Latest Issue

Books in brief: The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahan Smith

"In a world that seems caught between pure hedonism and divisive sectarianism, the book mounts a timely challenge"

By Naomi Goulder   March 2017

The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith (Rider, £14.99)

Buy the book on Amazon 

Everyone wants to be happy. But our cultural obsession with happiness is wrong. What makes for a good life is not happiness, but meaning.

So argues the writer Emily Esfahani Smith in an intelligent page-turner that mobilises a wide range of social-psychological data—including a vast recent study into suicide by Shigehiro Oishi and Ed Diener—and ideas from the likes of Aristotle, Friedrich Nietzsche, William James, Émile Durkheim, Viktor Frankl and Albert Camus, to make the case for a…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect