The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By by Dan McAdams
Dan McAdams, author of The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By
The Redemptive Self

Who are we as Americans? What is our deep identity?

Based on a decade of research into the lives of especially caring and productive adults, renowned psychologist Dan P. McAdams shows that people create meaning and purpose in their lives through personal stories. In American society, the most powerful life stories are narratives of personal redemption, through which people transform pain and suffering into a life designed to benefit the self and others. From Benjamin Franklin to Oprah, in Hollywood movies and everyday lives, Americans have developed countless variations on the redemptive self – a peculiarly American life story that inspires deep idealism and promotes mental health, but that can sometimes also prove self-righteous or naïve.

The Redemptive Self: Stories American Live By brings together cutting-edge research in psychology and cognitive science with bold interpretations of literature, history, politics, and popular culture to produce a profound meditation on what it means to be an American, and what it means to live a good life in America. Through moving case studies, historical examples, and empirical research, McAdams also addresses such key issues in American life today as race, religious faith, self-help, addiction and recovery, volunteerism, and the never-ending tension between self and the social good.

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