What Do You Want Out of Life?

A Philosophical Guide to Figuring Out What Matters

Princeton University Press
Valerie Tiberius
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What do you want out of life? To make a lot of money — or work for justice? To run marathons — or sing in a choir? To have children — or travel the world? The things we care about in life — family, friendship, leisure activities, work, our moral ideals — often conflict, preventing us from doing what matters most to us. Even worse, we don’t always know what we really want, or how to define success. Blending personal stories, philosophy, and psychology, this insightful and entertaining book offers invaluable advice about living well by understanding your values and resolving the conflicts that frustrate their fulfilment.

Valerie Tiberius introduces you to a way of thinking about your goals that enables you to reflect on them effectively throughout your life. She illustrates her approach with vivid examples, many of which are drawn from her own life, ranging from the silly to the serious, from shopping to navigating prejudice. Throughout, the book emphasises the importance of interconnectedness, reminding us of the profound influence other people have on our lives, our goals, and how we should pursue them. At the same time, the book offers strategies for coping with obstacles to realising your goals, including gender bias and other kinds of discrimination.

Whether you are changing jobs, rethinking your priorities, or reconsidering your whole life path, What Do You Want Out of Life? is an essential guide to helping you understand what really matters to you and how you can thoughtfully pursue it.

'A rich and wonderfully written guide to finding out what really matters and a deep exploration of how we can use our values as an effective North Star for living a better life.' – Laurie Santos, host of The Happiness Lab podcast

'We live in a time when we are free to do almost anything, and yet it is hard to figure out what matters most. What could be better than the guidance of a wise moral philosopher, written in language that we can all understand? What Do You Want Out of Life? does the job beautifully. Tiberius doesn’t tell us how to live and what to do, but she empowers us to figure this out for ourselves, by asking the right questions. Who could ask for more?' – Barry Schwartz, bestselling author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

Contributor Bio

Valerie Tiberius is the Paul W. Frenzel Chair in Liberal Arts and professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota. Her books include Well-Being as Value Fulfillment: How We Can Help Each Other to Live Well and The Reflective Life: Living Wisely with Our Limits. She lives in Minneapolis.