Zuck, Musk and a Request to Not Buy My Book

To whom it may concern,

I messed up.

I let my ego, my megalomanic desire for Planet on Purpose to be a huge success impede my judgment. I wanted it to be the clarion call of our times, to satisfy my deep longing to ignite a tsunami of purpose, to create a purposeful political, economic and cultural revolution, and pandered to Millenials by featuring Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg as purpose-driven leaders. I defined this pretty narrowly (purpose aware and embodied, heart-opened, world-wizened). In light of how Zuck and Musk are now being characterized by people who know them well and/or have interviewed their close associates, e.g., Roger McNamee (Zucked, 2019), Charles Duhigg (“Dr. Elon and Mr. Musk”, Wired, 12/13/18), it is becoming increasingly clear that their leadership is not purposeful, moral or worthy of praise.

Mea Culpa

I spent 5 years writing my book. To say that I was attached to accelerating the purpose movement and the book’s success is a gross understatement. In late 2017, as I was putting the finishing touches on it, I wanted to punch it up. I wanted to make it as Millenial-savory as Coachella and avocado toast, so I shined the spotlight on the then-iconic Millenial messiahs who talked a big purpose game, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. Inspired by their rhetoric and boldness, I included a half-dozen excerpts from Zuck’s 2017 Harvard Commencement Address, and listed Zuck and Musk (along with more seasoned leaders - Eileen Fisher, John Mackey, Oprah Winfrey and Yvon Chouinard) as examples of purpose-driven leaders.

I did zero primary research on Zuck or Musk, or any of the others for that matter, — this was a colossal fail on my part. I simply took their words as true and used them to advance my points. In light of the dehumanizing and undemocratic way they appear to run their businesses, this was not just wrong, but did a grave disservice to the book, my readers, the trust people have in me, the real purpose-driven leaders of the world, and the broader purpose movement. If there are any other impacts I have not addressed, please leave them as a comment below and I will address them.

I am sorry.

Although, after the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal (2 weeks after my book launched), I started work on the second edition, striking all Zuck references, and in April of last year, a month after the scandal, writing about how Facebook / Zuck could embrace this purpose crisis, this was too little, too late.

Going forward, here’s what you can count on me to do. Before shining the light on anyone as purposeful, I’ll do my research, get to know them and see how their purpose is actually showing up in their life and relationships. I’ll publish a 2nd edition of Planet on Purpose this year, not that I expect to sell any more copies of Planet on Purpose, but because it is my purpose to do so. I’ll post this article as a review on my Amazon book page and link to it from the book page on my personal website.

I ask for your forgiveness.

I ask that if you have not bought Planet on Purpose, don’t.

I ask that if you have bought it and are reading it, please stop or skip over or cross out any references to Zuck and Musk. Once the second edition is live, I’ll send it to you free of charge.

This is not to say I have ill will towards Zuck and Musk. I do see the goodness in them, in their ambitions and vision for the world and the positive impacts of their work. I also cannot appreciate the legal and financial pressures they face in bringing their visions to reality. I stand for them, like I stand for everyone else to discover, live and lead with their purpose in life. It is my hope that they do so soon, clean up their messes and properly join the movement as soul-initiated, purpose-embodied leaders.


Brandon Peele