In the book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (2004) John writes about his career as a strategic consultant for the company Chas. T. Main. His role was to persuade leaders of Third World countries to accept substantial development loans for large engineering projects that would be beneficial for the American empire and local elites. The conditions set were literally devastating for the economy of these countries. In the process, they used practices such as false promises and false statistics, threats, bribery and extortion, putsch, assassination, and military intervention.
The book heavily criticizes U. S. foreign policy driven by greed. Several times he stopped writing the book due to bribes and threats, but 9/11 changed his heart and he felt he had to expose the truth. 30 publishers refused to publish the book. Eventually the book became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated in at least 32 languages.
John founded and leads the non-profit organizations Dream Change & The Pachamama Alliance, which focus on creating a sustainable, just, peaceful, and prosperous world. He has lectured at more than 50 universities, including Oxford or Harvard. In addition to the economic and global issues, he writes about indigenous cultures and their transformations. He publishes in many of the world's media. He was a reporter for CNN, NBC and wrote for Time, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, and other respected periodicals.
In 2012, John was awarded a Lennon Ono Grant Peace Prize for his work.