What is the difference between success and happiness; and how can we attain both? These questions, and his answers to them, are the essence of Moore's book. He pulls from ancient and current sources, from business to art, and from family life to career, and gives insight to all of these and many other facets of our lives. Through it all, one theme repeats itself: We were each born with a purpose, a mission---a calling that matters to our own happiness and also to the success of the world.
The grand secret seems to be that by focusing on the success of the world and happiness of others, we find both in our own lives. But Moore teaches this in a deep and at times profound way that is moving as well as instructive. For me, Moore's book is more a work of art than a simple how-to.
For example, Moore teaches the difference between soul and spirit, and how both are part of our lives. Both are too often ignored in our modern world (to our own painful detriment). Also, he shows how the Greeks taught the difference between the eros (the things we love) and psyche (the person we are) parts of us and the real me in each of us. And he shows us how to bring these together in the practical, real world of everyday life.
Perhaps most importantly, Moore uses all this background to help us have better lives---especially at work, where most people spend over half of their adult lives. Too many people find success but not happiness; or, perhaps more commonly, struggle and don't even find the success they seek. Moore teaches us how---in basic, practical and effective ways---to live lives of success that are happy and deeply meaningful.
He teaches the reader to build effectively on the past, use inspiration and imagination to engage the future, and acknowledge dreams and signs in our lives that may be trying to tell us something important. All of these are about possibilities, which is vital to both success and happiness. By living strongly in the realm of possibilities, we naturally choose better, happier, more meaningful lives.
As Moore wrote: "Sometimes what life throws us as we try to find our way is not chaos but order. While it's true that many people can't find a direction for all the confusion around them and inside them, others are deeply unhappy because their lives make so much sense on the outside" (p.78). He quotes Heracleitus in saying, "The Lord whose oracle is in Delphi neither indicates clearly nor conceals but gives a sign" (p. 12). In the twenty-first century, what are the signs? What are yours? Are you being given signs that you don't notice or purposely ignore? What is your mission in life? What is your great calling to bless the world? Are you doing it? How is it going?
Above all, this is a book about depth. So much in life is shallow, but your life itself must find real depth in order to find true success, happiness and meaning. There are so many books in this genre, but this is certainly among the very best! Whatever you do, be sure to read pages 91-95, and study the section on how our most important answers in life don't come rationally (p. 122-140)! Finally, what are the phases of your life so far? And ahead? What are the most important passages you've been through? What inspires you the most? And who?
The message of this book is a must in our generation---a call to become who we really are, to do what we were born for. In a world of career path and limiting structure, this book is a call to be ourselves. and a guide on how to do it. Whether you agree or disagree with the specifics (and I did both), the general ideas are considered and discussed far too little in our society. This book is a remedy! I highly recommend it.