A Wonderful Life: Insights for Finding a Meaningful Existence

Reading material

Full English manuscript

Original title: A Wonderful Life: Insights for Finding a Meaningful Existence

Published: 2020 Spring

Publisher: HarperCollins/Harper Design

Class/genre: Non-Fiction

Pages: 200

Meaning in Life Explained. Why Happiness is Not Enough for a Life Worth Living

Would you like to know what the meaning of your life is? In this secular era when old truths have lost their grip, more and more of us are yearning to know how our brief lives on earth could be made truly worth living. Yet a satisfactory answer has been hidden in esoteric philosophical papers and scattered psychological research. Until now.

In this engagingly insightful book, Frank Martela – one of the only academic experts who has contributed to both the philosophical and psychological research on meaning in life – takes you on a voyage through the history, philosophy, and psychology of meaningfulness and worthy living. The journey starts in the 19th century, where it is revealed why and how the Scottish author Thomas Carlyle came to be the first person in history who actually used the phrase »meaning of life.» The life stories of Carlyle and Russian author Leo Tolstoy serve as representative examples of the transformation that this book aims to guide you, the reader, through. Finally, an answer is provided to the question of meaning that is compatible with latest scientific knowledge about human nature, yet still both inspiring and actionable.

Rights sold:

UNITED STATES: HarperCollins/Harper Design (orig.)
CROATIA: Planetopija
ESTONIA: Rahva Raamat
FINLAND: Gummerus
JAPAN: HarperCollins Japan
KOREA: Across Publishing
NORWAY: Gursli Berg Forlag
RUSSIA: Bombora

What is the meaning in life? That is e a universal question which everyone has considered once at least. Obviously, Japan is no exception. And this title digs into the theme deeply and is very readable. We are really happy to bring this title to the Japanese readers.
– Risa Matsushita, Editor, HarperCollins Japan

“Harper Design is pleased to be publishing this very special book.  Its offer of hope and how to achieve a life that is truly worth living is the right message for the right time. “
– Marta Schooler, Publisher, Harper Design

”What is the meaning of life? Of course it is audacious for a young philosopher to shed light on such a big and complicated philosophical question. But Frank Martela is brave enough to do just that in his new book. I’m proud to be his Dutch publisher.”
– Laurens Ubbink, Publisher non-fiction, Ambo Anthos

“Despite the short proposal, it was good enough to persuade me to take. The stories that are well mixed with various categories such as literature, philosophy, and human science would easily appeal to our readers. I would call it, one of greatest hybrid contents!”
– Mr. Hyeongbo Kim, CEO of Across

”Read this book. Slowly. Take your time. Let it unwind and resonate within you. That’s how the meaning of your life will show itself to you. It’s a really well-written read.
– Dea Oidekivi, Publisher, Rahva Raamat AS, Estonia


Frank Martela has been a wonderful, insightful and humorous contributor to fulfillmentdaily.com with a unique perspective on the science of happiness. I have no doubt that his book will be fascinating and entertaining.
Emma Seppälä, PhD, Science Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, author of The Happiness Track (HarperOne, 2016)

Frank Martela on Salon.com: Exercise, eat well, help others: Altruism’s surprisingly strong health impact

Frank Martela on Scientific American Mind: Finland Is the Happiest Country in the World, and Finns Aren’t Happy about It

Frank Martela was interviewed by Psychology Today: What Sisu Can Teach Us About Well-Being

Frank Martela cited on BBC: Why the Finns don’t want to be happy

Frank Martela cited on Quarz: Finland’s rank as the world’s happiest country is very upsetting in Finland

Frank Martela

Frank Martela, PhD., is essentially the only contemporary academic researcher who has published several articles on the topic of the meaning of life with a unique perspective on the science of happiness. He has collaborated with key experts of the topic and presented his research in numerous academic conferences as well as invited lectures at universities such as Stanford University, University of Edinburgh, and Simon Fraser University. He is a popular lecturer and author of three well-received and bestselling non-fiction books. Currently a post-doctoral researcher at Aalto University, Finland, he has been a visiting scholar at University of Rochester, NY. and Australian Catholic University.


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