The Four Purposes of Life: Finding Meaning and Direction in a Changing World


Few writers approach the topic of life purpose with the clarity of Dan Millman, whose prior book The Life You Were Born to Live has reached more than a million readers worldwide. In The Four Purposes of Life, Millman distills decades of exploration and experience into a concise map of what we’re here to accomplish on our life’s journey.

This book is for anyone seeking deeper insight into themselves and their lives, but especially for those at a...

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Few writers approach the topic of life purpose with the clarity of Dan Millman, whose prior book The Life You Were Born to Live has reached more than a million readers worldwide. In The Four Purposes of Life, Millman distills decades of exploration and experience into a concise map of what we’re here to accomplish on our life’s journey.

This book is for anyone seeking deeper insight into themselves and their lives, but especially for those at a crossroads, facing a challenge or change, when past approaches no longer work.

These four purposes — learning life’s lessons, finding your career and calling, discovering your life path, and attending to this arising moment — will bring your life into sharper focus by revealing:

* the value of everyday challenges in relationships, health, work, and money
* how to make wiser decisions in career and relationships
* our twelve required courses in the school of life
* a mysterious system that clarifies your hidden calling
* keys to mastering the most important purpose of all

The Four Purposes of Life can generate a quantum leap in self-knowledge, insight, and wisdom. The seeds planted will bear fruit for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

For many of us, life is a puzzle with pieces missing, a journey without a plan. We improvise, learning life's lessons even as we flit, impulsively changing direction. Dan Millman's The Four Purposes of Life was born from the author's own quest to find an underlying purpose in life. Decades of exploration and introspection taught him to find and clarify his calling and life path. A useful reflective work for all those at crossroads and transitions.

Publishers Weekly
Millman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior, shares more of the ideas that are central to his way of life—and well being—in the hopes of leading others onto their true path. Millman's system ("Life-Purposes") is simple: self-examination; goal-making; decision-making; finding a passion; and conscious living. Relying on the words of philosophers both current and historical (Oprah and Kierkegaard both appear), the author finds a new twist for this addition to the genre he knows so well. The "School of Life" he argues, has only 12 subjects, among them self-worth, courage, sexuality, and service. He shares ways to earn a "Pass" grade from that great campus called Earth. Finding a calling is a more profound challenge than advancing career or finding "satisfying" work, and Millman doesn't make this distinction often enough. One purpose finds the author re-imagining the western horoscope; birth numbers can help us reach our life's purpose, he argues somewhat unpersuasively. And finally, despite all the talk of the subconscious mind and mental time leaps, Millman arrives at this chestnut: live in the moment. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“Once again, Dan Millman provides us with keys to a well-lived life. This is a lovely read, filled with meaningful insight.”
— Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love

“A wonderful book with extremely helpful practices for finding one’s authentic purpose. Highly recommended!”
— Ken Wilber, author of The Integral Vision

“Dan’s new book offers concise and practical guidance for living a meaningful life with a clear sense of purpose.”
— Deepak Chopra, author of The Soul of Leadership

“Leave it to Dan Millman to come up with a way of making purposeful decisions and helping us see deeply into the center of each moment...a graceful and wise book.”
— Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder of Omega Institute and author of Broken Open

“A refreshingly practical yet profound approach to living your sacred calling.”
— Peter Russell, author of From Science to God

“Dan Millman reminds us of the power of our essential humanity, how to touch it and use it to make this a better world.”
— Thom Hartmann, author of The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

“This book skillfully delivers on its promise of bringing renewed meaning and purpose — for anyone seeking clear directions at one of life’s crossroads.”
— Ken Dychtwald, author of A New Purpose

“During one of the darkest periods of my life, Dan’s writing in Way of the Peaceful Warrior extended a hand to me and helped pull me into the light. Dan is the personification of ‘love, laugh, live, and give,’ as you will see in his new book, The Four Purposes of Life. In this book, he does it again as only he can.”
— Quincy Jones

“Dan Millman, a great teacher, shares important rules to help people everywhere improve their lives, find their passion, do what they love, and live with inspiration.”
— Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932073492
  • Publisher: Kramer, H. J., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2011
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 473,332
  • Product dimensions: 5.08 (w) x 7.52 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Millman is the author of 17 books read by millions of people in 29 languages. He teaches worldwide, speaking to men and women from all walks of life, including leaders in the fields of health, psychology, education, business, politics, sports, entertainment, and the arts.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Living on Purpose 1

The First Purpose: Learning Life's Lessons

Smarten Up

Grow Up

Wake Up 9

Voluntary Adversity 16

The School Rules 17

Humanity's Curriculum 18

Required Courses 19

The Second Purpose: Finding Your Career and Calling

Choose Satisfying Work

Earn a Good Living

Provide a Useful Service 31

The Essence of Career and Calling 34

Stories of Career and Calling 36

Self-Knowledge and Career Decisions 48

Talents, Interests, and Values 52

Career Criteria: The Trinity of Needs 61

Career Decisions: Analysis and Imagination 67

Time Travel with Your Subconscious Mind 71

Deciding to Decide 74

Career Notes: From Entry Level to Leadership 75

How Will You Spend Your Life? 81

The Third Purpose: Discovering Your Life Path

Understand Your Hidden Calling

Follow Your Higher Potential 89

Hidden Calling, Higher Potential 92

Determining Your Birth Number 96

Your Birth Number and the Third Purpose 97

The Nine Life Paths 98

Putting It Together 106

Individual Differences, Shared Patterns 109

Fundamentals on Your Life Path 110

Life Paths, Career Paths 112

Insight Isn't Enough 115

Keeping the Faith: Your Promise and Potential 117

The Fourth Purpose: Attending to This Arising Moment

Pay Close Attention

Make Each Moment Count 119

The Man Who Had No Purpose 122

What Snood Taught Me about Life 124

Life as a Series of Moments 126

There's No Such Thing as a Future Decision 127

We Cannot Grasp the Now 129

The Challenge of Attending to the Present 130

The Gift of Life: A Matter of Perspective 132

The Highest Practice of All 134

Epilogue: Our Spiritual Purpose 139

Acknowledgments 145

Further Resources: Source Material 147

Appendix: Determining Your Life-Path Number by Doing the Math 151

About the Author 153

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