Beyond Our Edge

The Journey Beyond Fear

Whether you’re running a business, building a career, raising a family, or attending school, mounting performance pressure has been the name of the game for years. Even the savviest, smartest, toughest people are understandably feeling enormous pressure and often feeling paralyzed by fear.

The Journey Beyond Fear provides everything you need to identify your fears, face your fears, move beyond your fears―and cultivate emotions that motivate you to pursue valuable business opportunities, realize your full potential, and create opportunities that benefit all. Strategy guru John Hagel provides an effective, easy-to-grasp three-step approach:

  • Develop an inspiring long-term view of the opportunities ahead
  • Find and cultivate your personal passion to motivate you and those around you
  • Harness the potential of platforms to bring people together and scale impact at an accelerating rate. Never underestimate the power of fear―and never underestimate your ability to conquer it.

With The Journey Beyond Fear, you’ll learn how to move forward in spite of fear, take your career and life to the next level, improve your organization and your broader environment, and achieve more of your true potential.

If you would like to purchase either a hardcover print version of the book or a digital version, please click here. An audio version of the book is also available on

How do we address the fear that is consuming us?

The Journey Beyond Fear could not be more timely. More and more people around the world are acknowledging the fear they feel and are seeking ways to overcome it. Fear had been spreading well before the current pandemic, but the pandemic has intensified it. The pandemic has helped to make it more acceptable to acknowledge the fear and  increased our desire to move beyond fear. Over decades, my job has been to help people (and organizations) anticipate how the world is changing and address the opportunities emerging from these changes.

Over the years, I realized that our emotions shape our choices and actions in profound ways and that we are not paying enough attention to the emotions that govern our lives and that serve as either obstacles or amplifiers of personal, institutional and social progress. This book suggests the spreading emotion of fear is certainly understandable given the forces that are creating mounting performance pressure on all of us, but the emotion is very limiting. More importantly, while we are susceptible to fear, none of us wants to live in fear. We all aspire to cultivate hope and excitement so that we can achieve more meaningful impact. Offering a path forward, this book focuses on the role that narrative, passion and platforms can play in helping us to cultivate the emotions that will help us to move beyond fear.

But this book is very different on multiple levels. First, it indicates that we need to challenge at a fundamental level what we mean by narrative, passion and platforms.These terms are widely used today but in a very loose fashion which misses their real potential for impact.

  • Narratives are not stories – they identify a major threat or opportunity out in the future and provide a call to action to the audience – the resolution of the narrative will hinge on their choices or actions.
  • Passion takes a very specific form in this book – the passion of the explorer. People who have this passion are excited about the opportunity to achieve more and more impact over the long-term in their chosen domain and are actively seeking to connect with others who can help them.
  • Platforms in this context are not conventional aggregation and social platforms – they are learning platforms explicitly designed to help participants learn faster by acting together in addressing new opportunities and challenges. The goal is to create new knowledge, and not just share existing knowledge.

By sharpening our understanding of these three pillars, we can make much more progress in moving beyond fear.

Second, the book is a memoir, but integrates that with extensive research into the forces that are shaping our global economy and society and the pillars that can help us to move from fear to hope and excitement. The memoir describes my lifelong journey beyond fear and the lessons that he learned along the way. The research shows how we all can build on the pillars available to us to make the journey far more quickly and effectively.

Third, the book urges us to move beyond a narrow human potential focus, concentrating on the challenges and opportunities that individuals face. It suggests we need to integrate that perspective with a broader social change perspective. We need to evolve our institutions and communities so that they encourage all of us to cultivate the emotions of hope and excitement.

More than anything, The Journey Beyond Fear suggests that we all have the ability to move from a world of mounting performance pressure to a world of exponentially expanding opportunity. This will not just help us as individuals to achieve much more of our potential, but it will also help our institutions and society to grow in ways that benefit everyone. There’s an opportunity for all of us to come together into a creative community to achieve unprecedented impact.

Who should read this book?


Whether we are consumed by fear ourselves, we are surrounded by more and more people who are limited by that emotion. We all have an opportunity to help ourselves and to help others around us to move beyond fear. While written for everyone, this book should be especially relevant to institutional and community leaders who are seeking ways to drive growth that is more meaningful for all their stakeholders.  I’ve written 7 best-selling books before this one – but this one is different.  It’s far more personal. As most of you know, I’ve been based in Silicon Valley for over 40 years, but running a global research center and working as a consultant for leaders of major institutions around the world.  This has given me a global perspective that reaches far beyond Silicon Valley. I’m excited by the opportunities emerging on a global scale, and want us to see them and address them – together.

Endorsements of The Journey Beyond Fear

“The global viral pandemic is mirrored by an epidemic of ‘zero-sum’ fears, false narratives, and plummeting social trust. In The Journey Beyond Fear, John Hagel offers an antidote: cultivating our passions within narratives engaging us with people, platforms, and purpose beyond ourselves. It’s full of inspiring ideas for those feeling isolated in their working lives, and practical tips for those already tackling complex ecosystem challenges that our societies face.”
Byron Auguste, CEO of Opportunity@Work, former National Economic Council Deputy Director and economic advisor to President Obama

“In this brilliant book, John Hagel clearly proves that the greatest challenge facing us is fear. But more importantly, he shows that there is a way out of that fear by harnessing the passion of the explorer. While other books have described growth mindsets and other upward looking approaches, John’s book goes much further than that. By laying out the path to harness the power of narrative, John empowers us not just to describe the journey in a way that brings others, but to help motivate ourselves deeply, and in doing so unlock the explorer in us all. I am an explorer and I find myself excited and at times challenged by my nature. For explorers who have ever asked, ‘Why am I doing this?’ you’ll find John’s book to be both vulnerable and insightful as you transmute pressure into opportunity for all.”
Nichol Bradford, executive director and co-Founder of The Transformative Technology Lab and Lecturer at Stanford University

“In The Journey Beyond Fear, John Hagel masterfully draws on insights from his dynamic career in Silicon Valley to demonstrate how institutions and individuals can beat fear and leverage optimism to create thoughtful social innovation. You will be glad you read this book.”
Arthur C. Brooks, professor, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, and New York Times bestselling author

“The growing challenges in our world are very real, but we need to resist the tendency to become overwhelmed by them. Don’t pass up the opportunity to read this inspiring book—it can help all of us to craft an exciting and richly rewarding journey.”
Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and retired president of Walt Disney Animation Studios

“Fear often disrupts the potential to move people forward. John Hagel brilliantly shows us how to use the power of a good narrative to get over the fears that hold too many individuals and business teams back and prevent them from achieving more impact. This thoughtfully rich book is sure to be essential reading for anyone trying to lead forward.”
Beth Comstock, author of Imagine It Forward, and former vice chair of General Electric

“Our mindsets are the most important tool we have as entrepreneurs and leaders and they are powerfully shaped by the emotions within us. John Hagel’s brilliant book The Journey Beyond Fear urges us to focus on our emotions and to recognize that fear is becoming a growing obstacle for many of us. Hagel masterfully guides us to shift our emotional energy into an ‘Abundance Mindset,’ one that empowers us to solve problems and see them as opportunities rather than fear them.”
Peter H. Diamandis, MD, founder of Singularity University and XPRIZE, as well as New York Times bestselling author of Abundance, BOLD, and The Future is Faster Than You Think.

“John Hagel has spent decades discovering new opportunities at the edges of organizations and markets. Drawing lessons from psychology, social movements, gaming platforms, innovative companies, and more, Hagel shows us how we can identify the passions that will motivate us to venture into new territory, overcome fear and self-limitations, and inspire others to join us in transforming institutions and society.”
Roger Ferguson, president and chief executive officer of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA) and former vice-chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

“John Hagel has done it again! From the depths and breath of his own experience, he gives us keys to a psychology that activates needed growth in self and society. This book is on the frontier of a conceptual evolution that brooks no whiney nay saying, but creates the ground for a dynamic transition into a Renaissance in thought and enterprise.”
Jean Houston, PhD, author of more than 30 books on human development, chancellor of Meridian University, and chairman of the United Palace of Spiritual Arts in New York City

“It’s easy to retreat with fear, but this timely book persuasively suggests there’s another option: we can cultivate our excitement about exploration and learning to pursue the opportunities that are all around us. This book will help you realize far more of your potential and adapt to a rapidly changing world.”
Scott Barry Kaufman, professor of psychology at Columbia University, and author of many best-selling books on psychology, including Transcend

“Reading this thought-provoking book is like having John Hagel as our own personal executive coach, helping us move beyond our fears, craft a new personal narrative, and pursue the passions that enable us to have more positive impact. Part call to action, part cause for deep reflection, the book is one you’ll be thinking about long after finishing the final chapter.”
Tom Kelley, author of Creative Confidence and partner in the design consultancy IDEO

“Fear can either paralyze you or propel you forward. This book shows you how to push through it, and serves as a reminder that it doesn’t take big moves to make big impact.”
Alison Levine, team captain, first American Women’s Everest Expedition, author of the NY Times bestseller On the Edge.

“This is a must-read book for those who are seeking to increase their impact in the world around them. Sharing lessons from his own personal journey and broader research, John Hagel urges us to recognize the expanding opportunities that can be addressed once we find ways to overcome fear.”
John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market and author of Conscious Capitalism

The Journey Beyond Fear demonstrates that our success is more than strategic rationality–our passion and our fear are measurable, concrete determinants of life outcomes. Importantly, John moves beyond myths of “you’ve got it or you don’t” and presents an extensive vision for how to learn passion.”
Vivienne Ming, theoretical neuroscientist, entrepreneur, author, and co-founder of Socos Labs

“Fear is visceral but not sustainable. Joy, community, and love provide lasting motivation, passion, and success in all areas of life and are essential to our survival. In this brilliant book, John Hagel describes why, and how—which have never been more timely or needed.”
Dean Ornish, MD, founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and author, UnDo It!

“John Hagel draws on his considerable experience and intellect to tackle a topic most organizations never confront: fear. With sharp insights and compelling cases, he shows how to move past fear to improve performance and deepen meaning. In a business world that often resists talking about emotions, this book is badly-needed guide to enlisting psychology in the service of your strategy.”
Daniel H. Pink, author of When, Drive, and To Sell is Human

“John Hagel sets himself a near-impossible task in offering to guide his readers “beyond fear,” yet he delivers. The book pulls together many themes and insights that readers may think they already know, but will suddenly see in a new and useful light. Most important, Hagel’s emphasis on the critical importance of “learning platforms” is spot on, a dimension of how personal journeys can become collective journeys that is only beginning to be appreciated.”
Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America, contributing editor of the Financial Times, and author of numerous best-selling books

NOTE: if you would like to purchase either a hardcover print version of the book or a digital version, please click here.

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