Emily Esfahani Smith has written about culture, psychology, and relationships for many different publications. She holds a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in positive psychology.
She is also an editor at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, where she manages the Ben Franklin Circles Project.
Smith caught the public's attention with a popular 2013 essay in The Atlantic titled "There's More to Life Than Being Happy" in which she urged readers to opt instead for the quest of meaning. The author believes that although happiness continues to rank very high in the minds of consumers, it oftentimes fails to deliver its promises and, as a result, millions are devastated by depression and suicide.
In this book, Smith identifies four pillars of meaning: Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling, and Transcendence. To explain them, Smith taps into the wisdom of a wide assortment of sociologists, psychologists, philosophers, neuroscientists, and literary figures. These four pillars help us make sense of this world and enable us to live surrounded by the great Mysteries that confound us.
Inveterate meaning-makers flourish even as they pass through adversity and setbacks. They are open and welcoming to other cultures of meaning and very serious about the legacy they leave behind after death. Whether writing about the deep-seated need of all human beings to share; the importance of a purpose-driven life; the rewards of attention paid to the stories of our lives; and the benefits of transcendent experiences, the author shows how meaning is not some esoteric quest reserved for a few, it is everyone's quest and can be found in our everyday lives.
The Power of Meaning is a timely and relevant book to take to heart!