On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life

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9780199948901: On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life
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What is your purpose in life? This simple question motivates some of our most life-altering decisions, deeply-held beliefs, and profound emotions, as well as the choices we make every single day. How we derive meaning from our existence is crucial to finding happiness, developing relationships, and building societies. In On Purpose, Paul Froese brings together data from large national and international surveys with interviews that illuminate the ways in which people from all walks of life grapple with their continuous search for reason, truth, sense, success, happiness, and-ultimately-transcendence. Froese argues that the desire to connect with something larger than oneself is a universal urge, manifested most directly, but far from solely, in religious communities. Written in vivid, accessible prose, On Purpose takes the reader on a journey through the complexities and consequences of life's most important question.

From the start, Froese admits that the answer to the question is deceptively simple: our purpose is whatever we imagine it to be. But what we imagine our purpose to be depends on innumerable factors beyond our control: our wealth, race, education level, upbringing, past experiences, and community. Froese argues that one's surroundings serve as a kind of soil that can either nurture purpose or foster meaninglessness. Framing the book around six key questions, Froese refuses to collapse the meaning of life into a single authoritative answer, as self-help gurus do. Instead, he deconstructs each question to reveal the social pathways that guide people to distinctive answers.

Through lively, engaging storytelling that mixes data and analysis with literary and historical examples of the quest for purpose, Froese sheds new light on a timeless and all-too-human quandary. The moral of the book is not that life has some ultimate meaning or no meaning at all, but rather that creating a purpose-driven life has always been a collective project.

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About the Author:


Paul Froese is the Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Baylor Religion Surveys. He is the co-author of America's Four Gods: What We Say about God--and What That Says about Us (OUP, 2010).

Review:


"The exercise of thinking about Tolstoy, the Limbaugh Dittoheads, and Oprah together is engaging of the imagination, but it is also analytically fruitful, as it invites intriguing comparative questions Froese's book is a bold and engaging step in this direction, and, as such, it is also an invitation for more steps of its kind."--Graham Hill, Sociology of Religion


"The book is a strong treatise about the core spirituality that guides the direction of our family choices, career decisions, and the simple tasks of daily life." --Publishers Weekly


"Few books are as timely and necessary as Paul Froese's On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life." --Patheos


"This text offers a pleasant and substantive reflection on the subject of creating meaning in
life."--PsycCRITIQUES: A Journal of the American Psychological Association


"This book seems to perform the impossible. It is both a splendid academic work and wholly relevant to any person, regardless of academic training or interest." --Reading Religion


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. On Purpose is a sociological investigation on the meaning of life. While life's purpose is the theme of many self-help books, philosophical texts, and religious tracts, it is rarely addressed from a sociological perspective. Froese explores how people talk about, think about, and conceptualize the meaning of their lives. We instinctually imagine a moral meaning to our lives, in personal narratives as well as timeless cosmologies. A sociological analysis ofthis fact yields an additional fact: that how we think about the purpose of life is socially determined. Specifically, Froese investigates how the idea of life's purpose is shaped by historical trends, group attachments, norms of "self," cultural tempos, and power dynamics. The book is structured around a series of questions posed to the reader. Instead of collapsing the meaning of life into a single authoritative answer, as self-help, religious, and philosophical perspectives often do, Froese deconstructs each question to reveal the social pathways that guide people to distinctive answers. Empirical evidence from observations, interviews, and surveys guide the book's conversation. In the end, On Purpose renders a consistent picture of the fact thatlife's purpose can only be imagined within social contexts. These determine who will be a True believer, who will benefit from self-help, who will reach nirvana, and who will descend into nihilism. With that in mind, enlightenment is not guaranteed. Instead, On Purpose encourages the reader to consider the meaningof her own life in relationship to this plurality of possibilities. The moral of the book is not that life has some ultimate meaning or no meaning at all, but rather that a purpose-driven life has always been a collective project. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199948901

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. On Purpose is a sociological investigation on the meaning of life. While life s purpose is the theme of many self-help books, philosophical texts, and religious tracts, it is rarely addressed from a sociological perspective. Froese explores how people talk about, think about, and conceptualize the meaning of their lives. We instinctually imagine a moral meaning to our lives, in personal narratives as well as timeless cosmologies. A sociological analysis of this fact yields an additional fact: that how we think about the purpose of life is socially determined. Specifically, Froese investigates how the idea of life s purpose is shaped by historical trends, group attachments, norms of self, cultural tempos, and power dynamics. The book is structured around a series of questions posed to the reader. Instead of collapsing the meaning of life into a single authoritative answer, as self-help, religious, and philosophical perspectives often do, Froese deconstructs each question to reveal the social pathways that guide people to distinctive answers. Empirical evidence from observations, interviews, and surveys guide the book s conversation. In the end, On Purpose renders a consistent picture of the fact that life s purpose can only be imagined within social contexts. These determine who will be a True believer, who will benefit from self-help, who will reach nirvana, and who will descend into nihilism. With that in mind, enlightenment is not guaranteed. Instead, On Purpose encourages the reader to consider the meaning of her own life in relationship to this plurality of possibilities. The moral of the book is not that life has some ultimate meaning or no meaning at all, but rather that a purpose-driven life has always been a collective project. Seller Inventory # AOP9780199948901

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. On Purpose is a sociological investigation on the meaning of life. While life's purpose is the theme of many self-help books, philosophical texts, and religious tracts, it is rarely addressed from a sociological perspective. Froese explores how people talk about, think about, and conceptualize the meaning of their lives. We instinctually imagine a moral meaning to our lives, in personal narratives as well as timeless cosmologies. A sociological analysis ofthis fact yields an additional fact: that how we think about the purpose of life is socially determined. Specifically, Froese investigates how the idea of life's purpose is shaped by historical trends, group attachments, norms of "self," cultural tempos, and power dynamics. The book is structured around a series of questions posed to the reader. Instead of collapsing the meaning of life into a single authoritative answer, as self-help, religious, and philosophical perspectives often do, Froese deconstructs each question to reveal the social pathways that guide people to distinctive answers. Empirical evidence from observations, interviews, and surveys guide the book's conversation. In the end, On Purpose renders a consistent picture of the fact thatlife's purpose can only be imagined within social contexts. These determine who will be a True believer, who will benefit from self-help, who will reach nirvana, and who will descend into nihilism. With that in mind, enlightenment is not guaranteed. Instead, On Purpose encourages the reader to consider the meaningof her own life in relationship to this plurality of possibilities. The moral of the book is not that life has some ultimate meaning or no meaning at all, but rather that a purpose-driven life has always been a collective project. Seller Inventory # BTE9780199948901

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Hardback. Condition: new. BRAND NEW, On Purpose: How We Create the Meaning of Life, Paul Froese, On Purpose is a sociological investigation on the meaning of life. While life's purpose is the theme of many self-help books, philosophical texts, and religious tracts, it is rarely addressed from a sociological perspective. Froese explores how people talk about, think about, and conceptualize the meaning of their lives. We instinctually imagine a moral meaning to our lives, in personal narratives as well as timeless cosmologies. A sociological analysis of this fact yields an additional fact: that how we think about the purpose of life is socially determined. Specifically, Froese investigates how the idea of life's purpose is shaped by historical trends, group attachments, norms of "self," cultural tempos, and power dynamics. The book is structured around a series of questions posed to the reader. Instead of collapsing the meaning of life into a single authoritative answer, as self-help, religious, and philosophical perspectives often do, Froese deconstructs each question to reveal the social pathways that guide people to distinctive answers. Empirical evidence from observations, interviews, and surveys guide the book's conversation. In the end, On Purpose renders a consistent picture of the fact that life's purpose can only be imagined within social contexts. These determine who will be a True believer, who will benefit from self-help, who will reach nirvana, and who will descend into nihilism. With that in mind, enlightenment is not guaranteed. Instead, On Purpose encourages the reader to consider the meaning of her own life in relationship to this plurality of possibilities. The moral of the book is not that life has some ultimate meaning or no meaning at all, but rather that a purpose-driven life has always been a collective project. Seller Inventory # B9780199948901

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