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The Good Enough Life

Avram Alpert, Princeton Writing Program; Christy Wampole, French and Italian

April 20, 2022 · 6:00 pm7:30 pm · Princeton Public Library

Labyrinth Books; Princeton Public Library; Princeton University Press; Humanities Council

Labyrinth, The Princeton Public Library, and Princeton University Press invite you to a conversation about the way in which acceptance of our limitations can lead to a more fulfilling life and a more harmonious society between two scholars who also regularly contribute to the NYTimes forum for philosophers and contemporary thinkers, The Stone.

This is planned as a hybrid event held at the Princeton Public Library.

We live in a world oriented toward greatness, one in which we feel compelled to be among the wealthiest, most powerful, and most famous. This book explains why no one truly benefits from this competitive social order, and reveals how another way of life is possiblea good-enough life for all.

Avram Alpert shows how our obsession with greatness results in stress and anxiety, damage to our relationships, widespread political and economic inequality, and destruction of the natural world. He describes how to move beyond greatness to create a society in which everyone flourishes. By competing less with each other, each of us can find renewed meaning and purpose, have our material and emotional needs met, and begin to lead more leisurely lives. Alpert makes no false utopian promises, however. Life can never be more than good enough because there will always be accidents and tragedies beyond our control, which is why we must stop dividing the world into winners and losers and ensure that there is a fair share of decency and sufficiency to go around.

Visionary and provocative, The Good-Enough Life demonstrates how we can work together to cultivate a good-enough life for all instead of tearing ourselves apart in a race to the top of the social pyramid.

Avram Alpert is lecturer in the Writing Program at Princeton University and co-editor of Shifter magazine. His books include A Partial Enlightenment: What Modern Literature and Buddhism Can Teach Us about Living Well without Perfection. His work has appeared in publications such as the NYTimes, the Washington Post, and Aeon. Christy Wampole is Professor in the French and Italian Department at Princeton University. She is the author of The Other Serious: Essays for the new American Generation; Rootedness: The Ramifications of a Metaphor; and Realism: Novel and Nation in 21st Century France. Her opinion pieces and essays have been published in the NYTimes, The New Yorker, The LA Review of Books, and Aeon, among other places.

This event is co-sponsored by Princeton University’s Humanities Council and is part of the ongoing, joint Labyrinth & the Library Live series of events (LLL).

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