The Power of Meaning
Sep 27, 2017
Emily Esfahani Smith
The Power of Meaning

A journalist and writer, Ms. Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters, in which she identifies “four pillars of meaning”—belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence. She was inspired to write this book at least in part by her parents who ran a Sufi meeting house out of their Montreal home when she was a child. Growing up surrounded by people who believed in Sufism—the mystical interpretation of Islam, practiced loving kindness and service to all, and whose lives were so rich with meaning left an impression on her. Ms. Esfahani Smith draws on psychology, philosophy, literature, and her own reporting to consider the human experience. Her articles “There’s More to Life than Being Happy” and “Masters of Love,” originally published in The Atlantic, have been read over 30 million times. She is a columnist for The New Criterion and an editor at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution where she manages the Ben Franklin Circles Project. A collaboration between the 92nd Street Y and Citizen University, the Circles bring people together to enjoy deep, meaningful conversations about what it means to live well. Ms. Esfahani Smith is an instructor in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her Master’s degree. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband.