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About the book
  • 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.

  • Pub date: 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.


Praise for The Power of Meaning

“An intelligent page turner…illuminating…the book mounts a timely challenge”

PROSPECT

“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

“The analysis that opens the book, and that structures the whole, is simple and elegant… The insight that, in our daily lives, we need to think of others and to have goals that include caring for others or working for something other than our own prosperity and advancement is the most valuable message in the book.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL

“The Power of Meaning deftly tells the stories of people, contemporary and historical, who have made the quest for meaning the mission of their lives. This powerful yet elegant book will inspire you to live a life of significance”

DANIEL H. PINK, author of Drive

“From sleep-deprived teens to overworked professionals, we are suffering from an epidemic of stress and exhaustion. It's clear our definition of success is broken. As Emily Esfahani Smith shows, only by finding our purpose and opening ourselves to life's mystery can we find true well being. Combining cutting-edge research with storytelling, The Power of Meaning inspires us to zero in on what really matters.”

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, author of Thrive

“This powerful, beautifully written book weaves together seamlessly cutting-edge psychological research, moving personal narratives and insights from great literature to make a convincing case that the key to a good life is finding or creating meaning.”

BARRY SCHWARTZ, author of The Paradox of Choice

“The search for meaning just got a little easier, and a lot more fun. To follow Emily Esfahani Smith in this great human quest is to undertake a rewarding journey with a sure-footed guide.”

DARRIN M. McMAHON, author of Happiness: A History

“The Power of Meaning deftly tells the stories of people, contemporary and historical, who have made the quest for meaning the mission of their lives. This powerful yet elegant book will inspire you to live a life of significance”

Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive


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