> Skip to content
  • Published: 2 January 2018
  • ISBN: 9781846044656
  • Imprint: Rider
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $28.00

The Power of Meaning

The true route to happiness




Why the search for meaning rather happiness is the true route to a fulfilling life.

'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.

  • Published: 2 January 2018
  • ISBN: 9781846044656
  • Imprint: Rider
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $28.00

About the author

Emily Esfahani Smith

Emily Esfahani Smith is a writer who draws on psychology, philosophy, and literature to write about the human experience—why we are the way we are and how we can find grace and meaning in a world that is full of suffering. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, The Atlantic, TIME, and other publications. She is also an instructor in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an editor at the Stanford University Hoover Institution, where she manages the Ben Franklin Circles project which aims to build meaning in local communities. Born in Zurich, Emily grew up in Montreal and earned a masters degree in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband in Washington, DC.

Related titles