Start Making Sense

How Existential Psychology Can Help Us Build Meaningful Lives in Absurd Times


By Steven J. Heine

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$40.00 CAD



  1. Hardcover $30.00 $40.00 CAD
  2. ebook $18.99 $24.99 CAD

A groundbreaking investigation into the science of why we crave meaning—and how we can pursue it in this age of anxiety

These days everyone feels on edge, panicked by climate change, political polarization, and artificial intelligence. 
In Start Making Sense, psychologist Steven J. Heine shows how to overcome our angst and live life with purpose. Heine’s field, existential psychology, uses the tools of science to study the kinds of questions famously asked by existential philosophers such as Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir. Who are we? Why do we seek meaning? How do we connect with one another? Drawing on decades of research, Heine provides scientifically grounded answers to these mysteries. He shows that humans evolved to seek meaning: our survival depends on our ability to make sense of an absurd world. Every day, we deploy an arsenal of psychological tactics to make and maintain meaning in our lives, from rationalizing our choices, to waxing nostalgic about the past, to defending our cultural worldviews. By understanding why and how we seek to make sense, we can live authentic lives in times that don’t seem to make sense at all. 
This illuminating book transforms the way we understand our search for meaning and provides a blueprint for building a better life. 

On Sale
Jan 28, 2025
Page Count
368 pages
Basic Books

Steven J. Heine

About the Author

Steven J. Heine is distinguished university scholar and professor of social and cultural psychology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Cultural Psychology, the top-selling textbook in the field, and his research has been covered in outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Newsweek, and New Scientist. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. 

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