Hi! My name is Emily Esfahani Smith. Welcome to my newsletter, “The Examined Life: The art and science of living well.” Thank you for dropping by.

This newsletter is all about helping you lead a more meaningful life. I draw on psychology research and storytelling to write about the human experience—why we are the way we are and how we can find grace and meaning in a world that is full of both suffering and joy. In my posts, I write about the science of well-being, tell the stories of ordinary and extraordinary people, and draw on the wisdom of the humanities.

I promise I won’t inundate your inbox with spam. My plan is to send about one high quality post to you per month on the science of well-being.

I love hearing from my readers. If you have any topics or questions you’d like me to cover, write to me and let me know. I’ll do my best to address them.

I hope you like what you’ll find here!

About me:

I’m the author of the bestselling book The Power of Meaning. In 2017, I gave a TED talk based on my book called “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy,” which has been viewed over 10 million times.

I started writing about psychology in 2012. At the time, I was working full-time as a journalist while being enrolled in a master’s degree program in positive psychology, the science of well-being, at the University of Pennsylvania. I fell in love with the material I was learning at Penn and immediately began covering it for national publications. To my surprise, some of these articles went viral. My articles for The AtlanticThere’s More to Life Than Being Happy” and “Masters of Love,” for example, have reached over 30 million readers. I’ve also written for the New York Times about these themes. One article was about rethinking success, “You’ll Never Be Famous—And That’s OK,” and another was about protecting your mental health during the COVID pandemic, “On Coronavirus Lockdown? Search for Meaning, Not Happiness.”

On a more personal note, I live with my husband in Washington DC, where I’m currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology.


Emily Esfahani Smith
Author of The Power of Meaning.