Jed Emerson Releases His New Book, “The Purpose Of Capital”

Book Explores The Links Between Our Present Approach to Modern, Financial Capitalism and Our Need to Advance a More Integrated Approach to Investing to Create the World and Lives We Seek.

Emerson’s analysis challenges investors to expand their understanding of the purpose of capital and fuel a broader, deeper impact investing movement that shifts finance from harming to healing.

Series of “fireside chats” to spark conversation; free e-book distribution to spread ideas.

Press Release – San Francisco, September 2018 – Now available, The Purpose of Capital: Elements of Impact, Financial Flows and Natural Being, is the latest book by Jed Emerson, ImpactAssets Fellow and widely recognized international thought leader on impact investing, performance metrics and sustainable finance.

The book, Emerson’s eighth on the topic of impact investing and social entrepreneurship, moves beyond the existing framework of impact investing strategy and tactics (the “how”) to a rich, nuanced and accessible discussion of the meaning and purpose of capital (the “Why”).

Emerson asks readers to reflect on the personal and historic factors that have shaped our 21st Century perception of financial capitalism, challenging us to seek a deeper understanding of the purpose of capital—and envision a future that integrates components of economic/financial value creation with social/environmental value.

Suzanne DiBianca, EVP Corporate Relations and Chief Philanthropy Officer at Salesforce, said, “In his latest and most important book, Jed Emerson helps us see how our understanding of the purpose of capital has its roots in ancient thinking and wisdom, while its future is in concepts such as Mutual Impact and Deep Economy.”

“Challenging us to understand the shortcomings of modern financial capitalism, he helps us appreciate how changing the world must be grounded in efforts to change our selves. A truly inspiring read from an open and authentic elder of our field.”

Emerson writes that the challenge of defining the true purpose of capital has been with us since the start of modern financial capitalism in 1604, but the roots of our exploration of meaning and purpose go back to the origins of humanity and in many ways are at the center of our shared, global history. As readers consider that history, they need to explore two central questions:

  • How did we come to separate our understanding of economic/financial value from social/environmental value?
  • How did we come to think of ourselves as being separate from our neighbors, community and planet?

By crafting a new, holistic understanding of ourselves and our relation to the Other, we are able to approach a deeper, more significant understanding of the purpose of capital for our community, which may then anchor our individual definition of the purpose of capital, how we understand the nature of returns (both financial and extra-financial) and the cultivation of a more profound understanding of the meaning of money.

E-book Distribution/Fireside Chats

In order to reach as broad an audience as possible, Emerson has opted to distribute the digital version of The Purpose of Capital at no charge. The e-book is available here. Emerson will also host a series “fireside chats,” opening up a dialogue with investor groups to more deeply explore the ideas and concepts outlined in the book.

In addition, he will be speaking on The Purpose of Capital at the following public events:

Campden Wealth Conference
North American Family Impact Investing Conference
San Diego, CA September 26, 2018

SOCAP 2018
San Francisco, CA October 23rd, 2018

Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) Conference
Paris, France October 31st, 2018

Commonwealth Club
San Francisco, CA November 27th, 2018

Shanghai Literary Festival
Shanghai, China
March, 2019

For more information on The Purpose of Capital, visit

About Jed Emerson

Jed Emerson is strategic advisor to family offices and wealth management firms executing diverse approaches to investing for financial returns with social and environmental impact. He also serves as Senior Fellow with Impact Assets and The Toniic Network. Co-author of the first book on impact investing, as well as seven other books on impact investing and social entrepreneurship, he has been active in both fields for thirty years. He has served as founding director and board member of diverse social enterprises and impact investment groups. Emerson is a Senior Research Fellow at University of Heidelberg’s Center on Social Investing and has held faculty appointments at Harvard, Stanford and Oxford business schools. He has taught social entrepreneurship at Kellogg Business School and NYU-Abu Dhabi in the U.A.E.

About ImpactAssets, Fiscal Sponsor of The Purpose of Capital Project:

ImpactAssets is a nonprofit financial services firm that increases the flow of capital into investments delivering financial, social and environmental returns. ImpactAssets’ donor-advised fund (“The Giving Fund”) and field-building initiatives enable philanthropists, other asset owners and their wealth advisors to advance social or environmental change through investment and granting. In 2017, donors granted $36m to nonprofits and recommended $57 million to impact investments. The Giving Fund currently has nearly $500 million in total assets.

Twitter: @BlendedValue, #PurposeofCapital

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