David Brooks tackles the concept of the inherent desire for community in his book The Second Mountain. After achieving a successful career, many people find that their lives are still missing fulfillment. Brooks explains that meaning comes from four commitments: a spouse, a vocation, a philosophy and a community.
In The Soul of America, Jon Meacham expands on the effect of community within America. He reminds Americans that as a country, we have gone through dark times, but the goodness always prevails. A Thousand Small Sanities is another book with a political perspective. Adam Gopnik defines liberalism and how it helps shape healthy, community-minded individuals.
For another great read about an individual’s innate drive for meaning, check out Man’s Search for Meaning. Viktor Frankl suffered through years of horror at a Nazi death camp. Working through his own pain, he developed an approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy.
To understand the importance of meaning and serving a community, it sometimes helps to look at an example of the opposite. In All the King’s Men, Robert Penn writes about Louisiana governor Willie Stark and his corrupt political journey that led to his downfall.
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