Lee Eisenberg is a bestselling author and the former editor- in-chief of Esquire magazine
The Point Is explains how we can tell our own story in any number of ways. The easiest, though far from the most revealing, is to list some of the stops along the way.
Praise for The Point Is:
“Affable... accessible... challengingly thought-provoking. [Eisenberg’s] self-probing... will encourage anyone to further ponder the meaning of life.”
“The book ventures into great thinkers territory, but there’s nothing stuffy here. It's engaging as can be.”
NPR's Book concierge
“The perfect manual of style and substance.”
“[A] witty book about how we shape our own narratives....”
THE NATIONAL BOOK REVIEW
“With conversational irony and dogged sense of humor...will appeal to those interested in writing and reading memoirs.”
“Glows with the sense of spontaneity, curiosity, and discovery....”
What the new book’s about
For a while, when someone asked about the book I was writing, I cut to the quick. “Oh, it's about the meaning of life." Reactions ranged from the dubious to the startlingly enthusiastic. “Oh, how timely!" I heard more than once, suggesting that the question of who we are and why we're here was poised to make a dramatic comeback. Eventually, I stopped using the phrase. The meaning of life? Who died and made me Kierkegaard? In truth, The Point Is was never meant to offer a universal answer to humankind's oldest riddle.
The idea was always more personal than that. It started when I began thinking back on my own life story, asking myself (again) the usual questions: How did I get to be me? And why? That led me to wonder why we give priority status to certain memories and not to others. And how those select memories somehow congeal into what we come to think of as the “chapters" of our life. We all do that, don't we? Psychologists and neuroscientists say so: we build a story to explain ourselves to ourselves and to others.
From there, one thing led to another. I looked into what great thinkers and writers had to say about how our lives unfold: Joseph Campbell, Freud, Virginia Woolf, Joan Didion, they've all had at it. Eventually, I arrived at a theory. It explains, to me anyway, why it sometimes feels that we're starring in a tragedy or a comedy. Others have told me it prompted them to think about their own life stories in a new way—which was good to hear, for that too was the point.
A QUESTION FOR THE AGES
Is "God" the only correct answer?
Modern philosophers regard “What is the meaning of life?" as an unanswerable question, saying that “God" is the only conceivable response that passes muster. “God" defines it all: why we're here; what our purpose is; what happens before and after we're here. But answering “God” doesn’t go down well with modern philosophers, 73 percent of whom, when polled, say they’re atheists. So if “God" isn't the correct answer, what is? For you, I mean? Or me?