What Are You Doing with Your Life? Book Summary - What Are You Doing with Your Life? Book explained in key points
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What Are You Doing with Your Life? summary

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Explore answers to some of life's most difficult questions

4.5 (515 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

What Are You Doing with Your Life? By Jiddu Krishnamurti is a philosophical book that challenges the reader to question their beliefs and actions. It explores the deeper meaning and purpose of life, encouraging individuals to find their own answers rather than relying on external ideologies.

Table of Contents

    What Are You Doing with Your Life?
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Your conditioning stops you from seeing things as they are.

    Stop a moment and consider the way that you perceive the world. 

    Consider, for instance, the way you see love. From the moment you were born, you were subjected to ideas about love that shaped the way you think of it. For you, perhaps love is epitomized by a picture of a happy couple on their wedding day, or a bunch of flowers given as a surprise gift. 

    No matter what, you’ve been conditioned to see love in a particular way, depending on your social, economic, and cultural background. But this means that your perspective may be very narrow, and the complex truth of love may be lost on you. 

    The key message here is: Your conditioning stops you from seeing things as they are.

    Your conditioning stops you from perceiving the world in all its complexity. Life is constantly in flux, but because of the way you see the world, you tend to think of it as fixed. Your mind is tethered by your cultural background, belief systems, and dogma. 

    To see how life continuously changes and evolves, you need to be able to change your mind and your perspective along with it. If you don’t attune yourself to life’s subtle, continuous changes, you won’t see the full picture – just your own tiny, static snapshot. 

    For instance, if you were to watch a flower bloom and change, your description of it would vary from one day to the next if you were to be truthful about that flower. Life is just like that – it requires intimate attention.

    To look at life more truthfully, you have to free your mind from all the grand theories and systems that try to explain it in its totality. This is the hard part. For instance, maybe you think of yourself as a socialist, a capitalist, a Christian, or a Hindu. If you adhere to an ideology or religion, any number of situations will be forced to fit your worldview, even if what they’re telling you contradicts your belief system. 

    So how do you attune yourself to the world? You must watch the way your mind moves very carefully. You must observe its workings, almost as if you were watching from the outside. Only then will you begin to understand how your conditioning limits the way you see. 

    In this way, you’ll begin to understand yourself and your relationship to the world. That’s the first step toward grappling with the many problems we face – problems that are always changing and evolving, just like life itself.

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    What is What Are You Doing with Your Life? about?

    What Are You Doing with Your Life (2001) attempts to answer some of life’s most important questions. From considering the role of happiness and personal transformation to the purpose of life itself, it sets out a philosophy to guide you through every stage of your journey. 

    What Are You Doing with Your Life? Review

    What Are You Doing with Your Life? by Jiddu Krishnamurti (1991) is a thought-provoking book that challenges us to question our existence and life's purpose. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers profound philosophical insights about the nature of life, consciousness, and freedom, prompting deep reflection on our own lives.
    • Presents a refreshing perspective on societal conditioning, urging readers to break free from the constraints of conventional thinking and explore their own truth.
    • Through clear and concise writing, Krishnamurti tackles complex ideas with clarity and depth, making profound concepts accessible and engaging.

    Best quote from What Are You Doing with Your Life?

    It is only the free mind that can meet life, not the mind tethered to any system . . . .

    —Jiddu Krishnamurti
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    Who should read What Are You Doing with Your Life??

    • People who feel a little lost and are looking for direction 
    • Those into philosophy and deep thinking
    • Budding gurus and life teachers

    About the Author

    Jiddu Krishnamurti was born in southern India in 1895. He was a philosopher, speaker, and writer. The Theosophical Society, a global philosophical organization, regarded him as the coming “World Teacher” they were waiting for. He would reject this moniker, and spend the rest of his life speaking to large groups of people all around the world. He died in 1986. 

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    What Are You Doing with Your Life? FAQs 

    What is the main message of What Are You Doing with Your Life??

    The main message of What Are You Doing with Your Life? is to question and examine the purpose and meaning of our lives.

    How long does it take to read What Are You Doing with Your Life??

    The reading time for What Are You Doing with Your Life? varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is What Are You Doing with Your Life? a good book? Is it worth reading?

    What Are You Doing with Your Life? is worth reading because it offers thought-provoking insights on living a meaningful and fulfilling life.

    Who is the author of What Are You Doing with Your Life??

    Jiddu Krishnamurti is the author of What Are You Doing with Your Life?.

    What to read after What Are You Doing with Your Life??

    If you're wondering what to read next after What Are You Doing with Your Life?, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • Don't Believe Everything You Think by Joseph Nguyen
    • Beyond the Pleasure Principle by Sigmund Freud
    • The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
    • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini
    • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg