The Point Is: Making Sense of Birth, Death, and Everything in Between

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9781455550487: The Point Is: Making Sense of Birth, Death, and Everything in Between

Now in paperback, an engaging and original look at the essence of modern life and the search for personal and professional meaningfulness from the bestselling author of The Number.

In this provocative book, Lee Eisenberg dares to tackle nothing less than what it takes to find enduring meaning and purpose in life.

He explains how from a young age, each of us is compelled to take memories of events and relationships and shape them into a one-of-a-kind personal narrative. In addition to sharing his own pivotal memories (some of them moving, some just a shade embarrassing), Eisenberg presents striking research culled from psychology and neuroscience, and draws on insights from a pantheon of thinkers and great writers--Tolstoy, Freud, Joseph Campbell, Virginia Woolf, among others.

We also hear from men and women of all ages who are wrestling with the demands of work and family, ever in search of fulfillment and satisfaction.

It all adds up to a fascinating story, delightfully told, one that goes straight to the heart of how we explain ourselves to ourselves-in other words, who we are and why.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Author:

For a while, when someone asked about the book I was writing, I cut to the quick. "Oh, it's about the meaning of life." Reactions ranged from the dubious to the startlingly enthusiastic. "Oh, how timely!" I heard more than once, suggesting that the question of who we are and why we're here was poised to make a dramatic comeback. Eventually, I stopped using the phrase. The meaning of life? Who died and made me Kierkegaard? In truth, The Point Is was never meant to offer a universal answer to humankind's oldest riddle. 
The idea was always more personal than that. It started when I began thinking back on my own life story, asking myself (again) the usual questions: How did I get to be me? And why? That led me to wonder why we give priority status to certain memories and not to others.  And how those select memories somehow congeal into what we come to think of as the "chapters" of our life. We all do that, don't we? Psychologists and neuroscientists say so: we build a story to explain ourselves to ourselves and to others.  
From there, one thing led to another. I looked into what great thinkers and writers had to say about how our lives unfold: Joseph Campbell, Freud, Virginia Woolf, Joan Didion, they've all had at it.  Eventually, I arrived at a theory. It explains, to me anyway, why it sometimes feels that we're starring in a tragedy or a comedy. Others have told me it prompted them to think about their own life stories in a new way--which was good to hear, for that too was the point.

From the Inside Flap:

There's a story you know like the back of your hand. 
It's a captivating story, full of twists and turns, ups and downs. You know how the story begins and where it goes from there. You know who the characters are, major and minor. You know where the story stands at this very moment, even as you're reading these words. 

The story in question is the story of your life:  the full account of your hopes and fears, victories and disappointments, love affairs won and lost. It includes every secret you swore you wouldn't divulge, also every dream you remember.  At various times it's been a coming-of-age story, a romance, a tragedy, even a wild adventure saga.  But above all, it remains an enduring mystery. Because there are a couple of key details missing, answers to questions we have been asking since the beginning of time: Who am I? and What's the point?

In this engaging and provocative new book, Lee Eisenberg, bestselling author of The Number, addresses these timeless questions in a thoroughly original way. He explains how, from a young age, each of us is compelled to take memories of events and relationships and shape them into a one-of-a-kind personal narrative. While sharing his own pivotal memories, Eisenberg presents striking research culled from psychology and neuroscience, and draws on insights from a pantheon of thinkers -- Joseph Campbell, Tolstoy, Freud, among others. It adds up to a fascinating tale of its own, delightfully told.

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