The Power of Meaning book review. A book to find fulfillment in a world obsessed with happiness. #happiness #purpose #meaning

The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness


The Power of Meaning book review. A book to find fulfillment in a world obsessed with happiness. #happiness #purpose #meaning

This summer reading list is all about finding purpose, and I am happy to announce that I finish reading the first book on the list. I am also currently reading Werewolf HighHana-Kimi, and Queen’s Quality, so it’s taking longer than I thought 🙂

The first book I wanted to look at is The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith since I felt that I would be more inspired to find purpose after knowing how meaning can influence life!

This book is for you if you want to:

  • understand how finding meaning can influence your life
  • be more interested in your job
  • find a way to grow past trauma and adverse events
  • discover new ways to reduce your depression and anxiety

Inside The Power of Meaning

  1. The Meaning Crisis
  2. Belonging
  3. Purpose
  4. Storytelling
  5. Transcendence
  6. Growth
  7. Cultures of Meaning
  8. Conclusion

My thoughts on The Power of Meaning

I liked this book a lot and found it inspiring, the only part I had issues to connecting with was Transcendence since I am not a religious person and have still troubles with meditation. But the other chapters spoke to me and inspired me to write in my journal more often to deal with everyday negative experiences.

Lessons learned from The Power of Meaning

  • Living a meaningful life happens when connecting and contributing to something beyond the self
  • Reseach found that it’s not unhappiness but the lack of meaning that predict suicide
  • We need to find meaning on our own
  • Ways to find purpose in life:
    • Facing challenges: out of the pain, loss, and struggles that we endure
    • Building something
    • Having a project or goal
    • With relationships to others
    • Having a mission tied to contributing to society
    • Making sense of our experiences and who we are
    • Connecting to something more significant than the self
  • The four pillars of meaning:
    1. Belonging:
      • Having relationships with others based on mutual care
      • Having frequent pleasant interactions with other people
    2. Purpose:
      • It doesn’t have to be big
      • Self-reflection and self-knowledge are necessary to find meaning
      • Your purpose can be:
        • a goal you are working toward
        • a contribution to the world
        • based on your values, beliefs, strengths, talents, insights, and experiences
        • inspired by ways to improve our circles lives like family, community, or work
      • It will be different for everybody
      • Having a purpose gives the motivation to battle good and bad experiences
    3. Storytelling
      • It helps to:
        • connect the events of life in new ways
        • gain insight into experiences and learn from it
        • analyze life and change path if needed
        • make sense of the world and our place in it
        • understand why things happen the way they do
      • People telling redemptive stories (bad to good) usually live more meaningful lives
      • People telling contamination stories (good to bad) are usually more anxious and depressed
      • Therapy helps to rewrite stories more positively by editing and reinterpreting events
      • We can find meaning in stories told by others
      • Fiction can help cope with negative experiences
      • Sharing stories help others feel less alone
    4. Transcendence
      • Mystical experiences share four qualities:
        1. passive
        2. transient
        3. ineffable
        4. noetic
  •  Growth:
    • Traumatic experiences often drive to help those who have suffered in the same way. It helps to become less depressed, anxious and angry.
    • More people are experiencing post-traumatic growth than PTSD
    • Five ways to grow after a crisis:
      1.  creating stronger relationships
      2. discovering of new paths or purpose
      3. finding new inner strengths
      4. deepening the spiritual life
      5. getting a renewed appreciation for life
    • Contrary to venting, writing helps process events to overcome them

Listen to the book for free

Here’s how you can get your free copy of The Power of Meaning:

  1. Subscribe to the 30-day Audible free trial by clicking here
  2. Click here to get the You Do You audiobook
  3. Select Buy with Audible Credit, you should have received 2 credits for subscribing to the previous link
  4. Then you will be able to listen to it online or on your phone!

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The Power of Meaning book review. A book to find fulfillment in a world obsessed with happiness. #happiness #purpose #meaning

Further reading

Over to you

Did you read the Power of Meaning? What did you think of it?


Julie was diagnosed with anxiety and depression during the summer of 2016 and have since been fighting mental health stigmas by bringing awareness on the subject and sharing tips to help people become happier. Read Julie’s inspiring story, “My Journey Into Acknowledging The Depression.” Feel free to send a message to Julie here.

  • Beka

    July 21, 2018 at 2:21 pm Reply

    I read this last year when it came out. Good book. I liked the little quiz she has also.

    One point i want to make in counter to your issue with transcendence: you do not need religion to have this connection. EES comes at it from that perspective, but the examples i was not so sure are just those based in religion. One can connect to something bigger, larger without religion being the conduit. That is very important to know.

    Connecting to the universe + something larger than oneself is not a construct of human (narrow) definition, but an innate human/animal one.


  • Laura-Lee Bowers

    July 23, 2018 at 7:16 pm Reply

    Hey Chica, do you like Gothic Lit? Because …. drum roll please … the biggest trope of Gothic Lit IS transcendence. It is through the sublime (fear/awe) that the reader “suspends thought” (which is meditation) and experiences transcendence. (It’s arguably why people like to be afraid.) I wrote a big long scholarly article on the topic 😛 but I thought I’d poke my nose in here and mention it (just because I advocate for spiritual experience being a human one) since I saw oyu reading about werewolves. All the best!

  • Beka | theVOLTAiC

    July 26, 2018 at 10:17 am Reply

    …that is one way, for sure.

    And yes, totally agree with you on the point that spiritual experience being a human one, religion optional 😉

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