In a culture obsessed with happiness, this wise, stirring book points the way toward a richer, more satisfying life. Too many of us believe that the search for meaning is an esoteric pursuit—that you have to travel to a distant monastery or page through dusty volumes to discover life’s secrets. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us—right here, right now. To explore how we can craft lives of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith synthesizes a kaleidoscopic array of sources—from psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists to figures in literature and history such as George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, Aristotle, and the Buddha. Drawing on this research, Smith 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 bring what she calls the four pillars of meaning to life, Smith visits a tight-knit fishing village in the Chesapeake Bay, stargazes in West Texas, attends a dinner where young people gather to share their experiences of profound loss, and more. She also introduces us to compelling seekers of meaning—from the drug kingpin who finds his purpose in helping people get fit to the artist who draws on her Hindu upbringing to create arresting photographs. 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. Inspiring and story-driven, The Power of Meaning will strike a profound chord in anyone seeking a life that matters.
For anyone exhausted or disillusioned by the perpetual pursuit of personal happiness, here is the antidote: a book about the pursuit of meaning, a better route to a fulfilling life. We have a lot to be happy about. And yet, we're more dissatisfied than ever. In The Power of Meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith argues that we've been chasing the wrong thing. It's not happiness that makes life worth living--it's meaning. Drawing on the latest cognitive science research, as well as insights from literature and philosophy and her own prodigious reporting, Smith shows that by developing a "meaning mindset," we can all achieve a deeper satisfaction. With a warm, assured voice that moves effortlessly from George Eliot and Aristotle to Monty Python and Louis C.K., Smith spells out the four pillars of the meaning mindset: cultivating connections to others, working toward our life's purpose, telling stories about our place in the world, and finding transcendence. And she shows us how we can lean on the pillars in difficult times, and how we might begin to build a culture of meaning in our families, our workplaces, and our communities. Stirring, inspiring, and story-driven, The Power of Meaning will strike a profound chord in anyone seeking more in life.
Author: Emily Esfahani Smith
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2017-01-12
'Life-transforming' Susan Cain, author of Quiet Searching for happiness is overrated, learn to find meaning instead There is a persistent myth in our culture that in order to lead a fulfilling life we must pursue happiness at all times. In her groundbreaking work, Emily Esfahani Smith explains that it is actually the search for meaning that will bring fulfilment. She argues that meaning is all around us in vast untapped resources, and that the key is finding it in the right here, right now. Her inspiring TED Talk on the same topic has been viewed over a million times. 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, and a drug kingpin who finds his purpose in helping people get fit. 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.
Author: Richard J. Leider
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Release Date: 2015-09-14
Genre: Business & Economics
NEW EDITION, REVISED AND UPDATED To get a life, get a purpose! Purpose is fundamental and gives life meaning. It gives us the will not just to live but to live long and well. In this new edition of his bestselling classic, legendary personal coach Richard Leider offers brand-new tools and techniques for unlocking it. The third edition has been completely revised and updated. In addition to new stories, examples, and resources, it features four new chapters. “Purpose across the Ages” looks at how purpose can evolve during our lives. “The 24-Hour Purpose Retreat” includes seven mind-opening questions to help you unlock your purpose. “The Purpose Checkup” offers a new tool for periodically evaluating the health of your purpose. And in “Can Science Explain Purpose?” we learn what researchers are discovering about how an increased sense of purpose can improve our health, healing, happiness, longevity, and productivity. Purpose is an active expression of our values and our compassion for others—it makes us want to get up in the morning and add value to the world. Leider details a graceful, practical, and ultimately spiritual process for making it central to your life. This revitalized guide will help you integrate it into everything you do.
Humans are existential animals. We are all fully aware of our fragility, transience, and potential cosmic insignificance. Our ability to ponder the big questions about death and meaning and the anxiety that these questions can provoke have motivated us to be a species not only concerned about survival, but also about our significance. The quest for transcendent meaning is one reason why humans embrace the supernatural. Children naturally see the world as magical, yet when humans reach full cognitive development they are still drawn to supernatural beliefs and ideas that defy the laws of physics. Even those who consider themselves secular or atheists are seduced by supernatural belief systems. Clay Routledge, an experimental psychologist, asserts that belief or trust in forces beyond our understanding is rooted in our fear of death and need for meaning. In Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World, he reveals just how universal supernatural thinking is, and how this kind of thinking is adaptive and even healthy. Routledge takes readers through a wide range of fascinating research from psychology that paints a picture of humans as innate supernatural thinkers. Exploring research from the emerging field of experimental existential psychology, he makes the case that all humans have the same underlying existential needs, with similar coping strategies across times, cultures, and degrees of religiousness. Surprisingly, cultural institutions such as sports, environmentalism, secular humanism, and science also showcase supernatural attributes and qualities. Indeed, studies show that supernatural thinking assuages stress and anxiety and improves mood and psychological well-being. But there is a potential dark side to this line of thinking: it can lead to personal and social problems, and some individuals can take it a step too far. However, Routledge argues that this dark side of supernatural thinking is the exception, not the rule. Further, supernatural thinking is ever-present, and should unite us instead of dividing us.
Author: Viktor E. Frankl
Publisher: Beacon Press
Release Date: 2006-06-01
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.
Author: Richard J. Leider
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Release Date: 2015-10-21
Genre: Business & Economics
NEW ENHANCED EDITION, REVISED AND UPDATED This new and updated enhanced edition of the bestselling classic includes nine videos (27 minutes in duration) of Richard Leider, sharing stories from history and his own life about people living on purpose. To get a life, get a purpose! Purpose is fundamental and gives life meaning. It gives us the will not just to live but to live long and well. In this new edition of his bestselling classic, legendary personal coach Richard Leider offers brand-new tools and techniques for unlocking it. In the first four videos featured in this enhanced edition, Richard Leider brings perspective to big life questions like WHO Am I?, WHAT Is My Path?, HOW Do I Make It Work?, and WHERE Am I Going? to help readers unlock their purpose. In video interviews conducted by Colorado State Professor Rich Feller, Richard also explains why he chose to update the Power of Purpose now, what role purpose plays in life, what it would mean to live life over, and what it is that adults in transition seek. The text of third edition has been completely revised and updated. In addition to new stories, examples, and resources, it features four new chapters. “Purpose across the Ages” looks at how purpose can evolve during our lives. “The 24-Hour Purpose Retreat” includes seven mind-opening questions to help you unlock your purpose. “The Purpose Checkup” offers a new tool for periodically evaluating the health of your purpose. And in “Can Science Explain Purpose?” we learn what researchers are discovering about how an increased sense of purpose can improve our health, healing, happiness, longevity, and productivity. Purpose is an active expression of our values and our compassion for others—it makes us want to get up in the morning and add value to the world. Leider details a graceful, practical, and ultimately spiritual process for making it central to your life. This revitalized guide will help you integrate it into everything you do.
From the New York Times bestselling authors of The Passion Test comes a book that will teach readers to harness the power of ritual to unlock their unique gifts and create a life of love, wealth, and happiness. Rituals are the common feature of every ancient culture on Earth. Yet, modern society has lost touch with the power and value of ritual to create a rhythm for daily life, balance, and a connection with others. In the process, many of us have lost touch with ourselves. Your Hidden Riches is a call to reignite the power of personal and community rituals--to sustain us in the midst of an ever-increasing onslaught of information and expectations, and to sustain our world by reawakening the awareness of our interconnection with all life. In the book you will learn to engage with: o Rituals for Magical Relationships o Rituals for Diet, Health, and Beauty o Creating Wealth Through Ritual o Rituals for the Seasons of Life o Rituals for a Closer Family Circle Embracing ritual will allow you to finally live the life of health, wisdom, and love that you deserve.
Author: Nancy J. Chodorow
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 1999
Drawing upon her broad knowledge and background in social theory, Chodorow argues that psychoanalysis gives an account of subjectivity that incorporates forms of wholeness and depth of experience, without which we cannot have a meaningful life.
Author: Fred Kofman
Release Date: 2018-05-01
Genre: Business & Economics
The vice president of leadership at LinkedIn claims that the biggest driver of motivation is the chance to serve a larger purpose beyond our careers and ourselves, rather than salary, benefits, bonuses, or other material incentives; companies that are able to successfully focus their people, their teams, and their culture around meaning outperform their competition. Fred Kofman's approach to leadership has little to do with the standard practices taught in business school and traditional books. Bringing together economics and business theory, communications and conflict resolution, family counseling and mindfulness mediation, Kofman argues in The Meaning Revolution that our most deep-seated, unspoken, and universal anxiety stems from our fear that our life is being wasted--that the end of life will overtake us when our song is still unsung. Material incentives--salary and benefits--account for perhaps 15 percent of employees' motivation at work. The other 85 percent is driven by a need to belong, a feeling that what we do day in and day out makes a difference, that how we spend our time on earth serves a larger purpose beyond just ourselves. Kofman claims that transcendental leaders, wherever they are in the hierarchy, are able to put aside their self-interests and help others to feel connected with others on a team or in an organization on a great mission and part of an ennobling purpose. He argues that every organization involved in work that is nonviolent and non addictive has what he calls an "immortality project" at its core. And the challenge for leaders is to identify and expand on that core, to inspire all stakeholders to take part.
Author: Jeremy Janes
Publisher: Sterling Publishing Company
Release Date: 2007
Genre: Literary Collections
A collection of works by famous middle-aged authors as they share their thoughts on the stages of human life, including early childhood, the challenges of adulthood, and the opportunities that can be found at fifty-plus years.
Author: Mark Alexander Hawkins
Release Date: 2016-09-15
In this ground-breaking new book, teacher, counsellor, and philosopher Mark Hawkins reveals a whole new understanding of boredom. Society teaches us that boredom is negative and something to be avoided. In this age of distraction, it is so easy to fill our boredom with work, activities, and quick entertainment. But avoiding boredom prevents us from using it to create a life full of meaning and purpose. Mark gets to the core of why boredom is the most powerful human emotion. Drawing from psychology, philosophy, and personal experiences, Mark shows us that boredom can be seen as spaces in time containing pure creative potential available for self and life transformation. Along the way, Mark provides a perspective of boredom that can sometimes be counter-intuitive. For example, why busy people may, in fact, be the most bored, and why filling your boredom with the wrong things can actually create more of it. It's time to stop distracting yourself from life and start living it.
Author: Andreas Wagner
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2014-05-14
What can a fingernail tell us about the mysteries of creation? In one sense, a nail is merely a hunk of mute matter, yet in another, it's an information superhighway quite literally at our fingertips. Every moment, streams of molecular signals direct our cells to move, flatten, swell, shrink, divide, or die. Andreas Wagner's ambitious new book explores this hidden web of unimaginably complex interactions in every living being. In the process, he unveils a host of paradoxes underpinning our understanding of modern biology, contradictions he considers gatekeepers at the frontiers of knowledge. Though we tend to think of concepts in such mutually exclusive pairs as mind-matter, self-other, and nature-nurture, Wagner argues that these opposing ideas are not actually separate. Indeed, they are as inextricably connected as the two sides of a coin. Through a tour of modern biological marvels, Wagner illustrates how this paradoxical tension has a profound effect on the way we define the world around us. Paradoxical Life is thus not only a unique account of modern biology. It ultimately serves a radical--and optimistic--outlook for humans and the world we help create.
Author: Viktor E Frankl
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: 2018-09-11
Viktor Frankl, bestselling author of Man's Search for Meaning, explains the psychological tools that enabled him to survive the Holocaust Viktor Frankl is known to millions as the author of Man's Search for Meaning, his harrowing Holocaust memoir. In this book, he goes more deeply into the ways of thinking that enabled him to survive imprisonment in a concentration camp and to find meaning in life in spite of all the odds. He expands upon his groundbreaking ideas and searches for answers about life, death, faith and suffering. Believing that there is much more to our existence than meets the eye, he says: 'No one will be able to make us believe that man is a sublimated animal once we can show that within him there is a repressed angel.' In Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning, Frankl explores our sometimes unconscious desire for inspiration or revelation. He explains how we can create meaning for ourselves and, ultimately, he reveals how life has more to offer us than we could ever imagine.