August Turak

Author Consultant Speaker

August Turak

AUGUST TURAK is a highly successful entrepreneur, award-winning author, speaker, and consultant. He has published many popular leadership articles for Forbes and is a former contributor for the BBC. He is the founder of the educational nonprofit the Self Knowledge Symposium Foundation (SKSF).

In 1996 Turak was the CEO of his own company when a skydiving accident triggered the emotional crisis or “Dark Night of the Soul” that sent him to Mepkin Abbey in search of the spiritual solace that he so desperately needed and that the monks so graciously provided. 

In 2004 Turak decided to enter the John Templeton Foundation’s Power of Purpose essay contest by answering the question in 3500 words or less: “What is the Purpose of Life?”  Though he had never written anything for publication before, his essay, Brother John- an essay about an actual Christmas Eve encounter at Mepkin Abbey- won the $100,000 grand prize.

When an article he wrote for Forbes called Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks went viral, it led it led to an invitation to become a leadership contributor at Forbes as well as an invitation from Columbia Business School Publishing to turn his article into a book.

This book, Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity uses 1000 years of Trappist business success, as well as Turak’s own experience as a highly successful entrepreneur, to demonstrate that Trappist monks are not successful in business despite adhering to only the highest ethical values but because they do.

Turak’s latest book, Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim and the Purpose of Life, combines his Templeton Prize winning essay with the illustrations of the award-winning artist, Glenn Harrington, to offer an inspirational message of meaning and purpose to a world that for so many seems to lack meaning and purpose.

When Turak is not hanging out with Trappist monks or working with his nonprofit, he lives and works on his 75-acre farm just outside Raleigh, NC.   

Recent Appearances/Events

Date Venue Address
Date: October 29, 2019
1:30pm -
Venue: yext ONWARD19 Conference Address: Marriott Marquis
New York, NY
Notes: On October 29–30. Yext will host ONWARD19 at the New York Marriott Marquis. More than 1,600 attendees will continue to explore the cutting edge of AI-powered digital discovery and the future of search. Attendees from a broad range of industries — including healthcare, insurance, and other financial services, retail, automotive, food services, and more — will take away a greater understanding of how to answer the questions that begin the customer journey, and actionable strategies for meeting consumers where they search. August Turak will attend.
Date: October 21, 2019
8:00am -
Venue: 2019 Principled Entrepreneurship Conference Address: Midtown Manhattan
New York City, NY
Notes: This is an annual event, uniting academic, business, and faith leaders to seek a just society through promotion of principled entrepreneurship. The Napa Institute and the Catholic University of America are excited to bring this conference to Midtown Manhattan. August will be attending.
Date: October 18, 2019
3:00pm -
Venue: 2019 Senior Fellows Retreat: Continuing the Leader's Journey Address: Camp Allen
Navasota, TX
Notes: August Turak will join Fellows and Senior Fellows to reconnect with the American Leadership Forum's core value of inner reflection and personal growth at the 2019 retreat. The overnight getaway will provide participants opportunities to reflect on their personal leadership journey. Fellows and Senior Fellows will have a chance to select workshops in areas they’d like to develop further. August Turak will lead a workshop as well as provide a keynote address and sit on a panel for presentations during ALF's 2019 Retreat.
Date: September 28, 2019
10:00am - 2:00am
Venue: CUA - Metropolitan School of Professional Studies: Expand Your Knowledge Base Address: Pryzbyla Center - Great Room
Washington, DC
Notes: August Turak will be the keynote speaker at Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS) Fall Networking Event: "Expand Your Knowledge Base" during Catholic University of America's Alumni Weekend (Cardinal Weekend).
Date: September 26, 2019
6:30am - 8:30am
Venue: Bravelove Cocktail Reception Address: The Yale Club
New York City
Notes: The Bravelove Cocktail Reception was hosted by Elise & Denise Gerber for awareness. Bravelove is a nonprofit focused on creating a pro-adoption movement dedicated to changing the perception of adoption by acknowledging birth moms for their brave decision. Bravelove's mission is to change the perception of adoption through honest, informative, and hopeful communication that conveys the heroism and bravery a birth mother displays when she places her child with a loving family through adoption.
Date: September 25, 2019
4:30pm - 6:30pm
Venue: Business Roundtable Discussion Address: Harvard Club
New York City
Notes: Business Roundtable Discussion on International Religious Freedom with U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback.
Date: August 25, 2019
3:30pm - 10:30pm
Venue: Christian Product Expo International 2019 Address: Embassy Suites
Murfreesboro, TN
Notes: August Turak will be attending an Author Signing Event for our book, "Brother John" on Sunday evening. This is where the Christian publishing industry does business and we are happy to be back there this year with our publisher, Larry Carpenter at Christian Book Services & Clovercroft Publishing.
Date: July 24, 2019
8:30am - 10:00pm
Venue: 2019 Napa Institute Summer Conference Address: The Meritage Resort & Spa
Napa, CA
Notes: August Turak will attend the Napa Institute's 9th Annual Summer Conference in July. This 2019 Napa Conference is a preeminent Catholic conference in the US, bringing together Catholic leaders for faith, fellowship and community, as we explore the theme of This Catholic Moment. Keynote speakers include His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, George Weigel, Jim Daly, Alan Sears, Fr. Robert Spitzer, Patrick Lencioni, Dr. Tim Gray and more.
Date: May 25, 2019
2:00pm -
Venue: The Authenticity Summit Address:
Notes: August Turak walks us through how others may lead us to the path that can change our lives and others, how life lessons and transformations can be unexpected, how we become our behavior and how life gives us "Happy Accidents" on The Authenticity Summit video series hosted by Kim McGuire.
Date: November 11, 2018
4:00pm - 6:00pm
Venue: Mepkin Abbey Donor Concert and Reception Address: 1098 Mepkin Abbey Rd.
Monks Corner, SC 29461
Notes: August will be attending this very special event not only as a donor to Mepkin Abbey; but also to celebrate the release of his new book, Brother John: A Monk, a Pilgrim, and the Purpose of Life. Mepkin Abbey has pre-purchased 500 copies of Brother John as thank you gifts for donors attending this celebration.
Date: October 23, 2018
8:00am - 10:00pm
Venue: yext ONWARD18 - Knowledge is Power Address: Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall
New York City
Notes: ONWARD brings together the smartest minds in marketing and technology to explore how AI, digital assistants, and intelligent services will shape our world in the years to come. Join Yext and experts from some of today’s leading brands, as we explore why Knowledge is Power at ONWARD18. August will be attending.
Date: October 10, 2018
6:30pm - 8:30pm
Venue: Greenwich Leadership Forum - Address: Location is TBD
Greenwich, CT
Notes: August Turak presents Business Success from Monastic Secrets GLF brings local business executives and leaders together once a month to engage each other and prominent outside business leaders in open and frank dialogue about the vital link between faith, leadership, and ethics. Led by David W. Miller, Ph.D., we engage in stimulating and meaningful dialogue.
Date: October 3, 2018
8:00am - 8:00pm
Venue: 2018 Principled Entrepreneurship™ Conference - Dignity of Work Address: Mayflower Hotel and The Catholic University of America
Washington, DC
Notes: Join the Napa Institute and the Busch School of Business for the Principled Entrepreneurship™ Conference focusing on the dignity of work as understood in light of Catholic social doctrine. August will be attending.
Date: October 2, 2018
7:00am - 10:00pm
Venue: Authentic Reform Address: JW Marriott
Washington, DC
Notes: Napa Institute is sponsoring a conference on authentic Catholic reform, October 2, 2018. We invite and encourage all Catholics to attend and take an active part in rebuilding confidence in our beloved Church as we call for a deep and authentic cleansing of American Catholic life. May God bless our shared efforts. August will be attending.
Date: August 1, 2018
7:00am - 7:00pm
Venue: Catholic Marketing Network Address: Lancaster County Convention Center
Lancaster, PA 17602
Notes: The Catholic Marketing Network (CMN) serves Catholic retailers and Catholic product suppliers by fostering the most effective production and distribution of Catholic literature and more; providing a common forum for the mutual interchange of ideas. August will be attending.
Date: July 31, 2018
3:00pm - 10:00pm
Venue: Catholic Writiers Conference Live! Address: Lancaster County Convention Center
Lancaster, PA 17602
Notes: The Catholic Writers Conference allows you to connect personally with Catholic publishers and retailers, learn more about the craft of writing, show your work, and network. August will be attending.
Date: July 11, 2018
8:00am - 8:00pm
Venue: 8th Annual NAPA Institute Conference Address: Meritage Resort & Spa
Napa, CA 94558
Notes: Spend a weekend in Napa exploring the Magisterium of Pope St. John Paul II, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of his election to the papacy, and dive deeper into the joys of Catholic Faith, Family and Love. August will be attending.
Date: July 9, 2018
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Venue: UNITE 2018 CBA's International Convention Address: Gaylord Opryland Convention Center
Nashville, TN 37214
Notes: The UNITE 2018 conference brings together Christian publishers, booksellers, authors and artists to learn and be challenged to look at their industry in a new and fresh way. August will be attending and appearing for a book signing.