Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World Book Summary By Iddo Landau

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Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World (2017) is a book that helps us answer the complex questions of life.

With clear and logical advice, Iddo Landau provides readers with the tools they need to tackle the meaning of life in their own unique way.

Throughout this book, Landau explores various theories that enable us to appreciate the significance of our lives.

He also encourages readers to apply practical advice on how to increase or enhance existing meaning.

As you read through this book, you'll discover that it's possible to connect deeper with ourselves and create rewarding lives even in imperfect circumstances.

Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World Book

Book Name: Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World (An exploration of the many ways life can be meaningful)

Author(s): Iddo Landau

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 22 Minutes

Categories: Motivation & Inspiration

Author Bio

Iddo Landau is a renowned philosopher and Professor at Haifa University in Israel.

He brings profound insights to the table, with years of study and thought on the subject of creating meaning in an imperfect world.

His breadth of knowledge covers topics such as metaphysics, philosophy, psychology and many more.

He has published extensively on the complexities of creating and maintaining meaningfulness in life - it is next to impossible to find a scholar with a deeper understanding of this subject than Iddo Landau.

Discover The Meaning Of Life With These Simple Philosophical Tools

Philosophical Tools

It’s no secret that life can often seem meaningless, particularly in light of tragedy, suffering, and death.

But as Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World reveals, life is actually full of opportunities to find purpose and meaning.

Through straightforward conversations and easy-to-digest arguments, this book will show you how you can create your own meaningful life — no mystical experience required.

You’ll learn why perfectionists often struggle with finding meaning; how small everyday tasks, like cleaning a kitchen floor or talking to a child about candy, can help us to appreciate the value of our own lives; and even what it really means for something to be valuable or meaningful.

With each step forward in your understanding, you’ll start to recognize more and more ways that life can be meaningful — an invaluable skill that will serve as a guide through your entire journey.

To Find Meaning In Life, We Must Identify What Has Value To Us

When we ask ourselves the big question of what our life has meaning, we’re asking about value.

What is important or worthwhile to us? What do we spend our time and energy striving for? These are the things that bring us fulfillment and joy.

The great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy understood this concept well.

Even though he had achieved immense fame and possessed a beautiful estate, he still suffered an existential crisis because so much of his life seemed to have lost its original value to him.

He wrote in his work that his achievements no longer mattered, leading him to ask himself “so what?”.

Ultimately, happiness can only be found when we invest ourselves into something of value – anything else won’t satisfy us for very long.

And although this value system may differ from person to person, it is up to us as individuals to determine what has worth in each of our lives.

The goal, then, should be to find that one pursuit that really matters, even if it seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

When we can do this, then our lives begin to matter and take on meaning beyond what we could have imagined before.

Perfectionism Denies The Magic Of Everyday Life And Leads To Unrealistic Expectations

Finding meaning in life doesn’t require you to be a perfectionist.

You don’t have to achieve extraordinary feats, solve the world’s problems, or mount an outstanding effort in order to have a meaningful experience.

Perfectionism can often lead to disappointment, as it can set unrealistic expectations and looks for an impossible standard of excellence that cannot easily be met.

Instead of holding yourself up to an impossibly high standard for life and its meaning, take stock of all of your successes – great or small.

All of those little victories add up to something special.

There are also many experiences that can bring you joy even if it seems mundane, like grabbing dinner with a friend from nowhere specific or doodling idly on the edge of paper.

Life is full of unexpected magical moments and should be appreciated fully when moments like those appear.

At the end of the day, life is about discovering what brings meaning to you specifically and understanding that your actions don’t always have global implications but rather important personal significance.

So let go of perfectionism as a crutch – because you’ll find more satisfaction in considering all aspects of life worthwhile which translates into a much deeper level of fulfillment than any external measure could promise.

Life Has Value Regardless Of Whether It Is Eternal


The notion that death makes life meaningless is a common one.

But a closer look at this claim reveals it to be false.

To illustrate this point, let’s examine the story of Sisyphus from Greek mythology.

He was condemned to spend eternity pushing a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down.

Philosophically speaking, it seems that no matter how hard he works, his task will always be futile – in the end the rock rolls back down and he dies.

This can seem like an argument for futility; if we all die eventually, does anything we do truly have any value? Not so fast – Camus proposes that we are all Sisyphus; even though our lives may end eventually, our actions still have meaning.

Rather than dismissing any activity as pointless because of its temporary nature, we can appreciate and value the small everyday acts like mopping our floors or admiring trees in gardens; these things don’t last forever but they still serve a purpose and bring us joy in the present moment.

In fact, even if something is destined to come to an end, that doesn’t mean it lacks meaning or value completely: briefly lasting activities are not necessarily devoid of purpose – they create memories and lessons regardless of their temporal nature.

Death doesn’t make life meaningless; it’s what you do with your life while you’re alive that matters most and allows you to create lasting legacies.

The Illusion Of Free Will: How Life Can Still Be Meaningful Even Without It

Though free will is often seen as the cornerstone of meaningful life choices, it may not be necessary for finding true value and meaning in life.

Philosophers often debate whether or not determinism – the idea that our lives are predetermined and thus, lacking in free will – is real; however, even if we accept that everything has a cause, there’s still room for much that is valuable and meaningful.

Take sports and music, for example: Many athletes and musicians are admired for their accomplishments despite any conscious choice to become great.

Talented athletes with strong genes might not have had any control over whether their parents encouraged them to train, yet this lack of free will doesn’t take away from all they’ve achieved.

Similarly, no one would deny that Mozart was a genius despite the fact that he did not choose his natural talents.

What these examples show is that while free will can be a crucial part of choosing a path or making important decisions, it doesn’t necessarily need to be present for someone to achieve something remarkable.

That means you don’t need to believe in free will to find value in life and lead a meaningful existence.

Whether your choices were predetermined or freely made doesn’t matter – all that really matters is what you do with them!

Is Life Meaningful Even Without An External Goal?

It’s often thought that life itself requires a goal in order to be meaningful – but, no, life lived for its own sake is enough to give it meaning.

Philosophers make a distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic value when discussing something’s worth.

Extrinsic value comes when the topic at hand is a means to an end; while intrinsic value relates to something that is valuable in itself.

We can see this concept in play when we go back to the “why” game that we so often find ourselves playing with young children.

For most of us, once we reach the point of enjoying something (like candy once received at the store) there’s usually no need for further justification – enjoyment can stand as having inherent value in itself.

This same framework applies to life and it’s amazing potential for meaning without necessarily being tied down to any particular goal or purpose.

Life can have amazing inherent value all on its own, if we allow it too.

That’s why it’s important to remember: Life lived for its own sake is plenty meaningful!

The Paradox Of The End: How To Appreciate Meaningful Goals Without Losing Sight Of Life’s Meaning

Meaningful Goals

It’s easy to think that if we lose meaning from something, it means that life is meaningless.

But the truth is, losing meaning doesn’t have to make life meaningless.

For example, achievements like raising a child or overcoming a serious illness can stay with you for life and provide you with lasting meaning.

And even if all our goals lead to a loss of meaning, there are still endless opportunities out there to strive for something that never ends; such as being a great husband, or being a really good teacher – these require an ongoing commitment where the satisfaction of striving for them can last forever.

Plus, whether or not we experience the paradox of the end is affected by things like education and upbringing – though we may not be able to do anything about those in retrospect, we can still change their influence on us through behaviors we’ve developed over time.

Take workaholism, for example: someone who never takes time to relax and celebrate their successes might find themselves feeling empty after achieving a goal.

But recognizing this potential issue can open up doors for different approaches in the future.

Contrary to what people may believe, losing your sense of meaning doesn’t equate to life itself being meaningless.

There are plenty of ways we can reach new levels of purpose and create lasting joys in our lives!

Life Can Be Meaningful Despite Pain And Suffering

Despite all the pain and suffering in life, there is always room for hope and meaning.

This was famously illustrated by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who argued that even the most pleasurable experiences have an element of suffering.

He believed that because of this, life necessarily has to be meaningless.

But this doesn’t have to be true.

As pointed out by Viktor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, even under extreme conditions, it is possible to lead meaningful lives.

People can still work towards a better future and, in doing so, find purpose.

Even in the face of suffering, people can help each other and do good things which give their lives more meaning than they would otherwise have.

Yes, bad things happen, there is no doubt about that; but the world is not fully composed or evil acts or negative experiences – there are also positives around us too.

So although pain and suffering exist, don’t let that stop you from trying to find meaning in your own life as well!

How To Create Meaning In Your Life Through Reflection And Appreciation Of What You Already Have


If you feel like your life is lacking meaning, it can be difficult to know how to find it.

However, with some thought and self-reflection, you can take steps to make your life meaningful.

The key is understanding what matters to you and finding ways to add more of that into your life while eliminating unnecessary distractions.

One approach is to create a list of things that are already meaningful in your life, or things that have been meaningful in the past.

Reflect on what could be added or taken away from your life for it to become more meaningful.

Looking at examples from people around you who seem content with their lives can also help.

Reframing the situation from an outside perspective can give you valuable insight too.

If you pretend that you will only have a matter of months – or even days – left to live, what would be important enough for you not to miss out on? Such situations tend to sharpen our senses and make us appreciate even small moments in our lives.

Also remember that there might already be a lot of special moments in your life that have gone unnoticed due to missing the value in them.

Take some time out and become more aware of the day-to-day things in your life – especially those which often go unappreciated – and hold onto these memories once they occur.

This way, if one day those opportunities suddenly evaporate away, at least there will be no regrets!

Wrap Up

The bottom line is that life can be chaotic, but it doesn’t need to be lived without meaning.

Through simple lifestyle changes and working on what matters most in our lives, we can each create a meaningful life for ourselves.

As this book states, we don’t have to be perfectionists about finding purpose – there are plenty of opportunities to find value and appreciate the times of joy over the trials of pain that come with living in an imperfect world.

With an understanding of the big picture experience, we can bolster our joy by living out of fulfilling values and relationships that make an impact beyond just ourselves.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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