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Living a Life That Matters: Resolving the Conflict Between Conscience and Success (2001)

de Harold S. Kushner

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Explores the nature of true accomplishment while examining the troubling impact of compromising one's integrity to achieve success, and argues that the path to leading a significant life lies in family, friendship, generosity, and self-sacrifice.
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"He was alone. The night was totally dark and he was afraid. He tried to calm his fears by repeating to himself that he was alone and that as long as he was alone nothing bad could happen to him. suddenly, someone seized him from behind and threw him to the ground. He tried to fight back. He had worked hard all his life and he was strong, but his adversary was just as strong as he was. They fought and struggled and wrestled through the night. Neither one able to gain an advantage over the other. "Who is this person?" the man wondered, "Who is exactly as strong as I am? Where did he come from? And what does he want with me?". Then as the first rays of dawn began to appear, he felt the mysterious stranger twist his leg and escape from his grip. The two men, sweating and exhausted, regarded each other with the grudging respect men have for worthy adversaries whom they cannot defeat. The man knew he would never be the same person he had been until just a few hours before." ( )
  Moshepit20 | Jan 13, 2024 |
I am usually not a fan of inspirational books. However I wanted to read a book that would do two things for me. I wanted to figure out how to deal with the increasingly belligerent landscape of my country and how to draw myself closer to religious inspiration. I didn't have high hopes for either, but I was definitely inspired by the words of Rabbi Kushner in this small book. I finished reading it within two days.

I found myself writing down quotes that had special meaning for me. I liked how the author not only talked about reasonable rules to live by but also how he gave examples both from biblical writings as well as from contemporary films and books. Inspirational for me were things he said about how to deal with the need for success versus the need for a good conscience. Additionally, I found some of the most moving parts of this book toward the end where he discussed friendship and death. I found many things of which he wrote applicable to my own life. I'll try to keep in mind what he said when I deal with matters with which I disagree from day to day. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Oct 2, 2018 |
Does a person's life have any meaning? When we die, what was the point of our having lived? What must we do to give our lives meaning? And why do good people (and most of us are good people) do bad things (and all of us sometimes do bad things)? These are a few of the major questions Kushner tries to answer this typically concise, easy reading book. In addition to the story of Jacob's life, which makes up the backbone of the book, he uses constant references to books and movies from popular culture to illustrate his points. Should be of equal interest to Christians and Jews. ( )
  fingerpost | Mar 20, 2011 |
I'm not sure I would call this a self-help book even though that's how it's categorized on the back cover. Harold Kushner is obviously a well educated man of strong faith. He brings meaning to your life through interpretations from the Bible, religious convictions and current events. I agree 100% with Kushner that most people are not afraid of death but rather of dying without having significance in your life. His premise is that little things, primarily love is what will really matter in the end. A big part of the book focuses on beibg a victim and how to react either thru forgiveness or retribution. This a good book and well worth reading. While there are not specifics on what to do the information will certianly help shape your thought processes and how you react to situations. ( )
  realbigcat | Jul 22, 2010 |
This book was unexpectedly meaningful to me, and I refer back to it in my mind often. It informs my decision making on a daily basis, (though not as much as I'd like it to...) ( )
  cpultz | Jun 6, 2008 |
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The new century is yours. May you see the world of your dreams realized in your lifetime.
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It is important to remember, though we don’t often stop to reflect on it, that only good people feel guilty. Evil people rarely feel guilty. They deny, they justify, they rationalize, they blame others without accepting their share of responsibility. Only morally sensitive people struggle with the gap between who they are and who they know they ought to be.
One man alone can’t defeat the forces of evil, but many good people coming together can.
God is not found in people; God is found between people. When you and I are truly attuned to each other, God comes down and fills the space between us so that we are connected, not separated.
When we thirst for revenge, it isn’t really revenge we’re after. We’re looking to reclaim the sense of power and dignity that was stolen from us. If there were a less morally tainted way of feeling empowered when we confront our adversary, if we could claim power over him without having to hurt him, most of us would be satisfied with that.
The prospect of getting even is seldom worth what it does to us as people. It has been said that we should try to rise above the wish for revenge, not to be saintly but to be sensible. Life is too precious to be wasted on hatred.  But we all know how hard it is to follow that advice.
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Explores the nature of true accomplishment while examining the troubling impact of compromising one's integrity to achieve success, and argues that the path to leading a significant life lies in family, friendship, generosity, and self-sacrifice.

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