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The Good Life : What Makes A Life Worth Living? - Hugh Mackay

The Good Life

What Makes A Life Worth Living?

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Published: 1st May 2013
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Published: 1st May 2013
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You hear that insistent message, echoing through the philosophical traditions of East and West: treat other people the way you'd like to be treated. The basic message never alters, whether your moral heritage is Socratic, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, humanistic or anything in between.

Social researcher and psychologist Hugh Mackay has spent 40 years asking Australians about their lives, loves, hopes, ambitions, fears and passions. In The Good Life, he asks and answers the ultimate question: What makes a life worth living? His conclusion, drawn from his research, is provocative and passionately argued. A good life is not measured by security, wealth, status, achievement or levels of happiness. A good life is determined by our capacity for selflessness and our willingness to connect with those around us in a meaningful and useful way.

Hugh looks at the numerous ways we get distracted from this central purpose. He examines the utopian complex, which describes our dangerous desire for perfection, and the false expectation that life will unfold according to our carefully laid plans. He highlights the things that lead us along paths to pain and confusion, notably our willingness to sacrifice others on the altar of our personal desires and ambitions. As with Hugh's previous works of non-fiction, The Good Life is a book that will start conversations, ignite arguments and possibly change the way we live our lives.

About the Author

Hugh Mackay is a prolific and well-known social researcher, writer and commentator in Australia. Hugh was a newspaper columnist for over 25 years, and is now an honorary professor of social science at the University of Wollongong. He is the author of nine books in the field of social psychology and philosophy, and five novels. Previous books include Why Don't People Listen? Reinventing Australia and What Makes Us Tick?.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
 
4.4

(based on 12 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Deserves multiple readings (9)
  • Easy to read (9)
  • Informative (7)
  • Well written (7)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Gift (6)
  • Reference (5)
  • Older readers (4)
  • Special needs (3)
  • Younger readers (3)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Everyday reader (5), Casual reader (4), Bookworm (3)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Definitely worth your attention!

Hugh Mackay's "The Good Life" is a pearl. He goes to the very heart of what makes life satisfying, joyful and rewarding. He canvasses all the regular formulae for what...Read complete review

Hugh Mackay's "The Good Life" is a pearl. He goes to the very heart of what makes life satisfying, joyful and rewarding. He canvasses all the regular formulae for what makes life good and finds the usual concepts and ideas seriously wanting. His conclusion is clear - a life given to the service of others is the only avenue to a life that is good, meaningful and purposeful. Throughout he offers comments and insights which he has gathered in interviews. A thoroughly stimulating and beautifully written book. Worth reading more than once!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

The Good Life

I have found through reading many self help books, this was not all I expected. However, we would all see parts of ourselves in this book, at some stage.If you are unhappy with...Read complete review

I have found through reading many self help books, this was not all I expected. However, we would all see parts of ourselves in this book, at some stage.If you are unhappy with who you are, and be honest with yourself, you will get it.
Worth reading.

Reviewed by 12 customers

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4.0

Inspirational - Life is worth living

By 

from Derby, WA

About Me Casual Reader

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Read

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Special Needs

    A great read - reflection -

    Comment on this review

     
    4.0

    Thought provoking!!

    By 

    from Sunshine Coast,AU

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Pros

    • Deserves Multiple Readings
    • Easy To Read
    • Informative
    • Well Written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Gift
      • Older Readers
      • Reference

      A well written thought provoking book, this writer ask the reader to ingest well thought out perspectives and provides no false " one strategy fits all" fixes. So many books on living a quality life provide definative steps on how to get "there". This writer asks .....where is "there" and would you know if you got there?
      I loved it!!!

      Comment on this review

       
      5.0

      A truth about life

      By 

      from Melbourne, Australia.

      About Me Everyday Reader

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Deserves Multiple Readings
      • Easy To Read
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Older Readers

        Fantastic book about humanity, morals and values written in a non-religious way by a writer who has researched what makes our collective LIFE work.

        Comment on this review

         
        5.0

        What's important in life

        By 

        from Melbourne

        About Me Bookworm

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Deserves Multiple Readings
        • Easy To Read
        • Informative
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Older Readers
          • Younger Readers

          A good reminder about what life is really about!

          Comment on this review

           
          3.0

          The Good Life

          By 

          from Queensland

          About Me Everyday Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Informative

          Cons

          • Not What I Expected

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Special Needs

          I have found through reading many self help books, this was not all I expected. However, we would all see parts of ourselves in this book, at some stage.If you are unhappy with who you are, and be honest with yourself, you will get it.
          Worth reading.

          Comment on this review

           
          5.0

          Definitely worth your attention!

          By 

          from Bolwarra, Victoria, AU

          About Me Everyday Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Deserves Multiple Readings
          • Easy To Read
          • Informative
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • A Great Assessment Tool
            • Gift
            • Reference

            Hugh Mackay's "The Good Life" is a pearl. He goes to the very heart of what makes life satisfying, joyful and rewarding. He canvasses all the regular formulae for what makes life good and finds the usual concepts and ideas seriously wanting. His conclusion is clear - a life given to the service of others is the only avenue to a life that is good, meaningful and purposeful. Throughout he offers comments and insights which he has gathered in interviews. A thoroughly stimulating and beautifully written book. Worth reading more than once!

            Comment on this review

             
            4.0

            A bible for all

            By 

            from Western Australia

            About Me Casual Reader

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Deserves Multiple Readings
            • Inspirational

            Cons

            • Sometimes Repetative

            Best Uses

              At last a bible for the secular that is inclusive of the spiritual.
              Being in despair of the gulf of inequity between the sufferance and the self-serving, both featured heavily on nightly news, I find hope in Hugh's words of wisdom and guidance.
              The embodiment of simple altruistic existence is all around us in both young and old,  it's just not newsworthy.
              This book should be in every school library and on the compulsory reading list.
              Addressing essential simplicity (page 70):
              "Faced with so much mystery, most of us find it hard to settle for simple awe".

              Comment on this review

               
              4.0

              The Good Life may not be what you think

              By 

              from Wimmera

              About Me Casual Reader

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Read
              • Informative
              • Thought provoking

              Cons

              • Somewhat Repetative

              Best Uses

              • Reference

              After hearing several interviews with the author and being familiar with his previous publications, I wanted to read this new book. It was up to his usual standards and gave much food for thought

              Comment on this review

               
              4.0

              Excellent book

              By 

              from Adelaide

              About Me Everyday Reader

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Deserves Multiple Readings
              • Easy To Read

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Reference

                A very insightful book about what the good life really is and what it isn't

                Comment on this review

                 
                5.0

                Hugh Mackay delivers every time.

                By 

                from Hobart. TAS.

                About Me Bookworm

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Deserves Multiple Readings
                • Easy To Read
                • Informative
                • Well Written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Gift
                  • Older Readers
                  • Younger Readers

                  Hugh Mackay's material is always thoroughly researched but delivered with a light touch. Fascinating but not too intense. His observations and conclusions are interesting because they relate to your own circumstance and provide valuable lessons for living. Both his fiction and non-fiction are excellent. This latest non-fiction offering is no exception and offers thought provoking insights into how to live "The Good Life".

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                  ISBN: 9781742612133
                  ISBN-10: 174261213X
                  Audience: Professional
                  Format: Paperback
                  Language: English
                  Number Of Pages: 272
                  Published: 1st May 2013
                  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
                  Country of Publication: AU
                  Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.5  x 2.0
                  Weight (kg): 0.38
                  Edition Number: 1