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The Power of Meaning: The true route to happiness Paperback – 21 September 2017
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Enhance your purchase
'Life-transforming' Susan Cain, author of Quiet
Emily Esfahani Smith explains why the search for meaning is far more fulfilling than the pursuit of personal happiness.
To explore how we can change our lives for the better, she draws on the latest research in psychology, sociology, philosophy and neuroscience, as well as insights from figures in literature and history such as George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, Aristotle and the Buddha.
She shows us how cultivating connections to others, identifying and working toward a purpose, telling stories about our place in the world and seeking out mystery, can immeasurably deepen our lives. To do this she visits remarkable people and places, such as a tight-knit fishing village in the Chesapeake Bay, a dinner where young people gather to share their experiences of profound loss, a drug kingpin who finds his purpose in helping people get fit and more. And she explores how we might begin to build a culture that leaves space for introspection and awe, cultivates a sense of community and imbues our lives with meaning.
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Speaks to the yearning we all share for a life of depth and significance...Beautifully written and rigorously researched...reading it is a life-transforming experience ― SUSAN CAIN, authof of Quiet
A beautiful book, full of hope. While drawing on the best scientific evidence, it also stirs us with powerful narratives of living full of meaning. ― PROF RICHARD LAYARD, author of Happiness: lessons from a new science
Evidence-based and inspiring, this is a book I've been awaiting for a very long time. ― ADAM GRANT, author of Originals
A powerful invitation to live a life that is not only happy but filled with purpose, belonging, and transcendence. By combining scientific research and philosophical insights with moving accounts of ordinary people who have deeply meaningful lives, Smith addresses the most urgent questions of our existence in a delightful, masterful, and inspiring way. ― EMMA SEPPALLA, author of The Happiness Track
About the Author
- ASIN : 1846044650
- Publisher : Random House UK (21 September 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781846044656
- ISBN-13 : 978-1846044656
- Item Weight : 208 g
- Dimensions : 12.6 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #119,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from India
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I got the information about the book from TED Talk, which was given by author, Emily and immediately glued to the concept of meaning in life.
It was riveting experience & I was glued to the book till it is finished. The background study, the back-up data or experience of the Author was great. The experience’s connections to its pillars were great. The example are live current example, the person’s which are currently doing / following these pillars. I goggled almost every person / place / community, which are mentioned in the book and found more about them, their experiences.
The book was great journey into the lives of others and in between searching for meaning of life for self. It was great introspection experience of life time, it tickles your brain to think extra, do extra, find that extra in you. To do extra for others, not for self.
The Power of Meaning
Top reviews from other countries
Smith examines despondency and mental distress associated with the loss of a sense of purpose, and the various ways one can overcome that. She provides examples from Leo Tolstoy to Will Durant, and to films like ‘Good Will Hunting’. The theme of this book is that we need to find a meaning and purpose in life. That is a fine thing for some people, and this book augments religion and philosophy insofar as they reach out to people who are searching for the meaning in life.
This book therefore does not take into account that there is an alternative view – that there is no meaning or purpose in life except to be good, do good, and live. There is some overlap in this view and hers, but the critical difference is that the alternative view accepts that there is no ‘meaning’ – whatever that might mean – to life. We exist, then we cease to exist. To live is to die. That applies to all living things, plant or animal. We are no exception. But that does not mean that those who accept this are zombies or are inhuman, or are desperate and unhappy. The flaw in Smith’s thesis lies in the assumption that unless we actively search for meaning and to live life the way she prescribes, we end up despondent and suicidal.
Her account of how retirees live is an example. She holds the view that unless they have a purpose in life, retirees are going to be unhappy in retirement. She thinks that retirees must learn to contribute to society. People who spend the better part of their lives in service of society might wish to relax and spend the rest of their lives for themselves. Should society begrudge them that if that makes them happy? Again, there is an overlap between the two alternative views. Some retirees continue to contribute, some a lot more, some a lot less, and some not at all. That does not mean that they are or will be unhappy unless they find a meaning in life. She may not appreciate that many retirees, precisely because they are at that stage in life, see no purpose in finding the meaning of life. Perhaps they have been there, done that. It is an attitude that is not the preserve of retirees. The enlightened youth can be happy, contribute to society, and be good, without searching for the meaning of life. If there is that answer will be an eternal best seller topping any other book on earth.
Don’t worry, be good, be happy.