“The explorations in this book take place in a zone where psychological science, personal experience, and philosophical reflection meet. This is not the first time I’ve ventured into such territory. When I began the research that led to The Path to Purpose, the best-known treatments of purpose were found in philosophical and theological contemplations (such as Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life) or self-help books (such as Richard Leider’s Power of Purpose). By now, it’s fair to say, purpose has become a well-established subject of study and practice in fields such as education, business, medicine, and psychology. I believe that the feelings that prompted me to write the present book are ones people everywhere will recognize: a quest to better understand my past and present self, my sense of loss for a key family member who went missing from my life, my confusion over long-ago childhood mysteries, my need to heal past wounds and regrets, and my wish to reaffirm the life I’ve been given.
Everyone searches for life meaning in a unique and personal way. But the search itself is universal. For those who choose to join me on the journeys contained in these pages, I hope that my research, my reflections, and my discoveries provide useful insights about this most personal, and most universal, human quest.”
~ William Damon from A Round of Golf with My Father
William Damon is a professor at Stanford University. He is one of the world’s leading scholars on human development across the lifespan. He’s also an incredibly good human being.
We’ve created Notes on a number of his other books including The Power of Ideals, The Path to Purpose, and Noble Purpose. I have been blessed to have private conversations with Professor Damon and the wisdom he shared with me when I reached out for guidance after creating Heroic has deeply impacted me.
So, when I got back into creating PhilosophersNotes, I immediately got this book (and found another one we’ll be featuring soon called The Moral Advantage: How to Succeed in Business by Doing the Right Thing). As I read this book I was struck by his wisdom and goodness.
Michael Murphy (the cofounder of Esalen) captures the essence of the book perfectly in his review. The book is “[A] gripping detective story, a deeply touching personal memoir, a critique of developmental psychology, a compendium of life-giving maxims, and a celebration of a disciplined life review.”
Practically speaking, the book helps us create a “coherent narrative” for our lives by, as per the sub-title, “Exploring Your Past to Make Peace with Your Present.”
It’s FANTASTIC. I highly recommend it. Get a copy here.
Of course, it’s also packed with Big Ideas. Let’s jump straight in!
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