JEAN VANIER MADE FOR HAPPINESS, Discovering the Meaning of Life with Aristotle, Introduction by Ian Brown, House of Anansi


In Made for Happiness, Jean Vanier examines the basis for modern moral philosophy and its role in our lives today. Having discovered through his work with the intellectually disabled the degree to which our society is divided, and our values misplaced, Vanier invites us to read with fresh eyes theories of happiness written 2,400 years ago.

The book follows the links between psychology, spirituality, and morality: psychology helps us face our fears and limitations; spirituality gives us strength; and morality helps us to choose the best actions, those that will make us happier, and thus more human. The combination of these paths to knowledge and wisdom gives meaning to our lives and allows us to make the best use of our freedom on our way to happiness.

Lucidly written, Made for Happiness links classical thought to contemporary challenges, and nourishes the heart and mind.

This new edition includes an introduction by Ian Brown.


I received this edition in exchange for my honest review.  Can we say gorgeous cover or what? I absolutely love it and it will look great among the classics on my shelf.

This is one man’s interpretation of a great philosopher’s work on how to be happy during Aristotle’s time.  It’s an easy piece to read, a bit dry, but well worth the effort.   Vanier was an outcast or “excluded” member of society.

He explains how Aristotle’s teacher was Plato and how Aristotle didn’t agree with Plato’s theoretical spirituality teachings.  I absolutely love how Aristotle feels that being human means becoming as perfectly accomplished as humanly possible in all aspects of life–academically, politically, scientifically, and personally. Achieving happiness is by committing humane acts–by being good in all ways. We all have the potential to be good, but we must rise above those things that have the potential for bringing out the bad in us.

He talks about being a leader, not a follower, not to settle for what others think and do but to question, disagree, disgust and make choices that benefit you personally to enhance your own personal growth in good, humane fashion.

Vanier points out some of Aristotle’s short-comings: snobbery, racism, sexism, etc. It’s an interesting breakdown.   You may find that Aristotle’s philosophies make a lot of sense, and some of Vanier’s interpretations are questionable and interesting.  There’s the flip side too, where some of Aristotle’s thoughts/feelings will make your head shake.  The book gives you interesting insights as to where issues of snobbery, racism, sexism and others came from and how far back in history these horrible concepts were founded.

This book is thought provoking, easy to read (thank goodness), and very much so recommended by me.  It’s a great collector’s book too with such a beautiful cover, not too thick and in paperback format. Overall, whether you agree with Vanier’s interpretations, and Aristotle’s insights, you will find this read very interesting.

I gave this book:




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