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Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Self-Help - Bright idealists often find themselves disillusioned and searching for meaning in today's world. Grasping for answers can lead to existential depression. Searching for Meaning helps idealists understand their quandaries and describes various ways in which they attempt to cope with their disillusionment. Helpful information and suggestions provide courses of act ...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published September 14th 2013 by Anodyne, Inc. DBA Great Potential Press, Inc.
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Steffan Bard
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Every once and awhile I read a book which goes down on the list of "books I wish I had in my hands much earlier." This became one of those books for me.

Some other books on that list for me includes books like Quiet by Susan Cain, The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron (I'm currently reading this one though but can already tell), The Myth of Certainty by Daniel Taylor and Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey.

What all these books have in common is that they explained my own story to me. No
Patricia Mauerhofer
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WOW! I'm stunned and still digesting. Will come back an do a proper review, for now, but this is one of the best books I read so far on how bright minds are 'blessed' and have to face a 'dark' side of this blessing in many cases as well. GEt this book and read slowly through at - as it will make you think and realise yet other layers about the meaning and complexity of life and your struggle to find a place and a way to contribute.

This analysis AND workbook with very concrete tools and coping st
Amanda Weaver
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is written for people who are bright, above average intelligence. I'm not saying that bright people are better, just that bright people often have different thought processes and worries than others. This book addresses this beautifully. It helped me very much and helped me help my son. It helps you understand your thoughts and feelings and then gives you practical things you can do to get yourself out of a mindset of hopelessness. I can't recommend this book more. ...more
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spirituality
This book didn't offer what I was hoping for. I was looking for cognitive techniques to fight off the negative thoughts during the existential crisis which I was going through the time I started to read this.

I had my struggle with self acceptance (which means not feeling belonged anywhere and to be okay with it). I don't want to continue to feel special or bright or gifted, just simlpy want to find a way to make peace with my constant struggles with idealism, negative thoughts leading to depres
Rob Vitaro
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: therapists
Despite its promise, I find this book utterly devoid of hope.

I will first say that the detailed information on bright people's propensity for being sensitive, regularly experiencing disillusionment, and wanting to live a life that matters all rang true for me; it's nice to know there are others like me. However, I can't get past his premise/conclusion that bright minds suffer because they eventually figure it out - life IS meaningless. (No evidence to back up this conclusion, mind you.)

As a form
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
A book that deserves its status as a foundational text on the issue. Written in a clear and factual style, "Searching for meaning" balances a rational message with compassion and hope. Don't be put off by the cover like I was! ...more
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must-read for gifted individuals who, like me, struggle with existential depression and disillusionment. Webb is an authority when it comes to giftedness and his profound understanding of gifted individuals in all their colourful diversity jumps from the page. This book provides an understandable summary of research (both Webb's own and that of others) on idealism and giftedness as well as insights in coping mechanisms and, most importantly, it provides more than enough basis for a s ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I originally started reading this book to help me in my work with students identified as gifted. I gained many helpful insights and resources to generate positive conversations with other teachers about the intensities and quirks of our gifted student population. We are struggling to understand and support a growing number of adolescents struggling with anxiety, perfectionism, and depression. Searching for Meaning provided the theoretical background to understand how gifted brains tend to be bot ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
personally, very insightful!
Nov 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Best for those just starting along the path of self-understanding. Tends to be somewhat simplistic, in the mode of the average self-help book, and is extremely repetitive.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
There are some good parts in it but overall it didn’t touch me.
At times wise and insightful and at times shallower than I would've liked. 3.5 stars ...more
Jul 26, 2016 rated it liked it
In chapter 6, Webb has a collection of exercises to help the reader get to know herself better. One of these is called "role stripping." The idea is to identify and rank your five most central roles, then, going from least central to most, imagine stripping the roles away one by one, asking after each role falls away who you are and what your life is like without that role.

The evening after I'd read this chapter---but not done the exercises---I dreamed that I was cleaning an empty house. I carri
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
This is an excellent resource to understanding and hopefully helping, those gifted, bright individuals who are dealing with disillusionment and loss of their ideals. To the author, and to those caring for such individuals, I would add the following, based, as you can probably tell, from personal experience with a loved one.

1. Age. Consider the stage of brain development of the bright individual, as this affects the way they process information, and therefore, the differences between what they wi
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
This book simply didn't offer what I was hoping for. I expected a somewhat more scholarly look at why Giftedness and depression (among other mental disorders) are so highly correlated and some strategies that are better suited for Gifted individuals. Without footnotes or citations in the main text, the entire work read like an opinion piece based on Dr. Webb's (admittedly clinical) experience. While there were citations at the end of the book, it was difficult to distinguish anecdote from data, ...more
Skylar Burris
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology
I was hoping for more from this book. It was a bit simplistic and repetitive. The author spent a lot of time saying, over and over again, that bright people tend to be more easily disillusioned than others and that disillusionment often leads to depression. While he described that disillusionment well enough, a much smaller portion of the book was devoted to suggestions for dealing with it. There was a decent list of “what” to do, but the book was quite short on the “how” to do it. Some of the s ...more
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was already checked out to someone when I requested it online, so I had to wait, and wait for it. Sadly, it was just too philosophical for my needs at this time and did not live up to my hopes. I do wish the library system offered some "" type of program so that I could meet other families who struggle with the issues addressed in this book. You cruel privacy laws! ...more
This book is truly helpful. I think every therapist should own it.
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James T. Webb, Ph.D., has been recognized as one of the 25 most influential psychologists nationally on gifted education. Dr. Webb has written 16 books, over 75 professional publications, three DVDs, and many research papers for psychology conventions or for conferences regarding gifted and talented children. Six of his books are on gifted children and adults, and four have won “Best Book” awards. ...more

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