Published by Rachel Noel on 15th September 2016

Creating a Purposeful Life, by Richard Fox and Heather Brown. Reviewed by Elizabeth Welch

Creating a Purposeful Life, by Richard Fox and Heather Brown.

Infinite Ideas, 2012, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-90682197-5. £12.99.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Welch

purposeful-lifeRichard Fox’s book, Creating a Purposeful Life, is a helpful compilation of thoughts, quotes and input from research amongst over 120 contributors, focusing on well-being through looking at issues of time, identity and purpose.

It interweaves quotes from a variety of authors, and exercises for personal reflection and development. The approach to contemporary issues of time and the endless busy round is illustrated by ancient sage Confucius ‘Man who treats life like a race gets to the end very quickly’. The late lamented Steve Jobs offers a contemporary approach from the midst of a challenging business perspective ‘have the courage to follow your heart and intuition’.

Fox looks at the balance between doing and being, and the importance of giving time to being, in the midst of raising interesting questions such as ‘who decides how we experience time?’ The book touches on the larger issues of approaches to work that either drain or energise, and the types of values that undergird a purposeful life. At one point, there is a rather large list of possible values which it is suggested be edited down to 3 – 7 of the most crucial ones, which felt like quite a challenge, but an interesting starting point for reflection.

Throughout the book are a range of helpful exercises to enable the reader to reflect on his or her own life and experience, including the appositely named ‘material from the clouds’ as a focus for self-reflection. The section on managing your daily rhythm gives helpful tips about ways of creatively digging in to the present moment.

This book is a quick read and easily accessible, but would repay dipping in more slowly over a longer period.

Revd Elizabeth Welch is the Chair of MODEM.

This review first appeared in MODEM Matters Issue 21 in September 2012. 

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