Books about Purpose in Business

Books about Purpose-driven Companies

What KonMari Stands For

Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo has been listed as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in 2015. At the core of her tidying method and philosophy is the idea of sparking joy, an expression you might have come across over the past few years. After her Japanese bestseller book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has been translated in various languages, she had opportunities to go abroad and see houses and families around the world.

According to this Japanese interview , it is during this time that her desire to contribute to the world through tidying up grew stronger, which she captures in the purposeful expression of Organizing the World. She elaborates her purpose below.


Our goal is to help more people tidy their spaces by choosing joy, and we are committed to developing the simplest and most effective tools to help you get there.

Bringing the mission to life
To bring the mission to life, her company does three main things.

  1. Her books
  2. Her own line of products such as these storage boxes (current sold out)
  3. Seminars including ones that trains and certifies KonMari Consultants

She also has a Netflix show released in last month, which has made some noise in social media. Here’s an interview from LA Times where you can learn more about the show as well as her origins.

On a related note
This method-centered business model method brings to mind David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) company. His company has a David Allen Academy which certifies coaches and trainers on his time management method. This model is fascinating as the methodology is given away; you can learn the essentials from the Internet or buy the book, which doesn’t break the bank. The secret ingredient of the business, however, is sustained by a network/platform/community built around this method.

Speaking of sparking joy and decluttering, I think we’re seeing a movement towards this on the digital sides of things as well. Cal Newport, author of Deep Work’s, upcoming book Digital Minimalism is about this.

Purpose Link of the Week
10 Steps to Creating Core Values That Your Company Lives By A blog post from the folks at Delivering Happiness about how to create core values with a simple and clear roadmap infographic.

MUTEKI Brands - Lessons From In-N-Out Burgers, Trader Joe's And Ikea On How We Can Make Our Own Brands More Invincible.

This post is the introduction of a new business book I’m working on. Enjoy.

We occasionally discover great and inspiring brands, but every once in a while, we come across a very special kind of brand.

Where other brands scramble to adapt to the latest trends and adopt the latest technologies and tactics, these brands grow and innovate on their own terms. While others respond to pressures of competition and the rapid change in the environment, these companies stick to the basics and focus on what they do best. These are the companies that stay calm and carry on no matter how strong the winds are and how bad the weather is.

These brands are anchored. They are confident. Why? Because their customers are like diehard fans of sport teams; they exhibit extreme loyalty to these brands. These brands captivate their hearts and fully earn their trust. Their customers are not just customers, they are their tribe.

I'm sure you've encountered a few brands like this. Here's three I've discovered.

Consider the California burger chain that only added two additional items (lemonade and hot cocoa) to their already simple menu of less than 10 items in the last 20 years. Yet, this mini chain is considered a must-go place when visiting California by many and its drive-thru always has a line of cars whether it’s twelve in the afternoon or twelve in the midnight.

Or take the US supermarket where Canadians will drive across the country border to purchase items from the store. While other supermarkets provide value by curating various brands of products, surprisingly, this supermarket’s offering is 90% private label.

Lastly consider the furniture franchise where people line up when a new store opens. (This was way before Apple Store lines were a thing.) The conventional rule is to give products friendly names, but for this furniture franchise, their product names are so difficult to pronounce that they got made fun of in a hit super hero movie.)

These companies defy conventional thinking. It’s as if the rules of the playground don’t apply to them. They are the tortoises of the Aesop fable we all know; they win the race by being slow and steady. They win by moving forward at their own pace and terms toward the finish line.

I call these companies MUTEKI brands.

MUTEKI means “invincible” in Japanese. It is a Japanese word made up of two characters: “no” and “enemy,” literally meaning having no one that can rival you.

What makes MUTEKI brands different? What sets them apart? What is their secret? That is what I attempt to answer in this book.

Here’s what you’ll learn

In this book, we will explore three MUTEKI brands: the California hamburger chain In-N-Out Burgers, the US super market chain Trader Joe’s, and the Swedish furniture franchise IKEA. Through detailed case studies, you will gain insights on how you can make your own brand more invincible.

You will discover:

  • how these companies cultivate their culture

  • what makes their culture unique

  • their business model and strategy

  • their key success factors

  • takeaways and best practices for building invincible brands

These brands have inspired me and delighted me, and I can’t be more excited to share with you what’s going behind the scenes that makes them MUTEKI.

Thank you for reading. I'll share more contents as I finish them here.

If you’d like to gets updates on my progress with this book, you can subscribe to my Built On Purpose Newsletter, which introduces you to a purpose-driven company every other week.

What Weight Watchers stand for and how they connect purpose to strategy

The 55-year-old company Weight Watchers (a company that offers a diet program to members in over 30 different countries)recently went through a rebranding transformation to reposition themselves in the wellness domain with help from SYPartners.

Similar to how IBM rebranded themselves from International Business Machines into their famous initials, Weight Watchers changed their name to WW. During this process, they also re-articulated their purpose.

What WW stands for

We inspire health habits for real life.
For people, families, communities, the world—for everyone.

To create a world where wellness is accessible to all, not just the few.

Here’s an article on Fortune with an interview from WW’s CEO talking about their brand purpose and the importance of purpose.

You can also find their purpose film on their about page. And if you like to learn a bit more about their CEO and the transformation, here’s an insightful read about Weight Watchers over at New York Times.

I also encourage you to check out their Impact Manifesto, which not only explains their purpose, 3-year goals, and key strategic elements to realize them, but also a purpose filter (a tool for employees to make purpose-driven decisions).

Finding Purpose and Putting it in Action

As I mentioned above, WW worked with SYPartners for the transformation. SYPartners is known for their purpose-centered approach in helping organizations change.

Although I haven’t found any details on how SYPartners helped WW rediscover their purpose, SYPartners chairman and founder Keith Yamashita wrote a short essay titled Finding Your Purpose and Living It in the book, Make Your Mark: The Creative’s Guide to Building a Business with Impact . Though it’s from four years ago the contents are still relevant as ever. The essay covers what purpose is, how to find it and put it in to action. (If you have an Amazon Unlimited account, you can access it for free.)

[eBook] How purpose really affects companies

My friend Mike Freedman and his team in South Africa has been helping organizations with purpose for 20 years. They’ve recently came out with a beautiful report about results from a research they did with their clients. It’s filled with insight and you can find the report at this link directly for free without any sign ups or registration.

Here’s what Mike found out:

While there are some challenges, notably making purpose meaningful to all levels of an organisation, the results are pleasingly positive. The spur to innovation is particularly heartening.


The purpose of first responders

Recently I’ve been watching the TV series 9-1-1, an American drama about first responders in Los Angeles. The ninth episode of the second season was about how one character found their purpose as a first responder.

There was this quote about the purpose of first responders that I found moving and I’d like to share it with you.

We are born with innocence. Then, as we grow we are cursed with the question why? Why are we here? Is it all just chaos? Or do we have a purpose? I was one of the lucky ones who found an answer to that question. My curse was lifted and replaced with a gift of certainty.

Why am I here? Because when you are scared, when you are hurt, and when you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the smoke is too thick to breathe, or it hurts too much to move, or it looks like you might lose someone you love, when it’s your turn to have the worst day of your life, I am here to be the first one there to help. I am here to stand between you and the chaos. I am a first responder. That is my purpose. And I’m always just a phone call away.

Template for Purpose-driven Marketing Strategy

You’ve probably heard about Kotler’s famous marketing mix framework. The one with 4Ps - Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.

But did you know that Kotler updated this framework to 5Ps? What could the fifth P be?

Yes, you guessed it, PURPOSE.

Here’s him on record at a talk during his visit to JRE Group of Institutions a few years ago:

I’ve added to the 4P's a new P. You know the 4P’s is what marketers put together in a marketing plan; they have to describe the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. So the fifth I’ve added is purpose.

When I work with clients, instead of using the usual 4Ps as a framework, I use the new updated 5P framework. I recently created a template to help my clients’ plan their marketing strategy, and I’d like to share it with you.

You can download it using this link.