Dr John Smith

Best-selling author, columnist and commentator

Dr John Smith: Best-selling author, columnist and commentator. Keynote speaker, Anthropologist, Bikie, Preacher, Businessman, Author, Advocate  - these are all Dr. John Smith.

His messages on the challenges and contradictions of our times are as powerful as his Harley Davidson at full throttle. A personal friend of Bono from U2 (who dedicated a song to John on their recent Australian tour) and a man who has a passion for teaching, John challenges and empowers people from all walks of life and all backgrounds.

He is as committed to transforming businesses as he is to helping youth and society's outcasts. John is a passionate story-teller, who has lived on the fringe and has written or co-authored five books ("Advance Australia Where" over 80,000 copies)

In 2002, he completed six years of doctoral studies in the United States, focussing on cross-cultural studies, including corporate culture, charismatic leadership and globalisation. He offers powerful historic, economic and ethical perspectives on modern business. His life has been extraordinary. He was gaoled and nearly executed in the Philippines for defending the rights of rural peasants and has been an advocate for the marginalised peoples of Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

As founder and Executive Director of five highly successful youth outreach organisations, Dr. John Smith has turned young lives around. As pioneer of the 'Values for Life' schools seminars, John has spoken to students in more than four thousand Australian high schools. The 'Handbrake Turn' training and rehabilitation program boasts a success rate of 85% in reducing youth offender recidivism.  

John's message goes to the heart of those in business who are seeking not only sustainability and success, but also a great sense of direction in their working lives. His message is entertaining, engaging and relevant; he has spoken around the world at music and arts festivals, shared the stage with former President Jimmy Carter and addressed a full hearing of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. 

"Smithy" has appeared as a regular commentator on Australian television and radio, and as a guest on the BBC, including an appearance with General Schwarzkopf on the 'David Frost Show'. He has appeared in feature length articles in leading newspapers throughout Europe and Australia. John was also a regular columnist for The Age. He is married to Glena Fay, and has two daughters, a son and seventeen grandchildren.

Dr John Smith talks about:

The Self Esteem Myth: Self Esteem and how it affects almost every aspect of our lives, including corporations like Enron, The Global Financial Crises and attitudes in the Corporate Board Rooms. A new book which John has just completed - followed up with interviews on ABC radio

Advance Australia Where? :  "A lack of meaning in the land of plenty" John's best-selling book (0ver 80,00 copies sold). "I agree with much in this book. John Smith deserves to be read by as many people as possible." Professor Manning Clark.

The Current Ageist Trends: In almost every walk of life from the media to Churches we are inundated with images of youth. While the Government encourages Australians to stay in the work place longer, in practise it is getting harder and harder for those over 45 to remain in their choice of work and harder still to find work.

The Generation Gap: There is much in media about the generations 1920's to Boomers and today's youth. John through his anthropologist studies blows the myths away and gives great insight for anyone working in the media or advertising industries.

Rebels, Outlaws, Misfits ... (and other resources your business cannot do without! ):

"Who of us has not met a business leader whose arms sport tattoos from early rebel days?"

In an exciting presentation, rich in anecdotes from an extraordinary life spent amongst society's outlaws, John Smith offers corporate advice from unexpected and unorthodox sources, and reveals the promise of unconventional risk-taking.

As a keynote address, or in-depth workshop presentation, John Smith weaves anecdote, academic research, historical analysis, cultural anthropology and spiritual perspective to deliver management skills that business school never taught you.

Is Darth Vader Lurking in the Board Room? : In this presentation, Dr. John Smith confronts creativity gone wrong - the 'Dark Side of the Force' - and its hold on some businesses.

In a humorous and illuminating presentation, Dr. John discusses the right use of the 'Energising Force' so that genius, creativity and organisational strength may enhance and not destroy the enterprise and the surrounding social matrix.

He shares anecdotal and academic perspectives on dysfunctional personalities, distorted perceptions, de-personalised relationships and unworthy motivations.

Feeling Good About Doing Bad - Time for a Corporate Reality Check: Why is it that in international performance assessments, American maths and science students are sixteenth and seventeenth respectively in performance, but first in self-esteem? In contrast, Asian students score among the best in performance, but are lowest in self-esteem. Dr. John Smith, business anthropologist, reveals the myths and self-delusion that enable us to feel good about poor performance. He exposes the mission statements and ethics codes that conceal reality, and the exhilaration and sustainable profit of 'doing it right.'

Life, Liberty and the Persuit of Profits: Prominent journalist ("The New Republic, ESPN, and The Atlantic Monthly") asks in "The Progress Paradox" - how can life be getting better while people feel worse?  Prominent Australian scientist and epidemiologist Richard Eckersley claims a severe crisis in youth mental and social health is the result of lack of morality and meaning.  Academic Clive Hamilton in "The Freedom Paradox" claims that we are deprived of our inner freedom by our very persuit of our own desires.  We have it all now - freedom, sexual equality, social inclusion and lots of consumer goods, yet the quest for fulfilment apparently alludes us as clinical depression increases remarkably.  How can we balance liberty, profitability, extraordinary diversity of pleasures with family stability, real fulfilment and meaning in life?

The Complexity of Growth: When discovering he had cancer, John Smith recognised a paradigm in his condition. Growth of the economy, growth of company profits and even church growth have become acceptable obsessions in global culture.  But cancer cells have the fastest growth, the most robust life without a used by date as other bodily cells - and they kill you.  Suzuki sees the belief in unlimited growth on a planet of limited resources as an ultimately disastrous direction. When is growth healthy for companies and nations?  What are the limitations of growth?  How do we establish healthy limitations with exciting aspirations personally and corporately?

Client testimonials

...not only did John deliver an inspirational and thought-provoking presentation on business values and ethics, but he took the time to speak to almost every delegate one-on-one. Very few speakers have ever served our company so well.

John Sikkema, Executive Chairman, Garrisons

I can think of no other Australian who has earned the admiration and respect of so many, in spite of challenging the assumptions and practices of their lifestyles

Former Federal Minister for Justice, Senator Michael Tate

Simply magnificent

N.R. Farrington, Regional Sales Manager, AMP

Truly a preacher to the convertible… John Smith's message is for people who want to do more than just listen

Bono, U2

You are at the zenith of your powers and you maintain that reckless energy that is now enriched by extensive experience, sensitivity and an extraordinary perceptiveness in grasping the needs of this current generation.

Roderick West, Headmaster, Trinity Grammar School