Moral Ambition: turning intention into impact

How a new book prompted me to shift focus from what I say to what I do

Sally Clarke
5 min readApr 1, 2024
hiding in garudasana in Armenia, 2018

I first encountered Dutch sociologist and historian Rutger Bregman a few years ago when a one-minute video of him calling out hypocrisy at Davos went viral. I liked his vibe. I started reading his books and listening to his podcast, which was a source of comfort and clarity during the shitshow that was the recent Dutch elections.

Last November, I saw Bregman speak at the premiere of a documentary in which he plays a central role, Breaking Social. During the Q&A after the film, he spoke about the importance of collaboration in social activism. I’ve thought about this a lot recently, but wasn’t sure exactly what to do about it.

A guide to expanding your impact

Thankfully, Bregman wrote a book on the topic: Moral Ambition: Stop Wasting your Talent and Build a Legacy that Matters, a call to action that explores how we can optimally use our intelligence and skills for the betterment of humanity.

Written in his astute and direct style (in Dutch, the English version will be available next year), Bregman opens by lambasting our society’s limited conceptualization of success. It’s like we’re on automatic pilot: get a degree, become a…

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Sally Clarke

Wellbeing & burnout author, expert, writer & speaker. Global adventurer. she/her www.salcla.com