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: Iddo Landau
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2017-07-01
Does life have meaning? Is it possible for life to be meaningful when the world is filled with suffering and when so much depends merely upon chance? Even if there is meaning, is there enough to justify living? These questions are difficult to resolve. There are times in which we face the mundane, the illogically cruel, and the tragic, which leave us to question the value of our lives. However, Iddo Landau argues, our lives often are, or could be made, meaningfulwe've just been setting the bar too high for evaluating what meaning there is. When it comes to meaning in life, Landau explains, we have let perfect become the enemy of the good. We have failed to find life perfectly meaningful, and therefore have failed to see any meaning in our lives. We must attune ourselves to enhancing and appreciating the meaning in our lives, and Landau shows us how to do that. In this warmly written book, rich with examples from the author's life, film, literature, and history, Landau offers new theories and practical advice that awaken us to the meaning already present in our lives and demonstrates how we can enhance it. He confronts prevailing nihilist ideas that undermine our existence, and the questions that dog us no matter what we believe. While exposing the weaknesses of ideas that lead many to despair, he builds a strong case for maintaining more hope. Along the way, he faces provocative questions: Would we choose to live forever if we could? Does death render life meaningless? If we examine it in the context of the immensity of the whole universe, can we consider life meaningful? If we feel empty once we achieve our goals, and the pursuit of these goals is what gives us a sense of meaning, then what can we do? Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World is likely to alter the way you understand your life.
Author: Jim Loehr
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2008-10-07
Genre: Business & Economics
Outlines a strategy for personal success that explains how readers can adjust the telling of their life stories to promote goals and change how they are seen by others. By the author of The Power of Full Engagement. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.
Author: Roy F. Baumeister
Publisher: Guilford Press
Release Date: 1991-01-01
Who among us has not at some point asked, what is the meaning of life?' In this extraordinary book, an eminent social scientist looks at the big picture and explores what empirical studies from diverse fields tell us about the human condition. MEANINGS OF LIFE draws together evidence from psychology, history, anthropology, and sociology, integrating copious research findings into a clear and conclusive discussion of how people attempt to make sense of their lives. In a lively and accessible style, emphasizing facts over theories, Baumeister explores why people desire meaning in their lives, how these meanings function, what forms they take, and what happens when life loses meaning. It is the most comprehensive examination of the topic to date.
Author: Victor J. Strecher
Release Date: 2016-05-10
A pioneer in the field of behavioral science delivers a groundbreaking work that shows how finding your purpose in life leads to better health and overall happiness. Your life is a boat. You need a rudder. But it doesn’t matter how much wind is in your sails if you’re not steering toward a harbor—an ultimate purpose in your life. While the greatest philosophers have pondered purpose for centuries, today it has been shown to have a concrete impact on our health. Recent studies into Alzheimer’s, heart disease, stroke, depression, functional brain imaging, and measurement of DNA repair are shedding new light on how and why purpose benefits our lives. Going beyond the fads, opinions, and false hopes of “expert” self-help books, Life on Purpose explores the incredible connection between purposeful living and the latest scientific evidence on quality of life and longevity. Drawing on ancient and modern philosophy, literature, psychology, evolutionary biology, genetics, and neuroscience, as well as his experience in public health research, Dr. Vic Strecher reveals the elements necessary for a purposeful life and how to acquire them, and outlines an elegant strategy for improving energy, willpower, and long-term happiness, and well-being. He integrates these core themes into his own personal story—a tragedy that led him to reconsider his own life—and how a deeper understanding of purposeful living helped him not only survive, but thrive. Illuminating, accessible, and authentically grounded in real people’s experiences, Life on Purpose is essential reading for everyone seeking lasting improvement in their lives.
Author: Christopher L. Kukk
Release Date: 2017-03-07
A powerful, practical guide for cultivating compassion—the scientifically proven foundation for personal achievement and success at work, at home, and in the community. For decades, we’ve been told the key to prosperity is to look out for number one. But recent science shows that to achieve durable success, we need to be more than just achievers; we need to be compassionate achievers. New research in biology, neuroscience, and economics have found that compassion—recognizing a problem or caring about another’s pain and making a commitment to help—not only improves others’ lives; it can transform our own. Based on the most recent studies from a wide range of fields, The Compassionate Achiever reveals the profound benefits of practicing compassion including more constructive relationships, improved intelligence, and increased resiliency. To help us achieve these benefits, Christopher L. Kukk, the founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, shares his unique 4-step program for cultivating compassion. Kukk makes clear that practicing compassion isn’t about being a martyr or a paragon of virtue; it’s about rejecting rage and indifference and choosing instead to be a thoughtful, caring problem-solver. He identifies the skills every compassionate achiever should master—listening, understanding, connecting, and acting—and outlines how to develop each, with clear explanations, easy-to-implement strategies, actionable exercises, and real-world examples. With the The Compassionate Achiever everyone wins—we can each achieve success in our own lives and create more productive workplaces, and healthier, less violent communities.
Artfully capturing yoga's vibrant spirit, Yoga Bodies presents full-color yoga-pose portraits of more than 80 practitioners of all ages, shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and skill levels—real people with real stories to share about how yoga has changed their lives for the better. Some humorous, some heartfelt, others profound, the stories entertain as they enlighten, while the portraits—which joyously challenge the "yoga body" stereotype—celebrate the glorious diversity of the human form. Handsomely jacketed and richly visual inside and out, Yoga Bodies is a coffee table–worthy contemplation, a meaningful gift, and a source of endless inspiration for anyone seeking fresh perspectives on how to live well.
Caring Is a Competitive Advantage Suffering in the workplace can rob our colleagues and coworkers of humanity, dignity, and motivation and is an unrecognized and costly drain on organizational potential. Marshaling evidence from two decades of field research, scholars and consultants Monica Worline and Jane Dutton show that alleviating such suffering confers measurable competitive advantages in areas like innovation, collaboration, service quality, and talent attraction and retention. They outline four steps for meeting suffering with compassion and show how to build a capacity for compassion into the structures and practices of an organization—because ultimately, as they write, “Compassion is an irreplaceable dimension of excellence for any organization that wants to make the most of its human capabilities.”
The entire world, especially the United States, is in the midst of an energy revolution. Since the oil embargo of 1973, individuals, corporations, and other organizations have found ways to economically reduce energy use. In this book, Jim Sweeney examines the energy policies and practices of the past forty years and their impact on three crucial systems: the economy, the environment, and national security. He shows how energy-efficiency contributions to the country's overall energy situation have been more powerful than all the increases in the domestic production of oil, gas, coal, geothermal energy, nuclear power, solar power, wind power, and biofuels. The author details the impact of new and improved energy-efficient technologies, the environmental and national security benefits of energy efficiency, ways to amplify energy efficiency, and more. Energy Efficiency: Building a Clean, Secure Economy reveals how the careful nurturing of private- and public-sector energy efficiency--along with public awareness, appropriate pricing, appropriate policies--and increased research and development, the trends of decreasing energy intensity and increasing energy efficiency can be beneficially accelerated.
Author: Joshua Wolf Shenk
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: 2014-08-05
A curator and essayist surveys the inner workings of creative duos, from John Lennon and Paul McCartney to Marie and Pierre Curie to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and describes how their creative techniques can be adapted and used in everyday life. 50,000 first printing.
We all know the story of Thanksgiving. Or do we? This uniquely American holiday has a rich and little known history beyond the famous feast of 1621. In Thanksgiving, award-winning author Melanie Kirkpatrick journeys through four centuries of history, giving us a vivid portrait of our nation's best-loved holiday. Drawing on newspaper accounts, private correspondence, historical documents, and cookbooks, Thanksgiving brings to life the full history of the holiday and what it has meant to generations of Americans. Many famous figures walk these pages—Washington, who proclaimed our first Thanksgiving as a nation amid controversy about his Constitutional power to do so; Lincoln, who wanted to heal a divided nation sick of war when he called for all Americans—North and South—to mark a Thanksgiving Day; FDR, who set off a debate on state's rights when he changed the traditional date of Thanksgiving. Ordinary Americans also play key roles in the Thanksgiving story—the New England Indians who boycott Thanksgiving as a Day of Mourning; Sarah Josepha Hale, the nineteenth-century editor and feminist who successfully campaigned for Thanksgiving to be a national holiday; the 92nd Street Y in New York City, which founded Giving Tuesday, an online charity established in the long tradition of Thanksgiving generosity. Kirkpatrick also examines the history of Thanksgiving football and, of course, Thanksgiving dinner. While the rites and rituals of the holiday have evolved over the centuries, its essence remains the same: family and friends feasting together in a spirit of gratitude to God, neighborliness, and hospitality. Thanksgiving is Americans' oldest tradition. Kirkpatrick's enlightening exploration offers a fascinating look at the meaning of the holiday that we gather together to celebrate on the fourth Thursday of November. With Readings for Thanksgiving Day designed to be read aloud around the table.
In The Artisan Soul, Erwin Raphael McManus, author, thought leader, and founder of MOSAIC in Los Angeles, pens a manifesto for human creativity and the beginning of a new renaissance. McManus not only calls us to reclaim our creative essence but reveals how we can craft our lives into a work of art. There are no shortcuts to quality, and McManus celebrates the spiritual process that can help us discover our true selves. McManus demonstrates that we all carry within us the essence of an artist. We all need to create, to be a part of a process that brings to the world something beautiful, good, and true, in order to allow our souls to come to life. It's not only the quality of the ingredients we use to build our lives that matter, but the care we bring to the process itself. Just like baking artisan bread, it's a process that's crafted over time. And God has something to say about how we craft our lives. With poignant, inspirational stories and insights from art, life, history, and scripture interspersed throughout, McManus walks readers through the process of crafting a life of beauty and wonder.