The central theme of this book is of an existential nature: how to give meaning to life. It proceeds through basic questions such as “why are we here?”, “what do we do with our lives?”, “what keeps us restless?”, and “what are we lacking?”.
Its author Harold Kushner, with great subtlety and boldness, invites us to reflect on this existential problem and suggests how to confront it in every stage of life.
A simple critique of the text states that: “This small book, which is clear and intelligent, focuses on a deeply human problem: how to give meaning to life. It is not about establishing how to be happy or how to achieve material success, but about finding the value and the purpose for our time on earth. When we are young it seems as if we have all the time in the world at our disposal. In the early years of feverish activity, our personal education, marriage and career completely fill our existence. However, sooner or later, everyone begins to ask themselves the essential questions; what am I doing with my life? What am I lacking? A bothersome and restless feeling causes us to lose sleep; nothing is enough.”
The central idea of the narrative leads to us to consider a question that is at the very foundation of its existence: “what do you expect from life?” The answer is most likely, “I want to be happy.”
Nonetheless, why is it that even with all the effort placed towards this aspiration, we can see that many people are not happy for the majority of their life? Could it be that happiness is not found where we are looking? Could we have a false notion of happiness? Can one truly be happy and feel satisfied? How connected is success and material things with the undefined need to be happy? What is it that ultimately drives us to seek happiness? ‘When all you’ve ever wanted isn’t enough’ provides you with a moment to reflect on your life and your aspirations.
In summary, it is a simple, enjoyable and easy to read book that does not have complicated wording, and the richness it contains motivates the reader to keep on reading. This is not a novel; however it is very captivating, since Harold Kushner exhibits a special finesse in taking the reader from one idea to the next with deep intrigue, such as with the plot of a novel.
- Title: “When all you’ve ever wanted isn’t enough”
- Author: Harold Kushner
- Publisher: Touchstone
- ISBN: 9780743234733
- Pages: 192
- Category: Self-help, Philosophy