Inner Mastery, Outer Impact

How Your Five Core Energies Hold the Key to Success


By Hitendra Wadhwa, PhD

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Based on his highly popular Columbia Business School course “Personal Leadership & Success”, Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa shares key principles for how to pursue success by letting your true self shine through in everything you do.

In our pursuit of success, we often struggle to balance the world’s demands with our own dreams. Some of us pursue Outer Success, wanting to be liked and loved, supported and promoted. But in our quest for worldly glory, we may ignore the subtle stirring of our spirit, waking up one day to realize just how far we have drifted from our personal ideals. Others among us seek Inner Success, wanting the freedom to pursue our own calling. But in our quest to be true to ourselves, we may end up hurting, disappointing, or antagonizing others, straining relationships and being sidelined.

It seems that our drives for Outer and Inner Success are destined to clash. But perhaps that’s only because we’ve been searching for success in the wrong places. We can pursue from the place where our greatest potential is held, our Inner Core, by activating Five Core Energies: Purpose, Wisdom, Growth, Love, and Self-Realization.

Through extensive scientific research and masterful storytelling about exemplary figures like Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Nelson Mandela—and everyday heroes drawn from Dr. Hitendra Wadhwa’s class at Columbia Business School and client workshops at Mentora Institute—readers arrive at timeless principles of success in life and leadership. Empowered by your Five Core Energies, you discover how to create outer impact from a place of inner mastery.

With a PhD in Management Science from MIT and a lifelong study of the world’s mystic traditions, Wadhwa brings a mathematician’s rigor and a truth-seeker’s spirit to some of today’s most vexing questions about authenticity, success, leadership, and human potential. This book shows how by activating your Inner Core and expressing it in everything you do, you create the conditions where Inner Success and Outer Success can flourish in mutual harmony.



You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself.

—Leonardo da Vinci


One day, in the pre-internet age, I drove from my home in Palo Alto to Yosemite National Park upon the invitation of two friends who were camping there. This was going to be my first time at Yosemite. I had not seen any photos of the park, so I had no idea what to expect. It was dark by the time I reached its gates. I was greeted by park rangers and given a map. A long and winding road took me to the valley within. As I drove the final stretch, a blanket of peace fell over me. My spirit began to soar, and my thoughts became clearer. Nature—with its gurgling brooks, rustling leaves, and starlit sky—was casting a spell. I arrived at my friends’ campground in the pitch of darkness and was soon happily asleep, imagining we were in a lush meadow surrounded by hills. When I awoke and walked out of my tent at dawn the next morning, I was instantly awestruck. Towering, steep, barren rock formations shooting up toward the skies from everywhere, a waterfall roaring down from one of the mountains, the color green taking on a thousand hues, and vistas upon vistas—it was nature at its rapturous best. I had no idea this was the paradise I had entered the night before and so casually slept in. The sheer splendor of Yosemite Valley was breathtaking, and the feelings of grandeur and beauty it evoked have never left me. I recall feeling like I was in the presence of something divine.

Now you have opened this book to go on a drive of your own, with me as your guide. Our path may be a bit rugged and sometimes winding, and we may not see much of anything for a while. But what if I told you that there is a wealth of peace, wisdom, love, and joy that awaits you at our destination, your Inner Core? That whatever glimpses you get along the way, the little insights and inspirations, are but a drop in the grand ocean that lies in wait at the very center of your being? That this Core already exists within you, ready to offer its treasures whenever you awaken to its presence? That discovering it will be even more awe inspiring than arriving in Yosemite Valley? I have struggled to find a way to put this promise in words, so instead I thought of sharing the feeling of transcendence I experienced that magical morning at Yosemite. Let our journey begin.


On one fateful day in the classroom, I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. It wasn’t a professor who helped me get there; it was a student. You see, I was the professor.

My search for a lifelong passion had already taken me down three paths—mathematics, management consulting, and entrepreneurship—by the time I joined the Columbia Business School faculty in 2004. It was now December 2005, and I was wrapping up my fall semester course on marketing strategy. I had developed a strong bond with my students, and recognizing that I might not see them again after the course ended, I felt a keen desire to impart to them the most valuable guidance I could. So before concluding my final lecture, I shared three personal stories and the lessons I’d learned from them. After class, a student, Min-Jun, came up to me and said, “Professor, thank you for your time with us this semester. But most of all, thank you for your personal stories today. Those were for me the most valuable learnings from the course.”

I was happy, and dumbstruck. Through this parting comment, Min-Jun had confirmed what I’d long felt as a nagging suspicion—that there was a big hole in what we were teaching at business school. We were teaching how to grow a startup, a product, an investment, or a new business idea to its full potential. But we were not teaching how to grow your own self to your full potential. We were teaching how to direct others, change others, motivate others, influence others, and inspire others. But we were not teaching how to direct yourself, change yourself, motivate yourself, influence yourself, and inspire yourself. We were teaching how to lead everyone else, but not how to lead yourself.

“Hitendra,” I told myself that day, “this is what you want to research and teach in the years ahead.”

Eighteen months later, after I had conducted extensive research, delivered a series of seminars, and built a whole new curriculum, Columbia allowed me to take a professional leap by formally offering a new course called Personal Leadership and Success. For both me and Columbia this was a radical experiment. As I prepared to deliver my first class in the course in the summer of 2007, my mind retraced the steps that had brought me to this point.


I was ten years old when I came across the story of the Indian emperor Ashoka. He ascended to the throne after killing his brothers. As king, he waged war upon bloody war to bring other kingdoms under his subjugation, building a vast empire that swept across the Indian subcontinent. But that is not why he is revered by the people of India.

One day, Ashoka stepped on the battlefield to witness the ravages of war. As he saw the wounded and the dead, the wailing widows and the orphans, his heart melted. He realized the folly of his ways and committed to never waging another war. He still planned to pursue success, but not the kind of success he had chased until that moment. He spent the rest of his life using his wealth to serve his people and propagate spiritual understanding throughout his kingdom. It is this reformed Ashoka—not the rapacious Ashoka—who reigns supreme in the hearts of Indians more than two thousand years after his death. He is commonly known as Ashoka the Great.

When I was a ten-year-old, my fascination with Ashoka stemmed from neither his former ferocity nor his latter nobility, but rather from his capacity to transform himself, in one short life, from one to the other. It made me wonder. Do I, too, possess seeds of remarkable transformation within myself? What is the greatest version of me that I could be?

Ever since then, I have had a deep and abiding interest in exploring the highest achievements in human life, and the inner and outer steps we can take to get there. India, the country of my birth, provided fertile soil for such tilling. It was in this land that timeless truth-seekers forged the discipline of yoga, which cultivates the potential we all possess for perfection in action, thought, feeling, and spirit. It was in this land that a privileged prince renounced his luxuries and slipped out of his palace to embark on a lifelong quest for enlightenment, transforming himself into the Buddha. It was in this land that a remarkable lineage of ten spiritual teachers distilled the notion of an ideal life into the simple, devotional, and service-oriented faith of Sikhism. And it was in this same land where another great faith, Jainism, perfected nonviolence into a discipline that could be practiced not only with other humans, but with all living beings; not only in action, but also in speech, thought, and intention. India has from ancient times sought to map the contours of human potential, only to discover that there are no limits to it at all.

And whenever Indian civilization has encountered the prickly strands of foreign faiths, it has happily woven their finest threads into its own spiritual fabric. The Sufis, practitioners of a mystical branch of Islam, brought their intoxicating poetry and music to India, illuminating the human heart’s capacity for a pure, universal, ever-expanding form of love, and fostering an even more mystical path by fusing their faith with India’s. Mahatma Gandhi’s epochal movement against British rule was as deeply influenced by Christ’s teachings of love and forgiveness and the American Transcendentalists’ teachings of civil disobedience as by the Hindu prophet Krishna’s teachings of nonattachment to the fruits of one’s labor. Perhaps it is this spiritual immersion that moved Martin Luther King Jr., on his sole visit to India, to say, “To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim.”

For me, growing up in India was like partaking every day in a sumptuous feast of spirit. From childhood on, thanks to the retreats my family attended and the spiritual literature on my father’s bookshelf, I developed certain inner and outer routines of my own—an irregular meditation practice, late-night conversations with the universe, and a sampling of world scriptures, philosophies, and truth-seekers’ journeys—that made me keenly aware of a life beyond the material and the everyday.

In high school, I dove avidly into the study of psychology to advance what I’d learned of human nature from faith and philosophy. I thought this might be the route to the transformation I was seeking. But I struggled to connect with the subject. At that time, in the 1980s, psychology was focused on the darkness within us and not the light—on schizophrenia, depression, and trauma, not genius, joy, and flourishing. So I gave up on my plan to major in psychology in college. I made the exploration of my highest potential a quiet, inner pursuit, while on the outside I got swept up in a swirl of ambition to excel and succeed. By my mid-thirties, I had graduated with an MBA and a PhD, worked as a management consultant, founded and led (and two years later, much humbled, bore witness to a fire sale of) a Web 1.0 tech startup in Silicon Valley, and taken on a teaching career at Columbia Business School. From the outside, I was inhabiting a gilded world. But from within, I had a gnawing feeling that my life might hurtle toward its final act without my ever having come close to living it.

So I unsheathed the soul-searching swords I had acquired over the years—meditation, writing, reflection, retreats, and conversations with truth-seeking monks—and sent them to battle with that ultimate question, “What should I do with my life?” The answer was vague at first. It took a few years to come into sharper relief, but when it did, it was resoundingly clear. I wanted to dissolve the boundaries between my inner life and outer life, and translate my passion for pursuing my highest potential into a teaching that could help others approach their own. Case closed. I had finally, with my hair now more salt than pepper, figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. After my excursions into mathematics, consulting, and entrepreneurship, I had come back full circle to the same question that I had been so drawn to as a ten-year-old: What is the highest peak one can scale in a well-trekked life?

But in summer 2007, while I was awaiting news on the enrollments in my Personal Leadership and Success course, I had to wonder: Did other people share that questing spirit? How many Columbia MBAs would find it worthwhile to take such a class?

Right from its inaugural semester, Personal Leadership and Success ended up being oversubscribed, and multiple sections were added over time. The parallel tracks of my inner and outer journeys were now finally converging. My private passion became my public profession.

Over the last fifteen years, at Columbia and at the Mentora Institute, which I founded in 2011 to further disseminate these teachings to organizations worldwide, twenty thousand participants across forty-plus countries—including senior executives, managers, entrepreneurs, investment bankers, doctors, consultants, MBA students, school superintendents and principals, the formerly incarcerated, social workers, church ministers, undergraduates, high-schoolers, and retirees—have gone through a version of this class and applied its lessons to their life and work. During this period, I’ve experienced the truth in the statement “When one teaches, two learn.” The questions, challenges, insights, and real-life stories these participants have shared have not simply enriched my teachings—they have enriched me. And for that, I tip my hat to each of them.


My goal in this book is to help us find universal laws of human nature that can guide us to our true nature—our highest potential—and to demonstrate that when we live in harmony with these laws, we create the conditions for outer success and impact. We will arrive at these laws by studying the common ground that is emerging between ancient wisdom, drawn from the great scriptures, and the science of human nature, drawn from psychology, psychotherapy, neuroscience, sociology, behavioral economics, and medicine. When you come across statements like “Science has shown…,” “Research shows…,” or “A scientific experiment…,” you will find corresponding references in the Sources section at the end of the book. I have benefited greatly from the dialogs and partnerships I’ve had over the last sixteen years with leading experts on the fast-evolving science of human nature, including David Burns, Dan Siegel, Richie Davidson, Angela Duckworth, Albert Bandura, Carol Dweck, Amy Edmondson, James Doty, Jamil Zaki, and Scott Barry Kaufman. I also offer stories from the lives of participants who have taken my classes and workshops that exemplify the principles in this book.i Occasionally, I share my own personal journey.

And finally, I draw from my research of transformative figures from history—people who have led storied lives, pursued noble causes, and inspired others to achieve great things. When we hear anecdotes from the lives of those who inspire us, we unconsciously start to walk in their shoes. We are transported to their time and place, and their story becomes our story. We start to bring them into our world to inform and inspire our own choices. Research shows that in your day-to-day moments, if you bring a role model to mind who exemplifies a certain quality you are inspired by, you are more likely to act out that quality yourself. If, for instance, you admire your mother for her compassion, then if you think of your mother when you are interacting with someone in need, you are more likely to act compassionately.

An individual doesn’t have to be perfect for them to inspire us or be worthy of emulation. Arya shared the following story in one of my workshops:

I worked very hard for two years in my early twenties to get selected for the coveted civil service in my country. I was devastated when I didn’t make it. I became depressed and lost all motivation to pursue a career. After a few months, I started to notice that my dog, Pluto, was becoming blind. He would walk around the house bumping into objects, struggling to get to his food bowl or to the family. And yet I noticed he did not lose his zest for life--he continued to wag his tail all the time and walk around friskily. It woke me up. “If Pluto can be so inspired to seize each day even while he is losing his sight,” I asked myself, “then how can I be losing my motivation over this one setback? I still have so much of life ahead of me!” Pluto cured me of my depression.

Pluto did not need to be perfect to inspire Arya. Heck, he didn’t even need to be a human being.

In Part Two of the book I will showcase the Inner Mastery, Outer Impact journeys of five inspiring figures from history: Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and Gandhi. On the surface, there’s not much in common between these people and you. They lived in different times, played different roles, and likely had different personalities from you. And yet if you expand your thinking about them, you will see that they were, like you and me, on a human journey. They had their dreams, like we have ours. They had their failings and failures, like we have ours. There were a lot of things not in their control. And yet they kept going and growing, and that’s what made the paths they took increasingly luminous over the course of their lives. I hope to show you some of the small steps these five individuals took.

But there is an even more central member of our cast I want to introduce to you now.


Take a moment to identify your favorite hero.

You likely haven’t cited the most important hero in your life—the one who Ben, a successful finance professional in his late thirties, introduced to my executive MBA class one day. Here is Ben’s story:

When I was fourteen, I got struck by cancer. I was a fighter, and I was able to fight it off with the help of the right therapies. It was a tough period, but I came out victorious. I returned to school and gradually picked up the pieces of my life. It felt good to beat cancer.

Then, at sixteen, the cancer came back. This time, I felt totally sapped of spirit and energy. Another round of cancer therapies started, and I just couldn’t muster up the strength to fight again. This time cancer was winning.

One day, my mother took my hand in her hand and looked lovingly into my eyes. “Son, I want to tell you a story about your father. Everything you know about him has come through my stories since he died before you were born, and this is one story I have not shared with you so far. It was my birthday, and he came home with a big smile on his face. He had a surprise for me, he said. We got in our car and he drove me up the highway. We stopped at a car dealership. And then it dawned on me. He was going to buy me the car of my dreams! This was the car I had dearly wanted for so long. He had been saving up for it quietly, and now he was going to give me this beautiful birthday gift. I was so happy that day.

“We returned to our old car, for he wanted us to drive home sitting together in the same car. We were pulling the new car with some chains attached to the bumper of our old car. As we were driving down the highway, the chains started to loosen up a bit, so he stopped the car on a side lane and got out to fix it. Then, suddenly, BANG! I looked back in horror. A truck had crashed into our new car from the back, and your father had been crushed in between our old car and the new one. He was dead. I have never shared with you before the circumstances of his death, and now you know.

“I was in shock, and I felt a deep sense of despair. I opened the door, and I was about to walk into the highway, intent on getting hit by a passing vehicle so that I, too, would be dead. There was no point living any more.

“And then I felt this little kick in my womb. It was you. It was as though you were telling me, ‘Mom, don’t take your own life. I know this is a terrible thing to happen. You have lost your husband, and I my father, and we will always grieve our loss. But we will survive, and one day we will even thrive. So stay back here with me, and keep your hope alive.’

“Son, that day, you were my hero. You saved me from taking my own life. And ever since then, you have been my hero. There have been so many times when I have leaned on you for wisdom and strength and grace. And today,” she said, squeezing my hand, “I again need you to be my hero. I want you to stay in this fight. I want you to win again. I want you to be back in the arena of life and grow into the wonderful man I have seen in you from the time you were not even born.”

This story, and my mother’s appeal, was like a bolt from the blue. I found a surge of strength within me. I kept my spirits high. I regained my hope for the future. And I survived cancer, for a second time. It has never returned, and I have been healthy ever since.

I share this story today because I want all of you to know that just as I have been a hero in my mother’s life, you, too, are a hero in some people’s lives. You owe it to them to be your best self, to fight the good fight, to approach your highest potential.

I came to Columbia thinking it was my responsibility to shine a light for my students on the big questions in life, only to discover, through stories like Ben’s, that this light is already present within us all. This inner light is what all the great ones have sought, within themselves and within humanity. At the height of America’s gravest national crisis, the Civil War, as President Lincoln faced fierce criticism from all corners of the country, he once reflected, “It is my ambition and desire to administer the affairs of the government [such] that if at the end I should have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend remaining and that one shall be down inside of me.”

It is my hope that by the end of the journey we are on in this book, you, too, will form an abiding kinship with the most important hero in your life: the friend down inside you, your own true self.


i When I use only a first name for a former participant, it means the name has been changed to preserve the person’s confidentiality. When I use both a first and last name, it is the individual’s real name.

Part One


At the very center of the sun is what scientists call its core. The core represents only 1 percent of the sun’s volume. Remarkably so, this 1 percent is responsible for 99 percent of the energy the sun generates.

What if this were true of you as well? What if, at the very center of your being, lay your Inner Core, and this 1 percent of you was responsible for 99 percent of your potential, or perhaps even more?

Chapter 1


Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely; or to be that thing which is the natural and proper object of love.… He desires, not only praise, but praiseworthiness; or to be that thing which, though it should be praised by nobody, is, however, the natural and proper object of praise.

—Adam Smith


Alfred was a scientist, engineer, inventor, and businessman who by the time he was fifty-five had invented a very important technology, patented it, commercialized it for use in many industries, and become immensely wealthy. By all conventional measures, Alfred was a success. But one day in 1888 his comfortable world was shaken when he woke up to read his own obituary in the newspapers. The newspapers reported him dead; in actuality, it was his twin brother, Ludwig, who had died the previous day.

But what was even more of a shock to Alfred was to read what a French newspaper wrote about him. Under the headline “The Merchant of Death Is Dead,” the obituary said, “The man who was responsible for killing more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”

Alfred’s invention was dynamite, and it was being deployed in construction and mining but also in warfare. Alfred was shocked to realize that this was how the world was going to remember him. He began pouring his energy and wealth into creating the legacy he wanted for himself, the legacy we actually remember him for: the Nobel Prizes that are awarded to, according to Alfred’s will, “those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind.”

For the Alfred in our story is none other than Alfred Nobel.

Eight years after reading his own obituary and changing his life’s direction, he was dead—truly dead. Few people in the world today remember him for what he did to earn the moniker “the merchant of death”; most remember him for what he created in the final stage of his life: the institution of the Nobel Prize. Never believe it is too late to turn your life in the direction of the legacy you wish to leave.

But what Alfred Nobel achieved represents only half the glory you can pursue. Bronnie Ware’s story reveals the other half.


A palliative care nurse, Bronnie wrote a blog in 2009 in which she shared a powerful finding about her experiences in caring for the dying during their last few weeks. She had made it a practice, over the years, to ask them, “What is your biggest regret in life?” and her blog was about the five most common regrets of the dying. What do you think is number one on that list?

Let me first tell you what it is not. It is not, like what most people imagine, “I wish I had worked less,” or “I wish I had spent more time with family,” or “I wish I had been more successful,” or “I wish I could leave behind a better legacy.”

Instead, it is “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

It is as though you have been toiling, year upon year, to be an accomplished actor on the stage of life, under the watchful gaze of an audience whose validation you ardently seek—an audience that includes your parents, siblings, partner, children, friends, mentors, associates, superiors, the media, and the community. The curtain falls and you stride back onstage, hoping for a standing ovation, but as you take your final bow and the crowd fades away, you suddenly realize that there is only one person whose applause you have hungered for—yourself.

Alfred Nobel’s path was the path of outer success, one that at the time of his passing would have made the world proclaim, “This was a life well lived!” But Bronnie Ware points us to the path of inner success, one that at the time of your passing would make you proclaim, “This was a life well lived!”

Consciously or unconsciously, we are all seeking both inner and outer success. When we experience an alignment between our outer ambitions and our inner self, we feel energized, committed, at peace, fulfilled, integrated, understood, and validated for who we are. Our inner and outer worlds are in harmony.

But finding that harmony requires work.



  • “Reading a book is like having a conversation with an author. As a leader--and as a person--sit down with Hitendra for the conversation Inner Mastery, Outer Impact. You'll find yourself in dialogue with a wise and wonderful expert who has devoted himself to understanding, and explaining, why and how when you grow as a person, you grow as a leader.”—Angela Duckworth, NYT Bestselling Author of Grit
  • "In this inspiring and energizing book, Hitendra Wadhwa ponders a question truth-seekers have asked for millennia: How can we find our true selves? His answers in Inner Mastery are clear, hopeful, and accessible to all."

    Arthur C. Brooks, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, and #1 New York Times bestselling author
  • "Hitendra Wadhwa has created a transformative guide in this masterful tapestry weaving biographical insights from wise leaders in our world with self-disclosing inner explorations of how to cultivate the equanimity and access to a 'core self' that can liberate us to create skillful outer action. This wonderful book is filled with 'aha' moments of intellectual surprise, compelling narrative suspense, and deep emotional and spiritual insights."—Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., Executive Director, Mindsight Institute, New York Times Bestselling author IntraConnected, Aware, and Mind
  • “This book is a user manual for life, as well as work. Hitendra breaks new ground by showing us that success in both life and work comes from the same source: the human spirit that lies at the core of our being. He charts a course each of us can take to pursue what we define as success.”
     —Mick Ebeling, film producer and author of Not Impossible
  • "A master class in finding yourself, discovering your purpose and living the life you were called to live, for both the religious and secular person, by the teacher of Columbia Business School's most popular course.”—James Martin, SJ, author of Learning to Pray
  • “Professor Wadhwa offers a superb integration of ancient and modern wisdom and argues that the most powerful path to leadership and success can be found within. Highly recommended!”—David D. Burns, MD, author of Feeling Good
  • “In an ever-changing world filled with distractions and opportunities, it's challenging for many of us to harmonize who we are on the inside with who we think we should be on the outside. Inner Mastery, Outer Impact is an essential read for those of us who desire to live fully and freely by finding and following our inner voice.”—Apolo Ohno, eight-time Olympian medalist
  • “Hitendra draws on many enriching scientific discoveries about human nature, charting a course for each of us on how to live and lead a meaningful life in our complicated world. He relates powerful stories of people whose actions will help you see how much magic and grace exists within the core of your being. Prepare to walk away with new, exhilarating understanding of humanity, life, and your own unique self.” —Scott Barry Kaufman
  • "Original, wise, and immensely useful: Hitendra Wadhwa takes us into the inner landscape of world-class leadership and provides us with the literary equivalent of a GPS device: a powerful, accessible framework by which we can not only understand how greatness emerges, but also how to nurture it in our own lives. An inspiring and essential read for anyone interested in leadership--or, for that matter, life itself." —Daniel Coyle, New York Times bestselling author of The Culture Code and The Talent Code
  • “Hitendra’s captivating tales integrating age-old teachings and insights will make you laugh and cry, and serve the catalyst for your inward journey to self-discovery. Hitendra’s compassion for humanity wrapped me in the warm cloak of his kindness and provided an unwavering beacon on the pathway to Inner Core. His steadfast guidance allowed me to emerge a more empathetic, self-aware friend, partner, parent, and leader. I have gifted this transformative treasure to every human I know. Don’t hesitate another moment in heeding the cry of your soul, and immerse yourself in Hitendra’s profound wisdom and precepts today!”—Melissa Bernstein, cofounder of Melissa & Doug Toys and cofounder of Lifelines
  • "Hitendra's lessons are inspiring, valuable lessons for us all. This book addresses some of the most important areas where leaders and individuals go astray, and his lessons are life lessons, helping us better understand ourselves in meaningful, insightful ways and reaching our fullest potential. Hitendra's work on Inner Mastery, Outer Impact has been invaluable to me and to our company. This book is full of wisdom and inspiration. I strongly recommend Hitendra's book for other leaders, other organizations and for those who strive to improve themselves and the world around them."—Craig Boyan, President, H-E-B
  • "Hitendra has spent decades integrating the powerful ancient teachings with the modern science of human potential. In this way, he himself is a bridge between ancient wisdom and modern knowledge. His book shows us that we already possess power and peace inside us that is beyond what we can imagine and provides a path for us to realize this on our own. This book is a source of bright light for all." —David Greenspan, Founder, Slate Path Capital and Board Member, Columbia Business School
  • "A profound, yet highly relatable book written from deep insights, wisdom and caring.  It will draw out the better leader, follower and person in you."—Vinod Kumar, CEO, Vodafone Business
  • "Hitendra Wadhwa has been teaching the wildly overenrolled course to the current and future elite of American business. The award-winning professor promises not how to make a living but how to live."
     —Psychology Today
  • "Wadhwa believes every employee should be encouraged to practice what he calls personal leadership. What’s personal leadership? It’s all about bringing out the best in yourself, the best in others and the best in all situations."—Forbes
  • “The biographical narratives humanize the scientific findings..., making for a winning mixture. Readers tired of self-help platitudes are sure to appreciate the substance here.”—Publisher's Weekly
  • "The [Indian-American] guru with an unlikely message for the high-flying world of finance and business: Aim for spiritual understanding as well as material success. His lessons are about how to be a master of yourself before trying to be a master of the universe."—BBC World Service

On Sale
Aug 1, 2023
Page Count
352 pages
Hachette Go

Hitendra Wadhwa, PhD

About the Author

Hitendra Wadhwa is the founder of the Mentora Institute and Mentora Foundation, host of the podcast Intersections, and a Professor of Practice at Columbia Business School, where he teaches Columbia’s most popular MBA leadership course, for which he has won the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence. His widely acclaimed research and teaching on leadership have been covered by Fortune, CNN, Psychology Today, BBC World Service, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Inc., and Forbes.

Wadhwa’s Mentora Institute is at the forefront of creating a new model of leadership for the 21st century. His clients include Accenture, Chevron, Kraft Heinz, Lululemon, Morgan Stanley, The New York Times, SAP, United Health Group and more. His nonprofit Mentora Foundation is committed to building a principled world by strengthening the moral, mental, and social fibers in their families, organizations, communities, and nations.  

Previously, Wadhwa was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company and the CEO/founder of a Silicon Valley start-up, Paramark, which was twice recognized as a Top-100 Internet technology company by Technologic Partners/Venture Wire.

Learn more about this author