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The Power of Purpose: Living Well by Doing Good Paperback – March 27, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Temes employs the same probing approach he used in The Just War to explore the best way to live a meaningful life. He posits that there are three levels of thinking; the first two are "how do I feel?" and "how do others feel about me?" The third, which elevates existence, is "how do others feel about themselves?" Drawing on sources as diverse as Aristotle and I.B. Singer's "Gimpel the Fool," as well as men and women who make a difference today, Temes argues for living at the third level both personally and professionally: "helping others look good in their own eyes and finding strength and happiness in yourself by helping others feel stronger and happier." This mode of thought will lead to better management, better parenting and a better world, says Temes, who draws on his own experience to illustrate how spending time with his family meant more to him than a career. Temes, who teaches literary humanities at Columbia, is to some extent pouring old wine into new bottles (help yourself by helping others), but he offers a text that probes deeply and, happily, counters the idea that self-help is only about self-advancement. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peter S. Temes’s previous books include Teaching Leadership, Against School Reform (and in Praise of Great Teaching), and The Just War. He teaches in the Core Curriculum at Columbia University and has been a consultant to Goldman Sachs, Ernst & Young, British Telecom, and other multibillion-dollar firms.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (March 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307337154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307337153
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,652,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Finding our purpose in life is an important goal and priority. Not just because it's something nice to do, but also because much of our health, wellness and success depends upon it.

This is one of a growing group of books showing that the dog-eat-dog mentality that has typified many inter-personal relationshps and business ventures is neither necessary nor desirable. Competition is certainly no bad thing, but ruthlessly trampling others is rarely likely to be of any benefit to anyone. I say this as someone who was raised and trained in an aggressively hyper-competitive environment in which we were all expected to behave in the same way. It took me many years and a change of continent to break out of that pernicious mindset.

This is a book that could easily have sprung from Eastern traditions of Karma and causality, or the early days of the American self-help movement, quite correctly making a strong argument for the practicality of altruism. Yet this is not a self-help book in the normal sense of the term, for it inverts the normal idea that self-help is simply a matter of self-advancement at the expense of others. I am quite sure that the fundamental premise - that helping others is the most reliable path to helping yourself - is true, not just in business and personal life, but at more fundamental levels of the Universe. The essential connectedness that appears not just to be a characteristic of rare quantum interactions, but instead a feature of our day-to-day world, provides powerful support for this idea.

Peter Temes explores an apparently simple idea: how do people perceive me, and how do I perceive them? And then the next step: how can I help others express their full potential?
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Format: Paperback
This book makes a few good points, most of which are listed in the above review section. The rest of the book is filled with examples, details and stories that anyone could write. Here's a sample: "Recent research into bad behavior by teenagers has revealed that one of the most effective strategies parents can use to help keep their kids on track is to have family dinners..."

Sometimes what could be an article is expanded into a book and that's the feeling I got with this book. I gave the book four stars because the book makes a few worthwhile points, quotes some important thinkers and is inexpensive.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read a lot. This book has helped me enormous to start and develop a project, Imagine 2015, whereby high school students can earn $1300 per month and get $12,500 per year towards tuition/vocational training or business start-up funds. This book has been the guiding light to create a business model that benefits other and where 88% of the proceeds are given back to help others. WOW. I have read it about 5 times now!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is my 2nd time reading this one. Changed my way of thinking many year ago and re-reading it again to help me get back to that positive place again. Have referenced and recommended it to many friends.
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