Summary of There’s More to Life than Being Happy

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Modern culture obsesses over happiness, but that’s the wrong goal, says positive psychologist and author Emily Esfahani Smith. In fact, chasing happiness often makes people wretched, so Smith advises pursuing meaning instead. To that end, she describes “four pillars” supporting a meaningful life. getAbstract recommends Smith’s well-researched, sage advice for resetting your priorities and building a meaningful existence.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why happiness is an elusive goal,
  • How living meaningfully differs from pursuing happiness,
  • What “four pillars” support a meaningful life and
  • How to imbue your life with meaning.

About the Speaker

Positive psychologist Emily Esfahani Smith wrote The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness.



Pursuing happiness can make you miserable. Thus, suicide rates are increasing globally even as life improves by most measures. In the United States, the suicide rate is at 30-year high. Many people feel despair, but not because of a happiness vacuum. Instead, their lives lack meaning. Living meaningfully brings resilience, improved work or school performance, and a longer life. “Four pillars,” singly or combined, support meaningfulness:

  1. Belonging” – Genuine relationships based on love and acceptance create a sense of belonging. Choose to nurture this feeling in yourself and others. Avoid behaviors that devalue...

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    Anonymous 1 year ago
    simply and so true. thank you
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    Anonymous 1 year ago
    good to read this summary, it added much life experience
  • Avatar
    Anonymous 1 year ago
    good to read this summary, it added much life experience