August Turak

Author Consultant Speaker

Lecture Menu

What’s the Business of Business?

Leadership Lessons from the IBM Executive School

What makes a great leader? Is success a function of skills or something much bigger? Why is most leadership training a waste of money? How do we stop managing and start getting results? What is the teleocratic business model?

In 1979 August Turak moved in with Louis R. Mobley and his family to learn first-hand from this legendary founder and first director of the IBM Executive School. In this deeply personal and highly inspirational talk, Turak reveals the leadership secrets, now largely lost, that Mobley invented to transform IBM Corp. into the most successful company in the world for the next two decades. Using case studies drawn from his own highly successful career as an executive and entrepreneur, Turak shows participants how to apply these secrets for immediate bottom-line results.

What is the Warren Buffet Discount?

Making Money the Old Fashioned Way: Ethically

A litany of corporate scandals has convinced many Americans that there is something inherently unethical about capitalism and business. Even many business executives remain convinced that bottom line results implies a painful trade-off between maximizing profit and the highest ethical standards.

August Turak’s company was never involved in a law suit and collected virtually all its receivables without ever running a credit check. In this highly entertaining talk, Turak not only dispels the myth that ethics are incompatible with profit, but demonstrates that the trust that flows from ethical behavior is the most efficient, low cost, and potentially infinite money-making grease that any business can have. Along the way Turak explains why current ethical training for employees is ineffective, and introduces a methodology that works.

The New New Economy:

Transcending Capitalism or Why Adam Smith was Only Half Right

We are now more than two years into a worldwide economic crisis. But however distressing rising unemployment and plunging home prices are, what is worse is the sinking sense that we have run out of ideas. After spending much of the 20th century on disappointing even disastrous experiments with Nationalism, Fascism, Communism, and Socialism, the so-called Reagan Revolution was touted as the “final victory” of Capitalism. Yet barely 20 years later we are angrily attacking Capitalism and anxiously wondering “now what?”

In this talk, August Turak uses business examples as disparate as Trappist monasteries and Warren Buffet to present an ancient yet emergent economic model that transcends capitalism. Using examples and case studies, Turak presents a business model that addresses the contradictions of capitalism while preserving its productivity.

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks:

Why Silent Monks are Talking and CEOs are Listening

How do 20 aged monks working part time and in silence manage to run a portfolio of highly successful businesses?

Based on one the most critically acclaimed articles ever released on, Turak walks his audience through the 10 amazing secrets to why Trappist monks are such incredibly successful businessmen. In a gripping and moving way, Turak introduces us to the monks of Mepkin Abbey and shows us how to share in their incredible business success.

The Transformational Organization:

Passionate Profits through Passionate People

What do Trappist monasteries, The Marine Corp, Alcoholics Anonymous and the world’s greatest companies all have in common? Passionate and utterly committed people.

A business mantra is that talent is in short supply. Talent is not in short supply. Passion is. In this provocative talk, August Turak reveals the five ways in which companies kill passion in their people. Turak then unlocks the secrets to building and sustaining passion by offering people the opportunity to be transformed. The task of leadership is to build extraordinary organizations with ordinary people and Turak sends his audience home with all the tools necessary to do just that.

Aiming Past the Target:

The Critical Secret to Success

In archery we are taught to aim past the target. In golf for the back of the cup. In basketball the back of the rim. Yet all too often in business we aim for profit. Profit is not the goal of a business. Profit is merely the by-product of something much bigger and more important.

Using examples and case studies from his own career as a corporate executive and successful entrepreneur, August Turak takes his audience on a whirl wind tour of the critical mistakes that companies and individuals make when they fail to aim past the target, and offers a step by step approach to avoiding this critical pitfall on the road to success.

Umbrellas & SkyHooks:

Brother John and the Odyssey of Personal Transformation

One cold and rainy Christmas Eve at a Trappist monastery, an encounter with a silent monk under an umbrella launches August Turak on a wilderness journey of personal transformation. Based on Turak’s Templeton Prize winning essay, Brother John, this highly personal and deeply moving account is not only the story of one man’s rebirth and redemption but is an umbrella of hope and inspiration for others as well.


Making Meaning and Millions

August Turak started a company on a couple thousand dollars and sold it seven years later for millions. However, he accomplished this feat not despite his commitment to only the highest ethical, moral, and spiritual values but because of them. In this highly inspirational talk, Turak turns our work life into our life’s work and teaches us how to turn our longing for meaningful work into a crucial building block of success.

Selflessly Selling:

Elevators & Elevator Pitches – The Secrets to Selling Success

August Turak has over 30 years of sales and sales executive experience with companies like 3M, MTV Networks and as CEO of his own sales driven startup. Frequently featured in magazines like Selling, Fast Company, and Success, Turak uses an experiential and highly interactive approach to demonstrate the magic of Selfless Selling. By shattering many of the frames and boxes that stand between mediocre and outstanding sales performance, Turak offers a new and success tested method for mastering the world’s second oldest profession: sales.

Creating Successful Corporate Cultures:

Reaping Success by Living the Life

In August Turak’s highly acclaimed article on, Business Secrets of the Trappists, he credits his own business success to learning how to “stop managing people and start managing culture.” With passion accented by humor, Turak outlines the essentials that every successful business culture must have. Using examples as diverse as the monks of Mepkin Abbey and the IBM Executive School under his mentor, Louis Mobley, Turak teaches his audience how to build the kind of corporate culture that guarantees not only success but sustainable success.

So You Wanna Work for MTV?

How to guarantee a satisfying, successful career

In 1981 August Turak joined a fledgling start up that launched MTV: Music Television which quickly became Fortune magazine’s Breakthrough Product of the Year. From digging ditches on Interstate 79, to CEO of his own company, to a Templeton Prize winning author, Turak has enjoyed a remarkable and remarkably satisfying career. In this freewheeling, often humorous, and always entertaining talk, Turak shares his life secrets for finding a meaningful and satisfying career. Surprising and irreverent, Turak uses his own example to argue for an unconventional approach that questions many of the sacred cows that keep career books selling, career counselors busy, and the rest of us stuck in unsatisfying jobs.