The Point Is: Making Sense of Birth, Death, and Everything in Between

The Point Is: Making Sense of Birth, Death, and Everything in Between

by Lee Eisenberg


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In this engaging and provocative new book, Lee Eisenberg, bestselling author of The Number, dares to tackle nothing less than what it takes to find enduring meaning and purpose in life.

He explains how from a young age, each of us is compelled to take memories of events and relationships and shape them into a one-of-a-kind personal narrative. In addition to sharing his own pivotal memories (some of them moving, some just a shade embarrassing), Eisenberg presents striking research culled from psychology and neuroscience, and draws on insights from a pantheon of thinkers and great writers-Tolstoy, Freud, Joseph Campbell, Virginia Woolf, among others.

We also hear from men and women of all ages who are wrestling with the demands of work and family, ever in search of fulfillment and satisfaction.

It all adds up to a fascinating story, delightfully told, one that goes straight to the heart of how we explain ourselves to ourselves-in other words, who we are and why.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455550463
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Lee Eisenberg is the bestselling author of The Number and other books. He's a former editor in chief of Esquire and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, among other stops in a colorful, wide-ranging career. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Fortune, Businessweek, Time, Newsweek, and New York magazine. He divides his time between Chicago and New York City. For news and updates, please visit

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Part I The Beginning

1 Meet the Scribbler 3

2 Inside the Memory Factory 13

3 Authorized and Unabridged 24

4 First Jottings 30

5 A God-Shaped Hole 45

6 Is the Beginning Important? 55

Part II The Middle

7 Beware the Elbow 61

8 Interlude: Other Voices 85

9 Breathing Space 96

10 Paper and Dust 114

11 Who Needs Happiness? 121

12 The James Dean Story 131

13 How We Live On 138

14 Snowbirds at Sunset 154

Part III The End

15 Ghost Theory 163

16 In Search of a Good Ending 168

17 Butterfly in the Cafe 174

18 A Place in the Shade 180

19 Is There Ever a Right Time? 192

20 Chiseled and Engraved 202

21 Precious Find 210

22 Diaries Dearest 218

23 Writing a Beautiful Sentence 224

Afterword 237

Appendix 247

Acknowledgments 261

Further Reading 265

Index 269

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