Who among us has not at some point asked, what is the meaning of life?' In this extraordinary book, an eminent social scientist looks at the big picture and explores what empirical studies from diverse fields tell us about the human condition. MEANINGS OF LIFE draws together evidence from psychology, history, anthropology, and sociology, integrating copious research findings into a clear and conclusive discussion of how people attempt to make sense of their lives. In a lively and accessible style, emphasizing facts over theories, Baumeister explores why people desire meaning in their lives, how these meanings function, what forms they take, and what happens when life loses meaning. It is the most comprehensive examination of the topic to date.
"Roy Baumeister writes conceptually exact, richly factual, and continuously delightful books on deep subjects, and this is his best." --Roger Brown, Ph.D.
"The topic is, of course, tremendous. We feel giddily nervous on even entertaining it, and so usually take it for granted or leave it to Monty Python. Fortunately, this volume has now arrived, bringing with it a far-reaching analysis of how life's meaning impinges on social life. It is rare to find such a broad array of intriguing and subtle hypotheses derived from a single theme, and even more rare to find such wide-ranging awareness of history and culture in contemporary social psychology." --Daniel M. Wegner, Ph.D.
"The book encourages the reader to struggle with hard questions that have no objective answers." --Jerry Bruce, Sam Houston State, Huntsville, Texas