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Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Most Changes Everything

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  501 ratings  ·  54 reviews
A pioneer in the field of behavioral science delivers a groundbreaking work that shows how finding your purpose in life leads to better health and overall happiness.

Your life is a boat. You need a rudder. But it doesn’t matter how much wind is in your sails if you’re not steering toward a harbor—an ultimate purpose in your life.

While the greatest philosophers have pondere
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by HarperOne
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Morgan Blackledge
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
The book begins with a truly beautiful autobiographical telling of the loss of the author Victor Strecher's child, and the subsequent vitalization and insight that the experience of this awful and tragic loss eventually engendered.

I was really captured by this and I had high hopes for the rest of the book. And the book delivered. Up to a point.

The central premise of the book could be summarized as follows:

Getting clear about what really matters to you (clarifying your personal values) is import
Aug 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
These books always frustrate me. On one hand this one made me a bit teary eyed because the author has experienced a lot of pain in his life (losing his daughter), but still has a positive outlook on life. But his whole purpose is helping people to find their purpose. Yet he doesn't really give tangible advice as how to do this. So if I sleep more, exercise, and eat well, I will discover my purpose? I already do all of those things and yet I still have no idea what I am meant to be doing with my ...more
Martin Tobias
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Been reading alot of positive psychology books lately. As well as thinking quite a bit about what i want to do when I grow up. Am very interested in the science behind purpose and how having a purpose changes your life and even more importantly how to get focus on a purpose that makes sense and doesn't overwhelm you. Victor does a good job in the first part of my questions, a very bad job on the second. This book has a lot of his own science and research on the value of purpose in life, work, et ...more
Brian Rodman
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Does a good job breaking down the goal of purposeful living into 5 distinct areas, and outlining a series of action items in each area. I don't think this book will get your life in order, but it certainly will help. Also - full disclosure on a personal note - the author is a man whose life has been forever affected by the untimely loss of his daughter Julia(!), so my personal experience with the book will obviously be different than most others'. ...more
Dmitri Pavlov
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very well written and presented. I did learn a lot from it, Thank you.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: just-finished
If you are looking for a step by step book to help you find your purpose in life, then keep walking bucko, this book isn't for you.

If like me, you are wanting a coat hanger in which to hang some sciencey/philosophical 'stuff' on, then stick around.

Unlike others, I didn't come to this book thinking it would provide me the answers to finding my own purpose in life. I stumbled upon it and hit download because every year I select a word for the year, and this year (2018) my word happens to be 'pur
Manuel Cáceres
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book that gives you the main tools to build, keep and develop a purpose in life and have a healthy life, with lot of scientific(recent) and philosophical references.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, retirement
The book blurb makes this sound like something new and “ground breaking”. It really wasn’t, although it did have its good parts and overall I thought it provided positive advice on becoming more focused in your life. I thought this would be one of the more philosophical self-help books, and it started that way with deep-thought advice on finding a purpose in life. But it then took a dogleg turn to living a more healthy life, with pointers on diet and rest. The overall effect was more like readin ...more
Charlie Moynahan
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Picked up randomly from a visit to the library. Happened to be next to an author I've read before (Adam Grant), and said Grant was one of the people giving a review that made it onto the front cover. Cool, I thought. Let's give it a go.

The book is interesting, helpful, but mostly seemed like a cathartic experience for the author to get through the tragic experience of losing his daughter at 19, after what seemed a brief life of tribulations. I enjoyed the book, and Strecher did explain part of h
Barbara Morrissey
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I've given this a 4* rating, but I'm a bit conflicted. Really I want to give a 5* rating to about 1/3 of the book and to suggest you don't bother reading another 1/3 at all.

The sections that are actually on purpose are very good, I found myself stopping to take notes which is really unlike me.
The parts about his own life and his daughter are touching and provide context, but don't really add to the value of the book for me.

The chapters on maintaining energy are RUBBISH.
I agree 100% that sleep,
Leanne Hunt
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
There were times when I wanted everyone I know to read this book, and other times when I grew quite bored. Basically, the book is written to inform readers about the benefits of living with purpose and how one can inject more purpose into one's life. The author is well qualified to write the book as he works in the medical field and has studied the impact of purposeful living on hundreds of patients and clients. I found the parts where he talks about what purpose is and how it has helped people ...more
Mohamed Labadi
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
A pioneer in the field of behavioral science and social entrepreneurship and a Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health; delivers a groundbreaking work that shows how finding your purpose in life leads to better health and overall happiness.

Your life is a boat. You need a rudder. But it doesn’t matter how much wind is in your sails if you’re not steering toward a harbor—an ultimate purpose in your life.

Going beyond the fads, opinions, and false hopes of “expert” self-help
Audio Athena
Jun 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Audiobook duration: 5 hours 34 minutes
Narrator: R.C. Bray

This book was 90% great. It has some important lessons about how to find purpose in your life and what kind of personal growth that can lead to. The author shared his personal story of losing his daughter and how it affected him. It even had a moment of humor with the quote "Modern Aristotle would say listen to your heart, and don't act like Charlie Sheen". But then towards the end of the book, suddenly I was thrust into a chapter filled w
This was a really great audiobook and had many different parts that were fascinating and interesting. Easy suggestions to incorporate into daily life that all lead towards help to find a purpose. It wasn't a book all about finding a purpose, but rather all of the different parts that lead towards helping find your purpose, or even a purpose. Things that include sleep, food, meditation, activity, etc.

What I really like is how Strecher is honest that purposes can change all of the time and that's
Nguyen Luan
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you want to read a book that potentially will change your life, then pick up this book, I still love to read this book. It is changing my life forever. I would recommend this book to anyone.
I have extracted from the book some paragraphs that I like best in order to introduce this good book to the readers. You can read these interesting quotes prior to making a decision to read the whole book....!

"Here’s a six step guide that might help you discover your purpose in life."

Thanks and Wish you a
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought the book did a wonderful job of being purposeful. Too often do we just let time go by and hope changes are made to get us to our happiness level. This book explains eduamonia and why a person would want to reach a level of enlightenment. Being happy is a success, and with success come work/purpose. One part that was a great eye opener was the piece about eating. Eating less, delayed glucose intake, how we eat with our eyes, what a healthy diet looks like, and why we should eat healthy ...more
Adam Mehdi
May 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
A powerful personal anecdote at the beginning, but beyond that, there was not that much useful, actionable information beyond "purpose is important." The book went all over the place, and a big chunk of it had to do with general life advice not having much to do to the actual subject of the book- purpose. With that said, it is a good read if you are a sucker for cool stories and general life advice. ...more
Strecher starts out letting the reader know that his young daughter died suddenly from heart issues . He described how he recovered from the tragedy and offers his advice on finding a purposeful life and how to achieve it. He reaches back to ancient philosophy and to current psychology. It is a well written book but the message did not resonate with this 64 year old reader.
Sue Reedy
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of nonfiction, especially self-help type books. However, I did like this book and the way Victor Stretcher combined research, other people's theories, and personal stories to demonstrate how having a purpose in life, as well as living a healthy life in all ways, really contributes to a longer, happier existence. ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've read about guiding you to live a more meaningful and purposeful life. I enjoyed the practical tips, scientific evidence, personal stories, quotes and the philosophical background sprinkled throughout. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to find purpose in their life. ...more
Mid Skate
OK book by Mr. Strecher. His personal story regarding his daughter's very dire medical problems and her eventual passing at the way to young age of 19 is heart breaking. The rest of the book is unfortunately filled with very general advise on health and exercise that has been covered much better in hundreds of other books. To me "Life on Purpose" had no Purpose. I do not recommend. ...more
Kris Ferrell
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is not the usual dribble peddled by the religious folks talking about fulfilling a purpose from a book of fables aimed at oppression. Instead is a system to make sense of your life on your own terms by defining what is important to you. I wish I had this book as a child, a teenager, or in my 20s, 30s, and 40s. At least I have it now!
Heidi C
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very easy read if you are already in the journey of searching. I appreciate the author gave some practical tips for those who didn’t go through such profound tragedy in life. Perhaps it is because I read from end to front so I found out the lost of Julie AFTER the 5 tips, worth a try to read backwards.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
The first 6 or so chapters are solid. They deal with identifying life purpose and the benefits of doing so. The last half of the book focused waaaaaay to much on sleep, meditation, etc. Too boring, out there and woo wooo. I stopped listening to the audiobook book around chapter 9. 4 stars for the first half of the book, 0 stars for the second half. That averages out to 2 stars.
Arun Thamizhvanan
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the book till part two. Post that it felt very HBR ish writing. Loved the first two parts which focused on purpose and how to find out purpose. It had ample philosophy quotes which added to the discourse on meaning. But the latter part of the book from part to three sounded most like fluff to increase the size of book.
George Lorenzo
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vic Strecher did an excellent job of backing all his friendly advice with sound scientific research. This is an easy read with loads of highly useful and valuable information for bringing more meaning, purpose and overall well being into your life.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
I'm rating this a 5 not for the writing necessarily, this book is an easy read, but for content. Strecher has pulled together a lot of research on the benefits of having a purpose in life. He uses his own personal tragedy as motivation and inspiration to share this work. ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life on purpose

The book was great. I was able to understand how to help better myself daily through the things I learned in the book. And how to handle myself through rough times in life. I recommend this book to people who are wanting a deeper meaning to life’s purpose.
Cassio Kawakita
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
good book. But I don't know If it is my fault that I was not super into it, or of I expected something different.
by no means this is a bad book, it is indeed a good one. But I believe I was out of my element reading this book and did not have the required tools to absorb the fine details.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Literally everyone needs to read this book! A combination of real hands on tools and lots of research (and citations) to support the basic tenants that identifying and focusing on your purpose makes you happier AND healthier! Now I'm going to read it again with my highlighter! ...more
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Vic Strecher, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and its Director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship. For over two decades, Vic has been a leader and visionary in the fields of health and well-being, creating new solutions that operate at the intersection of the science of behavior change and advanced technology.

A noted researcher and suc

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“What turned heads was the finding from the blood samples. Participants scoring high on the hedonic scale were far more likely to have inflammatory gene expression and decreased expression of genes involved in antibody and antiviral response, whereas participants scoring high on the eudaimonic scale had the opposite pattern of expression. In other words, participants with greater eudaimonia were physiologically healthier. As the researchers state, “Hedonic and eudaimonic well-being were originally distinguished to resolve basic and ancient philosophical questions regarding the best way for humans to live. The present data offer little grounds to prefer one mode of happiness over the other based on affective experience, but they identify a stark contrast at the level of molecular physiology.” But before we assume that Angelina Jolie will live to be 140 and Paris Hilton will explode in a giant ball of pus, we should do what scientists like to do when something as radical as this is found: more research.” 0 likes
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