Bold TV, Life & Culture

Bold TV: Emily Esfahani Smith On Her New Book ‘The Power of Meaning’

The happiness frenzy has distracted us from leading more meaningful lives, said author Emily Esfahani Smith, as she introduced her new book on Bold TV: “The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters.”

Emily was inspired to write this book after observing how obsessed our culture is with happiness. She said the idea that your life should be more about doing what you love and pursuing your passion has taken the place of living a meaningful life. People, especially young people, are distracted from leading more meaningful lives by this happiness frenzy. We strive to maximize positive emotions while minimizing negative ones and expect in that way to stay happy all the time.

This is unrealistic, Emily said. The pursuit of happiness is a false substitute for meaning. It’s an ungratifying, shallow form of meaning that leaves you unfulfilled. To live a happy life, you should also strive to live a meaningful life.

This is the alternative to pursuing happiness. Meaning is about connecting and contributing to something bigger than yourself. Pursuing meaning and setting that as your goal can be as simple as cheering up a friend. Since traditional sources of meaning — including religion — are now not as influential in young people’s lives, how can they hope to find meaning?

Never fear! Emily ensures that you don’t necessarily have to turn toward religion to have meaning in your life. The four pillars of religion that she outlines in her book that exist in all aspects of life. You’re able to tap into the power of these teachings whether you’re religious or not.

During the discussion, Bold TV anchor Carrie Sheffield said that what she loves about this book is that it appeals to the head and the heart. She said Emily mixes great stories with policy and university studies.


Originally published on


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