Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Finding Fulfillment In A World
Obsessed With Happiness
By Emily Esfahani Smith

OVERVIEW: In The Power of Meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith shows us we've been chasing the wrong goal. It's not happiness that makes life worth living—it's meaning. Drawing on the latest research in psychology, as well as insights from philosophy and literature, Smith brings to life the four pillars of meaning—belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence—and introduces us to extraordinary and ordinary people working to build those pillars in their own lives. Finally, she explores how we might begin to create cultures of meaning within our communities and institutions, helping all of us lead richer, more satisfying lives.

AUTHOR: Emily Esfahani Smith is a writer who draws on psychology, philosophy, and literature to write about the human experience. Her writing has appeared in the Wall street Journal, the New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, and other publications—and she delivered a 2017 TED Talk on creating a meaningful life. She is also an instructor of positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and 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. She graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a master's in applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

MY REVIEW: Reading this book, I have been "blown away" by the tremendous research done by the author. I am in awe of the amount of information in the notes alone. I am a voracious reader and have been for years. But Smith's research has provided wonderful, valuable information that I had not seen or heard about before. She writes clearly and beautifully. Laying out the evidence in an inspiring way as she quietly attacks the idea that happiness is a goal we should aim for in life.

I agree with author, Susan Cain who wrote, "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." It took me longer to read this book than most of the ones I read but there was a good reason for it. I kept stopping, meditating and thinking through what I was reading. The book is filled with many stories of people searching for fulfillment. She tells the many struggles of those who look for happiness in all the wrong places. But the best part is when she writes about those who find fulfillment in a world obsessed with happiness.

Author, Adam Grant said "this is a book I've been awaiting for a very long time." I think many others have too. Being a minister I spend much time with the Bible and thinking about God. However I didn't expect this book to be filled with thoughts from the Bible. I am pleased that this book doesn't lead people away from God and the Bible and it will be extremely helpful to all those searching for meaning.

(I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.)