battle cry, what would it be?

Enjoy the moment.  

What are you reading right now?  Or, what reading has been put on pause because of the launch of your book!?  This could be a book, blog series, newspaper column. 

Yeah, I have been a little distracted over the last few weeks.  Enjoyed The Progress Principle and A More Beautiful Question recently.  I've also become a fan of Quartz.