A Wonderful Life


“A brilliant and charming book that tackles the grandest questions of life in plain terms, with humor and insight…full of anecdotes, history, thoughtfulness, perspective, and entertaining discourse. If you have any curiosity about the meaning of life—and who doesn’t?—this book is a refreshing and important resource.”

Roy F. Baumeister, Author of New York Times bestseller Willpower, The Power of Bad, and Meanings of Life

For as long as humankind has existed, we’ve pondered the meaning, purpose, and ultimate worth of our lives, and how to actually live this unique life of ours. In these pages, scholar and philosopher Frank Martela provides a unique perspective – in a series of soulful and thought-provoking essays – that explores what brings significance to our existence as well as why we are dissatisfied with the present and have a continual yearning for something beyond where we are right now.

This beautifully designed book approaches its subject in a readily digestible form. It grapples with some of life’s most pressing questions, such as:

  • “Is happiness a worthy goal?”
  • “What is the foundation for meaning in a secular society?”
  • “Is life an existential void?”

Martela answers these questions and more in a relaxed, conversational tone and with a wry sense of humor, placing some of life’s greatest philosophical concerns and quandaries into a modern-day context.

Martela quickly and concisely gets to the heart of the matter: your place in the world and how to find meaning in life as countless thinkers and philosophers have done before, yet the emphasis here is on what we do with the life we have and how we can make it more meaningful. Part prescriptive and part armchair philosophy book, A Wonderful Life is accessible to everyone, from the well-read scholar to the apprentice as well as anyone curious about how to extract the greatest meaning and sense of purpose from their existence.

Already before the publication, the translation rights of the book have been sold to fifteen languages including Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese Mandarin, Russian, Turkish, Croatian, Romanian, Estonian, Lithuanian, and Finnish.

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Praise for the book:

“The search for life’s meaning is perhaps the most important quest we can undertake. And for any quest, it’s essential to have a guide. Philosophically probing yet eminently readable, A Wonderful Life is a book you can refer to again and again on your journey toward purpose.”
Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, To Sell Is Human, and A Whole Mind

“We are happiest not when we have more things or accolades but when we have more meaning, research shows. A Wonderful Life is a witty and inspirational guidebook to helping you live a life of meaning. By expertly drawing on psychology, philosophy and literature, his book will entertain you as much as it enriches you.”
Emma Seppälä, Author of The Happiness Track, Science Director, Stanford Center For Compassion And Altruism Research And Education. Co-Director Wellness, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

“This book is not only a delight to read, but it is a tour-de-force of research. Martela brings together some of the most fascinating ideas from history, philosophy, and psychology to address the most urgent question of all: What makes life meaningful? Too many people today doubt that their lives matter. In this uplifting and thoughtful work, Martela offers practical tips for we can each find more meaning in our lives.”
Emily Esfahani Smith, Author of The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness