Co-sponsored by the Political Economy Project and the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences
Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life – serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you – gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.
Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of "The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed With Happiness" (Crown). She draws on psychology, philosophy and literature to write about the human experience – why we are the way we are and how we can find grace and meaning in a world that is full of suffering. Her articles "There's More to Life than Being Happy" and "Masters of Love," originally published in The Atlantic, have been read more than 30 million times. Her writing has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, TIME, and other publications. Emily is an instructor in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as an editor at the Stanford University's Hoover Institution, where she manages the Ben Franklin Circles project, a collaboration with the 92nd Street Y and Citizen University to build meaning in local communities. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Emily grew up in Montreal, Canada. She graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a master of applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband in Washington DC.