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What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life

What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life
Author: Julian Baggini
ISBN 13: 9780195315790
ISBN 10: 195315790
Edition: 1
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2007-01-08
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
List Price: $12.95

What is the meaning of life? It is a question that has intrigued the great philosophers—and has been hilariously lampooned by Monty Python. Indeed, the whole idea strikes many of us as vaguely pompous, a little absurd. Is there one profound and mysterious meaning to life, a single ultimate purpose behind human existence?

In What's It All About?, Julian Baggini says no, there is no single meaning. Instead, Baggini argues meaning can be found in a variety of ways, in this life. He succinctly breaks down six answers people commonly suggest when considering what life is all about—helping others, serving humanity, being happy, becoming successful, enjoying each day as if it were your last, and "freeing your mind." By reducing the vague, mysterious question of meaning to a series of more specific (if thoroughly unmysterious) questions about what gives life purpose and value, he shows that the quest for meaning can be personal, empowering, and uplifting. If the meaning of life is not a mystery, if leading meaningful lives is within the power of us all, then we can look around us and see the many ways in which life can have purpose. We can see the value of happiness while accepting it is not everything. We can see the value of success, without interpreting that too narrowly. We can see the value of seizing the day as well as helping others lead meaningful lives. We can recognize the value of love, as perhaps the most powerful motivator of all.

Illustrating his argument with the thoughts of many of the great philosophers and examples drawn from everyday life, Baggini convincingly shows that the search for meaning is personal and within the power of each of us to find.

Doody Review Services

Reviewer: Nicholas Greco IV, M.S., BCETS, CATSM, CCRA(College of Lake County)
Description: This is the second edition of the latest book in the Treatments That Work series, which focuses on the area of anxiety and worry. As treatments have changed for the anxiety disorders, so has this series, and this book reflects the latest in psychological interventions.
Purpose: The purpose is to help both therapists and clients address the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) as this is often an underdiagnosed and undertreated disorder. This therapist guide and the separate client workbook provide the foundation for a therapeutic alliance. The authors and contributors to this series are experts in their respective fields.
Audience: Seasoned and junior level clinicians in psychology and related mental health fields as well as graduate students will benefit the most from this book.
Features: The therapist guide presents a step-by-step guide through the program and the principles of treatment. A strong emphasis is rightly put on the need to relax and the source of worrying. A focus on time management and problem solving and facing one's fears is a must-read. A standout chapter is the discussion on psychopharmacological intervention which is unbiased, well balanced, and objective. The organization of the book is well thought out and will help the therapist maintain a systematic implementation of the program.
Assessment: This is one of the best books in this series, and one of the best discussions of treatment for generalized anxiety disorder in quite some time. Strongly recommended!