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Your Life Isn't for You: A Selfish Person's Guide to Being Selfless Paperback – September 22, 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A brilliantly written and insightful book. Seth's vulnerability and honesty are irresistible--pulling you in and opening your heart to the possibility of a life without walls." --Michael J. Merchant, President, ANASAZI Foundation "Seth's amazing book illustrates a powerful and proven path to happiness and gently reminds us how easily we forget this profound truth: focusing on others brings the deepest joy." --Lindsay Hadley, founder and CEO, Hadley Impact Consulting "Seth Adam Smith has figured out some of life's greatest lessons through remarkable life experiences and by listening to the great teachers that were placed in his path." --Sterling C. Tanner, President and Executive Director, Forever Young Foundation

Your Life Isn t For You by Seth Adam Smith is a small, easy to read but powerful book full of positive messages. It is lighthearted and filled with important life lessons aimed to give readers a heightened sense of self awareness.

Book Examiner

The book is distinguished by his candor. He tells you that your life is about being of service to others in countless ways and thus the title becomes clear. If you feel you re encountering problems because of your own selfish attitudes or behavior, I strongly recommend you read his book.

Book Views

One of those books that readers will be able to go back to time and again to remind themselves what can happen in life and how good life can be if lived for others.

Blog Critics and Seattle Post Intelligencer

A brilliantly written and insightful book. Seth s vulnerability and honesty are irresistible pulling you in and opening your heart to the possibility of a life without walls.

Michael J. Merchant, President, ANASAZI Foundation

Seth s amazing book illustrates a powerful and proven path to happiness and gently reminds us how easily we forget this profound truth: focusing on others brings the deepest joy.

Lindsay Hadley, founder and CEO, Hadley Impact Consulting

Seth Adam Smith has figured out some of life s greatest lessons through remarkable life experiences and by listening to the great teachers that were placed in his path.

Sterling C. Tanner, President and Executive Director, Forever Young Foundation"

Book Description

Following up on his monster blog post “Marriage is Not for You” (30 million views and coverage in broadcast and online media worldwide), Smith shows how the philosophy of living for others he put forward in that post applies to all areas of life.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (September 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626560951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626560956
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Smith begins this book by writing, “Your life isn’t for you. Really. It’s not. Your life isn’t for you and my life isn’t for me. The truth is that nature didn’t design us to find fulfillment in living for ourselves. We can achieve the fullest measure of life only by living it for others.”
That’s the opening paragraph. The author uses the rest of the short 82 pages to describe how he lived his life only for himself and finally found peace when he started living for others. Smith starts the first chapter by explaining how he was born with a “frighteningly large head.”
From there he starts to intertwine his story with a bedtime story his dad read to him and his sister called, “The Selfish Giant.” He uses parts of that story to illustrate his message throughout the book and his story.
Smith also writes openly and in detail about attempting to end his own life. His thoughts before the attempt and his thoughts afterward are very moving and telling.
The message of this book is important to all ages. Living for others makes one’s own life more meaningful. We all need and look for meaning in life. Smith puts it front and center in this book, living only for one’s self is not a good way to live.
what can happen in life and how good life can be if lived for others.
Each chapter begins with really great quotes. Plus, the way the author mixes the story of “The Selfish Giant” makes the message really stick. It’s a great book with a great message.
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Format: Paperback
Great! A Personal Story of a Personal Struggle and how he overcame! Great insight and a great way to intertwine it with the story of -- The Selfish Giant. Loved it! This books will help many who are struggling with depression.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Did I enjoy this book: It was alright. It was a quick read with a good message.

However, I don’t think I am the target audience. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means a completely selfless person. But I understand that my life isn’t all mine. I’m a mom, a wife, a daughter, etc. And I’m not in my late teens or early twenties. That is the age range for this message. I think those who are just becoming adults and going out on their own would benefit from this book.

At first–and this sounds awful–but I couldn’t feel that bad for Mr. Smith. (I know, that sounds horrible.) It just felt like he was a kid who was very blessed but just wasn’t happy. Kind of a woe-is-me tale. However, once I learned more about his depression and what he was going through, I started to feel more compassion toward his situation. Once we got into his story about coming back to “life,” it really took a turn for the better. I found it uplifting and promising. I enjoyed hearing his stories about his times in Russia, both before and after his suicide attempt. These stories depicted the selfless aspect of Mr. Smith’s message. And I really appreciated the story of “The Selfish Giant” by Oscar Wilde being woven throughout Mr. Smith’s tale. It worked. On the other hand, I wish the story about Prometheus (being a light) wasn’t included in this book. It didn’t seem to fit with the the theme for me. I thought it would be better suited for a different subject.

Would I recommend it: I think so.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Format: Paperback
This a great self help book without being preachy. The way Seth shares his personal experiences intermixed with a plethora of classic literature allows the reader to connect intimately to human experiences. He normalizes these vulnerable experiences to help others struggling with the same things know they are not alone and that there is hope for them. It is inspiring to anyone, no matter what their experiences. Everyone has some level of selfishness and this book offers a great invitation to all of us to love more perfectly.
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Format: Paperback
Smith is a storyteller at heart and he uses stories and allegories to teach, inspire, and entertain. Seth does a great job doing all of those things in this book. My favorite part about Smith's writing is the quips of humor and sarcasm. Comic relief is a lost art and this book adds some well timed laughs to heavy topics. If you can find the humor in the title, you will have no trouble enjoying the content. Between the stories and the humor is a great message that will certainly help anyone looking for happiness and fulfillment in their life and relationships.
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By Kim on September 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
I was able to read an advanced copy of this book and I loved it!! The author speaks very candidly and openly about his own experiences and shares a lot of great stories and personal insight.
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By Ariel on September 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! A great, positive message about overcoming depression and self-centeredness by loving and sharing your life with others.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This slim inspirational guide "Your Life Isn't For You: A Selfish Person's Guide to Being Selfless" is part short memoir, essay, and philosophies authored by Seth Adam Smith.

When his essay "Marriage Isn't For You" went viral in 2013, getting over 2.2 million views in 36 hours. The essay was printed in the Huffington Post and numerous other newsfeeds and publications. Smith appeared with his wife Kim on GMA and Fox and Friend's to talk about the success of his newsworthy essay. Later it would be translated by volunteers in over 20 languages to be received world wide.

In 2005 at the age of 19, Smith was appointed to go on a 2 year term to be a missionary in Eastern Russia near the city of Viadivostok. This was a particularly troubling time for him, as he struggled with undiagnosed chronic depression, and later attempted to end his life. Smith was pulled from a car, (he had swallowed a full bottle of sleeping pills also a half bottle of pain pills) and saved by his father who called the EMT's. While recovering Smith would realize what a selfish act this was and dedicated his life more fully to service of others.

In growing up his father read him "The Selfish Giant" (Oscar Wilde), Smith talks about the impact of literature on his life. While in Saint Petersburg he saw the statue of "The Resurrected Russian" and related the story of Fydor Dostoyevsky who became one of the greatest worldwide writer's of literature. Prometheus, hesitant at leaving the safety of Mt. Olympus, his story about service to those he loved.
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