Life Worth Living


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Table of Contents


Introduction: This Book Might Wreck Your Life xi
Part 1: Diving In
ONE • What’s Worth Wanting? 3
TWO • Where Are We Starting From? 18

Part 2: The Depths
THREE • Who Do We Answer To? 35
FOUR • How Does a Good Life Feel? 49
FIVE • What Should We Hope For? 62
SIX • How Should We Live? 77

Part 3: Bedrock
SEVEN • The Recipe Test 105
EIGHT • The Really Big Picture 126

Part 4: Facing the Limits
NINE • When We (Inevitably) Botch It  153
TEN • When Life Hurts . . . 172
ELEVEN •  . . . And There’s No Fixing It 187
TWELVE • When It Ends 207

Part 5: Back to the Surface
THIRTEEN • It Turns Out We Have Some Work to Do 227
FOURTEEN • Change Is Hard 241
FIFTEEN • Making It Stick 259
Epilogue: What Matters Most 281
Acknowledgments 285
Notes 291

About the Author

Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun, and Ryan McAnnally-Linz teach the most in-demand course in Yale College’s Humanities Program: Life Worth Living. Students describe the course as life changing, and preliminary analyses by an outside researcher show strongly significant effects of the course on students’ sense of meaning in life.

Volf is the Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, and was awarded the 2002 Grawemeyer Award in Religion for Exclusion and Embrace, which was named one of the one hundred most influential religious books of the twentieth century. 

Croasmun is the director of the Life Worth Living program at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture, a lecturer in humanities at Yale College, and the faith initiative director at Grace Farms Foundation. He is the author of The Emergence of Sin and Let Me Ask You a Question, as well as a coauthor with Volf of For the Life of the World: Theology That Makes a Difference.

McAnnally-Linz is the associate director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. He is a coauthor with Volf of The Home of God and Public Faith in Action, a 2016 Publishers Weekly Best Book in religion, and has written for The Washington Post’s Acts of Faith blog, Sojourners, and The Christian Century.


"This instant New York Times best seller is based on Yale’s popular undergrad class on the age-old question of the meaning of life…. Students have called the class life-changing, and readers who experience this book’s wisdom and new perspectives should feel the same way."
--New York Post

“A must-read for any age.” 
--Booklist, starred review

"Life Worth Living is an essential roadmap for anyone who's ever wondered about how to live the good life. It's the accessible crash course we all need to explore the big questions that lead to a happier, more morally satisfying life." 
--Laurie Santos, Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon Professor of Psychology at Yale University and host of The Happiness Lab podcast

"Three great scholars tackling the most important of Questions! This book is worth rolling up your sleeves, saying your prayers, and diving into what could be quite possibly the most important work you ever do. Whether on your own or with a small group, make this book a priority." 
--The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and author of Love is the Way and The Power of Love

"This valuable book is full of the wisdom of many minds and cultures on essential questions about selfhood, notably, how the self is to be understood, disciplined and enjoyed, and how it can discover an integrity that will be expressed in a good life.  The questions are ancient, but the book is absolutely timely."
-- Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Gilead and Housekeeping

"The authors provide meaningful reflection and jumping-off points to better discover the aspects of your life that make it good."
--Reader's Digest, named one of "26 Best Inspirational Books That Are Sure to Change Your Life"

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