Regular price: $41.95

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $41.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

What is the meaning of life?
It's a question every thoughtful person has pondered at one time or another. Indeed, it may be the biggest question of all - at once profound and universal, but also deeply personal.
We want to understand the world in which we live, but we also want to understand how to make our own lives as meaningful as possible; to know not only why we're living, but that we're doing it with intention, purpose, and ethical commitment. But how, exactly, do we find that meaning, and develop that commitment? How can we grasp why we are here? Or how we should proceed? And to whom, exactly, we should listen as we shape the path we will walk? This comprehensive 36-lecture series from a much-honored scholar is an invigorating way to begin or continue your pursuit of these questions, and it requires no previous background in philosophical or religious thought.
It offers a rigorous and wide-ranging exploration of what various spiritual, religious, and philosophical traditions from both the East and West have contributed to this profound line of questioning, sharing insights from sources that include ancient Indian texts, such as:

The Bhagavad-Gita
Foundational Chinese texts like the Daodejing and the Chuang Tzu
Classical Western texts, such as Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations
Modern philosophers and writers like David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Leo Tolstoy
The unique perspectives offered by Native Americans, in this case, the Lakota Sioux medicine man and writer, John Lame Deer
More recent and contemporary philosophers, such as Mohandas Gandhi and the Dalai Lama

©2011 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2011 The Great Courses
Show More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By George on 03-12-14

Thoughtful, Evenhanded, Precise, and Well Spoken

This lecture series discusses The Bhagavad Gita, Aristotle, The Book of Job, Stoicism (including Epictetus, Seneca, Lucretius, and Marcus Aurelius), Confucius, The Dao De Jing (including Zhuangzi), Buddhist teachings (including Santideva and Zen), Hume, Kant, Mill, Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Gandhi, Lame Deer, and the Dalai Lama. He concentrates on bringing out what each subject has to say particularly on the meaning of life, and he always reminds the listener of themes that we have heard in previous lectures and how they compare to the current lecture. He took every perspective seriously, and during each lecture I felt he was making a great case for each viewpoint. He respects Nietzsche and Gandhi equally. He is calm yet engaging speaker. One revelation I had was the difference in how the ancient world generally understands the meaning of life as opposed to the modern world. I got a lot out of listening, and may listen again after a few months. If I were to guess, I would guess he gives slightly more time to compassion/nature of self, but he gives almost equal time to other topics such as the aesthetic/creative and knowledge/progress ideas of the good life.

Read More Hide me

35 of 36 people found this review helpful

By John Campbell on 11-24-14

The Biggest Question in Life Explored Brilliantly

Jay L. Garfield is a wise and thoughtful guide to the philosophical exploration of the greatest question in life. Just what is the meaning of life?

He discusses the meaning of the question in the first place and then goes on to discuss a broad range of philosophers and traditions as he helps us understand the different approaches. I was impressed with the course right from the beginning and that positive impression only grew as I listened to the entire course.

Jay Garfield is passionate, humble, and respectful in his teaching. He covers a broad range of thinkers and links them nicely. He paints a broad landscape of the majesty of philosophy when it helps us explore the meaning of our individual and social human experience.

The course was not short and it covered a lot of material, but the pace was excellent. I learned a great deal, but would be happy to hear a lot more of Jay Garfield. A great Audible program for anyone interested in the big picture of human life - highly recommended. Jay Garfield is a brilliant teacher who shares his passion as much as his knowledge.

This would be a great course for anyone wanting to dip their toe into philosophy. I expect that it would encourage many to plunge in after that first dip.

Read More Hide me

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By David on 09-06-14

Life-changingly fantastic

What about Professor Jay L. Garfield’s performance did you like?

His very clear passion and love of the subject

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The second climax of the bhavadgita, the description of daoism, and understanding the zen notion of impermanence

Any additional comments?

Thoroughly recommended. Probably my favorite great courses series so far (out of about 10)

Read More Hide me

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By mr.andrius on 02-25-15

great stuff

really liked it. story is fasinating,narrator is supurb. it is my first review of any audiobook,so its says it all.

Read More Hide me

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Annalie on 11-17-17

Brilliant, highly recommended

Prof Garfield is an excellent lecturer, passionate about his subject, and inspiring, bringing philosophies of different ancient cultures to life, and showig the relevance of those teachings to our present time. His brilliant interpretations of those teachings gave me a wider perspective on life, a highly recommended listen!

Read More Hide me
See all Reviews
© Copyright 1997 - 2018 Audible, Inc