Unorthodox meets Start with Why: how escaping a cult led Debbie Haski-Leventhal to become a ‘professor of purpose’ and master the art of finding personal meaning in life.

When she was five, tragedy prompted her parents to join Kabbalah, a cult-like sect of Judaism. They immersed themselves in it unreservedly – from its peculiar rituals (rolling in the snow naked to purify their sins) to the beauty of belonging to something greater than themselves. She left at eighteen – after years of abuse and living in communes in three countries – devastated and isolated, searching for meaning in her life.

Today, that woman is Professor Debbie Haski-Leventhal, who specialises in finding meaning in our personal and professional lives. 

In this book, Debbie shares her own and other people’s stories to explore ideas of purpose, impact, values, and resilience. She sheds light on the ‘meaning’ of meaningfulness, offers frameworks for meaningfulness in life, and suggests ways in which purpose can help make our lives and work more significant and valuable.

In the age of ‘The Great Resignation’, we’re all trying to discover a more deliberate and rewarding shape to our own lives. Debbie Haski-Leventhal is the perfect companion for the journey.

About the author(s)

If a fortune-teller told 19-year-old Debbie that she’d one day become a professor of purpose and impact, she’d have asked for a refund. A tragedy led her family to the Kabballah Centre – years before Madonna and other celebs joined it – where she grew up in a cult-like atmosphere until she managed to escape under threat of an arranged marriage. Higher education and volunteering transformed Debbie’s life, and she has since devoted her entire career to studying the pro-social behaviour of individuals and companies. Today, she is an awarded and well-published professor of business management and the MBA Director at Macquarie University, Australia. With over sixty academic articles, four books and a TED talk, she dedicates her teaching, research, and knowledge to creating impact and enabling others to find meaningfulness and purpose.  

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