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  • Andrew Scott

The Power of Meaning

You know that thing when you read a review or article and think: someone else has just written the book I've just written...

I just had that, when I read this piece on the TED site by Emily Esfahani Smith. Not only did it sound remarkably similar to Shifting Stories, but it was also being covered on the TED site (and on its Amazon site has positive reviews from various other writers). So the green-eyed monster was waiting in the wings...

However, as I read further, I realised that it is a very different book. The first clue was in the link to research support for her thesis. This is to an article about The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. I am clear that my work is not psychotherapy; and also that the nearest therapy to the ManyStory Approach is probably Narrative Therapy.

I found the links to Dan McAdams and to the Grant and Dutton article both very interesting, and will pursue both. But what this all misses, from my perspective, is the insight that we all have many stories available to us, and the potential for change which that insight offers, and that is the core of my ManyStory Approach.

So having finished the article, I went on to read more about the book from which it was excerpted: The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters. Reading the reviews, it becomes clear that Smith's book has, in fact, a very different focus from mine; and that this article about narratives is an extract from one particular part. It seems there are four pillars to her approach: Belonging, Purpose, Storytelling, and Transcendence. I was interested to note, as well, that she cites people like Aristotle and Frankl, who also inform my thinking on this.

Whilst the green-eyed monster did not entirely vanish (Smith's book looks very interesting, though her cover is certainly inferior to mine), I relaxed a bit; and indeed feel intrigued both to read Smith's books and to follow up the other links her article suggests.

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