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How to Be Alive

A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


“This is the book where self-help turns into helping the world—and then turns back into helping yourself find a better life. Fascinating and timely!”—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

What does it take to achieve a successful and satisfying life? Not long ago, the answer seemed as simple as following a straightforward path: college, career, house, marriage, kids, and a secure retirement. Not anymore. Staggering student loan debt, sweeping job shortages, a chronically ailing economy—plus the larger issues of global unrest, poverty, and our imperiled environment—make the search for fulfillment more challenging. And, as Colin Beavan, activist and author of No Impact Man, proclaims, more exciting.

In this breakthrough book, Beavan extends a hand to those seeking more meaning and joy in life even as they engage in addressing our various world crises. How to Be Alive nudges the unfulfilled toward creating their own version of the Good Life—a life where feeling good and doing good intersect. He urges readers to reexamine the “standard life approaches” to pretty much everything and to experiment with life choices that are truer to their values, passions, and concerns.

How do you stop placing limits on your potential impact? How do you make your choices really matter in everything from your clothing purchases to your career? How do you find the people who will most support you in your quest for a good life? To answer these questions and more, Beavan draws on classic literature and philosophy; surprising new scientific findings; and the uplifting personal stories of real-life “lifequesters”—people who are breaking away from those old broken paths, blazing fresh trails, and reveling in every step along the way.

“There is a movement afoot for a better life and Colin Beavan is its prophet, with a new book as powerful as his already classic No Impact Man.”—John de Graaf, coauthor of Affluenza

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 23, 2015 – By means of stories, case studies, exercises, and expert advice, Beavan (No-Impact Man) aims to inspire readers to become involved citizens. Emphasizing that the best method of achieving happiness is to live by the famous bumper sticker dictum "Be the change you want to see in the world" (often falsely attributed to Gandhi), he shows readers how to connect with their true selves. The key is to identify and live in accord with one's real values, engage in activities that provide intrinsic rewards, and avoid being overwhelmed by the scope of the world's problems by choosing small, easy things to do first. Those who do this are "lifequesters... who have woken up to the possibility that they don't just have to try to fit themselves to the old so-called facts of life." Beavan organizes the text into seven parts, each focusing on a particular aspect of life, such as "Finding Your People" and "The Gentle Path." His style is accessible and colloquial, interspersing the text with tips and lists of action items. Beavan's prescriptions add up to an encouraging approach to living a less materialistic, more fulfilling life.

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How to Be Alive
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Self-Improvement
  • Published: Jan 05, 2016
  • Publisher: Dey Street Books
  • Print Length: 448 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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