23 | ADAM BRAUN - COO of WeGrow by WeWork. 2X Founder (Pencils of Promise, MissionU)
Play • 21 min

This week, Cory speaks to entrepreneur, bestselling author, and philanthropist Adam Braun, who is best known for being the Founder of Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization that builds schools and increases access to education for children in the developing world. He also wrote a New York Times best selling book The Promise of a Pencil and more recently the co-founder of one-year debt-free college alternative called MissionU. In this weeks episode, Adam talks about his personal upbringing and what lead him to start his organization, his offers advice to current college students, he opens up about past failures and says what are the biggest misconceptions about the outcome of a degree.


Adam Braun (@AdamBraun) is a New York Time Bestselling Author, the Founder of Pencils of Promise, and the Founder of MissionU, a college alternative.

Cory Levy interviewed Adam on the OFF RCRD Podcast about his past and advice for others based on his experiences. “I would say to any student, that you should be a savvy ROI-driven consumer of your education…thousands of the schools around the country that are charging enormous prices without particularly strong results.”

In the interview, Adam also talked about the financial burden that college puts on students. “College is supposed to be this great economic enabler. My wife went to college and initially (went) out of state and transferred back in state because the tuition fees were so high and she just got absolutely decimated by this crazy amount of student debt and had to leave school before even completing her bachelor’s degree.”

MissionU is a tuition-free college alternative that earns money from students based on their future earning potential instead of charging fees upfront. Adam explained that MissionU students aren’t looking for a traditional overpriced college education. “They don’t just want to learn about theory, about these abstract ideas. They want to do things that they can actually present to the real world and that employers will actually value as a skill that’s going to be needed for the rest of their career.”

Adam believes in following your purpose but is skeptical of the advice that young people should follow their passion. “I think this idea that you should follow your passion is not a great piece of advice because passions are incredibly fleeting. The idea of following your passion means follow whatever you’re excited about at this moment, and I don’t think that it stretches people to really do the tough, introspective work, to not discover passion but to discover purpose. I’m a huge advocate of following your purpose.” Adam has followed his purpose, which has led him to become a best-selling author and the founder of two impactful companies.

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