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The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness Paperback – September 5, 2017

4.5 out of 5 stars 593 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Beautifully written and rigorously researched, The Power of Meaning speaks to the yearning we all share for a life of depth and significance. In a culture constantly shouting about happiness, this warm and wise book leads us down the path to what truly matters. Reading it is a life-transforming experience.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet

“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.”The Wall Street Journal

“A riveting read on the quest for the one thing that matters more than happiness. Emily Esfahani Smith reveals why we lose meaning in our lives and how to find it. Beautifully written, evidence-based, and inspiring, this is a book I’ve been awaiting for a very long time.”
—Adam Grant, author of Originals and Give and Take; professor at the Wharton School 

“From sleep-deprived teens to overworked professionals, Americans 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

“An enlightening guide to discovering meaning in one’s life . . . Smith persuasively reshapes the reader’s understanding of what constitutes a well-lived life.”
Publishers Weekly

“Thoughtful . . . Underscoring the power of connection, the author assures readers that finding meaning is not the result of ‘some great revelation’ but rather small gestures and humble acts.”Kirkus Reviews
 

"A​ wonderful, engaging writer . . . [Smith] offers clear, compelling, and above all useful advice for how to live with meaning and purpose."—Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
 
“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; emeritus professor of psychology, Swarthmore College
 
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

“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.”—Lord Richard Layard, Director, Well-Being Programme, Centre for Economic Performance

“The search for meaning just got a little easier, and a little 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; Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor of History, Dartmouth College

About the Author

Emily Esfahani Smith is an author and 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 TimesThe AtlanticTIME, 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, a collaboration with the 92nd Street Y and Citizen University to build meaning in local communities. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Emily grew up in Montreal, Canada. She graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a masters in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband in Washington, DC.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crown; Reprint edition (September 5, 2017)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0553446568
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0553446562
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 8.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.2 x 0.67 x 7.96 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 593 ratings

About the author

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Emily Esfahani Smith is a writer and journalist in Washington DC. Her book, "The Power of Meaning," was published in 2017 by Crown and has been translated into 16 different languages. The Wall Street Journal called the book “persuasive,” “elegant,” and “valuable” while the Prospect (UK) dubbed it “an intelligent page-turner.” In 2017, Smith delivered a talk called “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy” on the main stage of TED, which was based on her book. It’s been viewed over 6 million times.

The former managing editor of The New Criterion, Smith’s articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and other publications. Her articles for The Atlantic “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy” (about the Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl) and “Masters of Love” (about romance and marriage) have reached over 30 million readers. Her profile for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine of Joe Rago, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who tragically died at the age of 34, was shortlisted for a Folio magazine award in 2018. You can read more of her pieces on her website, emilyesfahanismith.com.

Smith is also a reporter for the Aspen Institute's Weave project, an initiative founded by the New York Times' David Brooks to address the problems of isolation, alienation, and division. At Weave, Smith finds and tells the stories of people who are working to rebuild the social fabric.

Smith got her start in journalism at Dartmouth College, where she majored in philosophy. She received her master’s degree in positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013. Between 2013 and 2018, she served as an instructor in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Smith grew up in Montreal, Canada, where her parents administered a Sufi meetinghouse from their home. She now lives in Washington DC with her husband, Charlie.

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Hande Z
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't worry, be happy.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 1, 2017
14 people found this helpful
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Amazon Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 4, 2020
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Jonathan Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredibly important book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 4, 2018
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Deborah Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Book with meaning
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 20, 2018
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ajl
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, with lots of insight - probably too ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 22, 2017
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