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Publisher's Summary

This wise, stirring book argues that the search for meaning can immeasurably deepen our lives and is far more fulfilling than the pursuit of personal happiness.

There is a myth in our culture that the search for meaning is some esoteric pursuit - that you have to travel to a distant monastery or page through dusty volumes to figure out life's great secret. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us - right here, right now. Drawing on the latest research in positive psychology; on insights from George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, Aristotle, the Buddha, and other great minds; and on interviews with seekers of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith lays out the four pillars upon which meaning rests.

Belonging: We all need to find our tribe and forge relationships in which we feel understood, recognized, and valued - to know we matter to others.

Purpose: We all need a far-reaching goal that motivates us, serves as the organizing principle of our lives, and drives us to make a contribution to the world.

Storytelling: We are all storytellers, taking our disparate experiences and assembling them into a coherent narrative that allows us to make sense of ourselves and the world.

Transcendence: During a transcendent or mystical experience, we feel we have risen above the everyday world and are connected to something vast and meaningful.

To bring those concepts to life, Smith visits a tight-knit fishing village on the Chesapeake Bay, stargazes in West Texas, attends a dinner where young people gather to share their experiences of untimely loss, and more. And she explores how we might begin to build a culture of meaning in our schools, our workplaces, and our communities.

Inspiring and story-driven, The Power of Meaning will strike a profound chord in anyone seeking a richer, more satisfying life.

©2017 Emily Esfahani Smith (P)2017 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great exploration of meaning

It's a much needled topic for modern living. I find the examples very appealing, easy to follow and quite meaningful. It's a beautifully written book with so much heart. Highly recommend it!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful inspirational

I thoroughly enjoyed this inspiring book that cuts through the clutter of personal development. Through the telling of poignant and memorable stories and references to philosophers, great minds and modern thinkers the author distills the biggest issues of our human existence.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Good book, sometimes too many stories.

She does a great job authoring the main story and concepts. Most of the stories about the third parties are good. Sometimes I found my mind wandering because I felt disconnected. But overall, solid book about the importance of Meaning in my life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

Eye opening and thought provoking. I highly recommend this book to anyone searching for something more for their lives.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ingrid
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 04-21-17

Glad I read it.

I enjoyed this book. The reader is engaging with a very pleasant voice. I found myself rewinding it quite often just to make sure I got certain things and didn't miss them. I am sure I will listen again. And even though some of the ideas resonated because I've studied philosophy in college and grad school, I very much enjoyed the way she crafted the book and gave concrete examples to support her ideas. It's well worth your time. #MeaningMatters

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • LS
  • 09-27-17

Meandering

I really liked an article the author wrote about meaning, so I bought this audio book. However the book felt unfocused, like a string of meandering stories about meaning. The research is interesting but the book didn't feel cohesive to me. I wish it was more practical, for example instead of just describing research and anecdotes, linking it directly back to ideas for actions and questions the reader (listener) can ask about and investigate in her own life. A book with a subtitle "Crafting a life that matters" should address meaning more directly in the readers own life. It also would have helped to have the ideas distilled more clearly into a framework that is easier to remember. The case studies are good but I find I have an unusually difficult time remembering the main points in this book to share with others. Usually it's easy for me to remember the main lessons from books like this, to bring into conversation and recommend the book to friends. This one I won't be recommending, because the main lessons were not "sticky" enough. I might as well have not have listened to the book at all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Emily R
  • Logan, Ut, United States
  • 02-08-17

Life changing

I really hadn't intended on reading this book myself. I mainly purchased it for my daughter on a whim. I'm so grateful I did. so many beautiful perspectives brought to fruition. I feel like on our current state of divisive America, this book helped me focus on compassion, rather than politics for a moment, which was a blessing and hard to do.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Amazing book

I know I will read this book again. Emily Esfahani Smith takes an incredible look at the meaning of life and how we lead our lives through both rigorous research and story-telling. She connects you deeply to the characters in her book and draws you through their thought process. The questions she raises and conclusions she reaches surely provide a map of how to interpret and live your life, perhaps different than before. What a joy to find which pillar or pillars reach more deeply to you and provide clearer guidance as we all make our way through this thing called life.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Purpose

The book is read with eloquent pace and the author uses many interesting stories to share her wonderful view.

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Brilliant and a must for everyone!

This book encapsulated the concept of a meaningful life in so many brilliant ways. It helped to validate and strengthen the way I have chosen to live. Community/The Tribe and our stories within that when told help create empathy and empower each other to reevaluate our narrative. I'm getting multiple copies of this hard cover book to share with my Tribe. Thank you for such a powerful book!