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A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do Paperback – January 6, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this slender volume, bestselling spiritual guru Moore (Care of the Soul) says that finding the right work, finding one's vocation, is also part of the care of the soul. Often Moore proves astute; for instance, he urges people to think about having not just one but a variety of callings. His consideration of the pleasures and foibles of friendship in the workplace is especially insightful. Although confident that even the most mundane job can be enjoyable and life-giving, Moore sets the question of vocation in a broader frame, suggesting that it is best addressed as a part of fashioning lives that are organically whole and meaningful. Though still influenced by Jung, Moore draws inspiration from a delightful array of sources, including Yeats, Socrates, and Rapunzel. The book's governing metaphor, alchemy, is often apt; Moore notes that both alchemy and finding a life's work require patience through a long refining process, and both are about the process, not just the end result. Often the comparison works; at other times, it's heavy-handed, and Moore also lapses into clichés (take the past and own it). Nonetheless, this will be of use to many people who seek joyful work and integrated lives. (Feb. 26)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Praise for A Life’s Work
“Over the years, Thomas Moore has taught us how to discover the holiness concealed in the ordinary. In this very useful book, he shows us how to search for the sacred dimension of our work and find our life’s meaning in the process.”

“Forget about the color of your parachute, here is a book that teaches you how to fly. Through ancient parable, contemporary therapy, personal vignette, and, above all, an uncommon sapience, Moore deftly guides through life’s greatest quandary: Why have I been created? Give this book to yourself.”
—Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author of Kabbalah: A Love Story

And Praise for Care of the Soul

“From time to time, I’ve been jolted by an extraordinary book that stops my world. It forces me to look at reality in a different way—a more expansive and meaningful way. It has provided a missing piece for me.”
—John Bradshaw, author of Homecoming

“The sincerity, intelligence, and style—so beautifully clean—of Tom Moore’s Care of the Soul truly moved me. The book’s got strength and class and soul, and I suspect may last longer than psychology itself.”
—James Hillman, author of Re-Visioning Psychology

“The book just may help you give up the futile quest for salvation and get down to the possible task of taking care of your soul. A modest, and therefore marvelous, book about the life of the spirit.”
—Sam Keen, author of Fire in the Belly

“Thoughtful, eloquent, inspiring.”
—Alix Madrigal, San Francisco Chronicle

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767922530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767922531
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Moore is the author of the bestselling book Care of the Soul and fifteen other books on deepening spirituality and cultivating soul in every aspect of life. He has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, and a psychotherapist, and today he lectures widely on holistic medicine, spirituality, psychotherapy, and ecology. He lectures frequently in Ireland and has a special love of Irish culture. He has Ph. D. in religion from Syracuse University and has won several awards for his work, including an honorary doctorate from Lesley University and the Humanitarian Award from Einstein Medical School of Yeshiva University. He also writes fiction and music and often works with his wife, artist and yoga instructor, Hari Kirin. He writes regular columns for Resurgence and Spirituality & Health and has recently published A Life at Work and Writing in the Sand. He is a patron of Re-Vision, a London center of spirituality and counseling, and on the board of Turning Point, a bereavement counselors training program in Dublin, Ireland.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It's not clear who will be the audience for this book. In my experience, people turn to career books when they face challenges in their own careers. They want a step-by-step guide, or at least some direction.

Moore's book is about transformation rather than transition. Indeed, his core metaphor is based on the medieval art of alchemy. He offers a number of important insights, based on life experience and his work as a therapist. He reiterates some ideas that have been developed elsewhere. For instance, Rick Jarow emphasized the role of family and early childhood history in career decisions. Others have emphasized the importance of listening to signs, experimenting with different options and combining diverse career interests serially or simultaneously.

The chapters on the daimon and on dreams are more original. He suggests unique approaches to dealing with dreams and interpreting the daimon in one's life.

On the other hand, Life at Work will be frustrating to many readers. For instance, Moore describes an incident where a dedicated retail salesperson was undermined by his boss. It's not clear what lesson we're supposed to learn or what the man can do.

And Moore seems curiously naive about some elements of the workplace. Describing a company retreat, he wishes for more silence and more sense of community. But in today's corporate environments, you can't afford to be open and you can't trust your sense of community. You have to keep your game face and protect yourself. The employer-employee relationship is ultimately an economic one.

Ultimately, though, readers may be most frustrated because Moore seems to be an exceptionally gifted and wise therapist. We're on our own on this one.
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Format: Hardcover
While this is a nice spiritual book to read along your journey to finding your passion and life work, I did not find it to be very helpful or pragmatic for me.
The author has a very pleasant and engaging writing style that I enjoyed. He uses the metaphors of alchemy to explain the path to creating your life work. He also discusses the belief in the ancient world of us all having an Animus or Daimon that drive our passions and influence us. He also draws on the bible, Buddhism, and ancient mythology along his path to lead us to doing what we were born to do. I liked the fact that he took the focus on simply working and expanded the fact that our life work could be parenhood, our family, our hobbies, our religion, our whatever engages us and enables us to lose our sense of self in something bigger than we are. Beginners will find this book useful, but those of us that have been searching for meaning and a life work for years will likely be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
What is the difference between success and happiness; and how can we attain both? These questions, and his answers to them, are the essence of Moore's book. He pulls from ancient and current sources, from business to art, and from family life to career, and gives insight to all of these and many other facets of our lives. Through it all, one theme repeats itself: We were each born with a purpose, a mission---a calling that matters to our own happiness and also to the success of the world.

The grand secret seems to be that by focusing on the success of the world and happiness of others, we find both in our own lives. But Moore teaches this in a deep and at times profound way that is moving as well as instructive. For me, Moore's book is more a work of art than a simple how-to.

For example, Moore teaches the difference between soul and spirit, and how both are part of our lives. Both are too often ignored in our modern world (to our own painful detriment). Also, he shows how the Greeks taught the difference between the eros (the things we love) and psyche (the person we are) parts of us and the real me in each of us. And he shows us how to bring these together in the practical, real world of everyday life.

Perhaps most importantly, Moore uses all this background to help us have better lives---especially at work, where most people spend over half of their adult lives. Too many people find success but not happiness; or, perhaps more commonly, struggle and don't even find the success they seek. Moore teaches us how---in basic, practical and effective ways---to live lives of success that are happy and deeply meaningful.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most useless books I have ever read. Thomas Moore talks about the philosphy of finding work you love, and tells stories and uses religious metphaor alot. a Daimon of work? Thie is described as a primal, creative urge. Yeah, so? What if you can't figure out what that Daimon is? If I'm having a problem figuring out what I like or what I want to do, digging deeper within myself is not helpful. If it were I would not be reading this book. As a therapist he falls into the trap of having you endlessly hash over your past, no, go digging into it. He also leans heavily on this idea of alchemy. Well, since this guy taught mythology and archetypal psychology in his many different careers that would explain most of this book. There are also times I think his interpretation of what happened in someone's life is a leap, and this deal he launches into with dream interpretation is too fluffy for me.

Bottom line is, in this world you may or may not get to do work you like. The business of having money to eat, to provide shelter, speaks to raw survival, not to the etheral ideas in this book. If you are looking for something practical or useful this is definately not the book for you.
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