The Good Life: Lessons from Greg Epstein’s Good Without God

good-without-god-book-coverTl;dr: download my 5-page PDF guide to Greg Epstein’s Good Without God: What A Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe.

This is my 3rd Good Life guide. Here are the other 2:

  • Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life [link]
  • Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues [link]

I chose Epstein’s book because I’m curious about humanism and other modern-day life philosophies. As a big believer in religion and religious practices for helping us lead more meaningful lives, it only makes sense for me to study atheism, agnosticism, and life philosophies, too.

The Good Life guides share insights, conclusions, and questions from history’s greatest thinkers and doers on finding purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. My goal is to provide answers, and probably more questions, to living what Aristotle calls “eudemonia”, or simply, “the good life”.

It’s a 5-page PDF, free to download and share. Here’s the link to view it as a read-only Google Doc.

I’ve embedded a section below. This is my 3rd Good Life guide – please give me feedback and advice on how to make them better!!

Thanks and enjoy!



Warning: this is not a CliffNotes; I look for themes and insights to help us live a Good Life.

  • Americans have generally negative opinions of the nonreligious (in particular, atheists), but the nonreligious/”religious in name only” community is the fastest growing segment
  • Humanism is a leading non-religious philosophy and community. What is humanism? A desire to live with DIGNITY. To be the “superintendent” of your own life, to “lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment, aspiring to the greater good of humanity.”
  • What is the value of organized religion (eg, Christianity)?
    • When today’s biggest religions were created, people lived in a world of suffering – religions helped people alleviate their suffering through things like prayer, a belief in heaven
    • People don’t like randomness – religion helps explain things (like why we die)
    • Provides community and group identity, a key human need
    • Lays out a set of rules for good conduct (for example, the Golden Rule)
  • Non-religious belief has existed since the dawn of mankind, and is prevalent among history’s greatest thinkers (eg, Spinoza, Thomas Jefferson)
  • Epstein believes most people are driven by “striving” – striving for money, status, looks, respect

…for more, download the PDF or view it in Google Docs!

Here’s a list of all 1-page cheatsheets, and a list of all books.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.