The author

Bert van Dam (1966) was born in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. He is married and father of 2 children (Demi -1997; Luc - 1999). After Business School (graduating “cum laude”), he worked for 17 years with KPN, i.e. as Managing Director Planet Internet. Subsequently, he was employed at Carphone Warehouse (Phone House) holding the positions of Managing Director Netherlands and CEO Retail Europe. In 2014, he turned his life around to dedicate himself to his quest "to help people lead the best life possible". He proceeded to work out the makbuntu-model and this lead to his first book "BAM!" (September 2014). He is co-founder and CEO of MultiplyHappiness BV, a company committed to generating more happiness worldwide. In addition, he is also Chairman of the Board of Directors at 2theloo.

Why BAM!, how BAM! started


My quest for makbuntu basically started in the early 90’s when I read an interview with Paul Fentener van Vlissingen, a successful CEO at multinational SHV. The topic drifted from business issues to the Taoist tapestry on the wall of his executive office. Until then, I was an out-and-out businessman, but this article introduced a new playing ground (philosophy/spirituality).  Prior to this, I had only been familiar with the corporate game. The contents of the interview changed – Q&A about subjects that really matter! What’s more: it turned out you could actually combine the two fields. After all: Paul was doing just that! This was when the makbuntu-seed was sown.


As mentioned, I used to be a die-hard businessman. I also possessed a strong craving to apply my knowledge and expand on it. Which meant wanting to climb the corporate ladder, to become Managing Director. After all, the MD is the one who pulls all the strings. However, when I reached that point at Planet Internet, and consequently on a larger scale at Phonehouse Europe, I realized that telecom was not really my cup of tea. My true passion lay in wanting to help people live their best life possible. This was ultimately my personal "river". Over time, I became restless, had difficulty sleeping, could no longer enjoy daily life. Towards the end of 2013, I made up my mind to turn the tables; to set myself free!


In October of 2011, during a safari trip in Tanzania, it all came together. Beside my professional career in business, I had been in search of a model for the Meaning of Life for 25 years. In hindsight, it dawned on me that upon marveling the wildebeest herd crossing the Mara-river, the missing pieces finally fell into place. The model only required a cycle; it had to comply with the Laws of Nature, the source of which lies in Africa. I decided to dedicate myself to this project only, instead of also keeping my day job. However, being a Libra, I tend to measure everything out thoroughly (elaborate on it first!) before reaching any major decision. This is why it took another two years before the ax fell.


Towards the end of 2013 - four months into being CEO Europe Carphone - I felt the time had come for me to take a stand. I told my wife and a few friends of my plans. At that moment, the Universe stepped in; the synchronism baffling me. Early 2014, Dixons merged with Carphone, an event which offered me the chance of a graceful exit. A friend of mine put me up to writing a book (I was already in the process of setting up a makbuntu social network). Within the hour, I had the outlines in place (Summer of 2014). Basically, just going with the flow of my personal "river". It felt great!


Looking back, everything makes complete sense. What started in the early 90's with a Taoist tapestry slowly but surely unfolded. Also, there was that specific moment in 2000 at Ashridge (a leadership training at which I was confronted with the question: "How do you want to be remembered after you die?") when I impulsively wrote "As a contemporary Western philosopher". The ultimate meaning of the wildebeest crossing I witnessed back in Africa. My mission: to help people live the best life possible. By telling the chronicle of makbuntu, a down-to-earth model for a good and fulfilling life. This is my creation, my contribution to the world. Everything I have accomplished so far - i.e. my corporate career – will motivate me to spread  makbuntu tirelessly. I am looking forward to the second half of my life and all it has to offer. At this point, I can say with confidence that I am prepared. And brimming with happiness and gratitude.

Bert van Dam, summer 2015