The power of meaning

crafting a life that matters

290 pages

English language

Published Aug. 11, 2017

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5 stars (4 reviews)

"This wise, stirring book argues that the search for meaning can immeasurably deepen our lives and is far more fulfilling than the pursuit of personal happiness. There is a myth in our culture that the search for meaning is some esoteric pursuit-- that you have to travel to a distant monastery or page through dusty volumes to figure out life's great secret. The truth is, there are untapped sources of meaning all around us--right here, right now. Drawing on the latest research in positive psychology; on insights from George Eliot, Viktor Frankl, Aristotle, the Buddha, and other great minds; and on interviews with seekers of meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith lays out the four pillars upon which meaning rests. Belonging: We all need to find our tribe and forge relationships in which we feel understood, recognized, and valued-- to know we matter to others. Purpose: We all need a far-reaching goal …

6 editions

Review of 'The power of meaning' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

If you've read Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning," this book is essentially an update for the modern era. Current cultural trends tend to promote the idea that you can "find your purpose," as if it's hiding under a rock somewhere, and you just need to keep turning over additional rocks until it reveals itself. Personally, I follow the view that one must work to create meaning by focusing on service to the loved ones and world around us in whatever ways we are most naturally adept. This book examines that view and others, presenting personal stories combined with sociological research about how different individuals find meaning in their own lives. The paths the author looks at include a service mindset, crafting the stories we tell ourselves about our lives, transcendental experiences, and events that create a feeling of communion with others. It's a great read that helped me develop …


  • Self-actualization (Psychology)
  • Emotions
  • Meaning (Psychology)