Book details

How to Navigate Life

The New Science of Finding Your Way in School, Career, and Beyond

Author: Belle Liang, Ph.D., and Timothy Klein, LCSW

How to Navigate Life

How to Navigate Life

About This Book

An essential guide to tackling what students, families, and educators can do now to cut through stress and performance pressure, and find a path to purpose.


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Book Details

An essential guide to tackling what students, families, and educators can do now to cut through stress and performance pressure, and find a path to purpose.

Today’s college-bound kids are stressed, anxious, and navigating demands in their lives unimaginable to a previous generation. They’re performance machines, hitting the benchmarks they’re “supposed” to in order to reach the next tier of a relentless ladder. Then, their mental and physical exhaustion carries over right into first jobs. What have traditionally been considered the best years of life have become the beaten-down years of life.

Belle Liang and Timothy Klein devote their careers both to counseling individual students and to cutting through the daily pressures to show a better way, a framework, and set of questions to find kids’ “true north”: what really turns them on in life, and how to harness the core qualities that reveal, allowing them to choose a course of study, a college, and a career.

Even the gentlest parents and teachers tend to play into pervasive societal pressure for students to PERFORM. And when we take the foot off the gas, we beg the kids to just figure out what their PASSION is. Neither is a recipe for mental or physical health, or, ironically, for performance or passion. How to Navigate Life shows that successful human beings instead tap into their PURPOSE—the why behind the what and how. Best of all, purpose is a completely translatable quality to every aspect of life, from first jobs to last jobs and everything in between.

Imprint Publisher

St. Martin's Press



In The News

“This book is like having smart friends take you on a journey out of a dark tunnel into the light. Living with purpose and intention is a teachable skill. Liang and Klein masterfully weave a lifetime of wisdom and science-based practices to show us how to inject fresh energy and joy to our daily activities.” — Jane Clayson Johnson, radio host at WBUR and best-selling author of Silent Souls Weeping

"Integrating evidence derived from theory-predicated research with a masterfully written, compelling, and engaging narrative style, Liang and Klein provide answers to parents’ fundamental concern: How to raise children whose lives involve not only financial well-being but as well positive purpose for and valued contributions to self and others, joy, and fulfillment. How To Navigate Life is a vital book for every parent and a resource enabling readers to have hope that the future of civil society and democracy in our nation will be led by capable, caring, and compassionate young people." — Richard M. Lerner, Ph.D., Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University

"Today, the road from adolescence to adulthood can feel painfully narrow and full of pressures, competition and uncertainty. In the midst of this, honing a sense of purpose may feel like a luxury for a more certain time. Liang and Klein prove otherwise. As leading experts in adolescence, Liang and Klein persuasively aver that honing a sense of purpose is essential for a fulfilling life. Further, Liang and Klein provide an effective set of principles for developing purpose and skillfully illustrate how they function across contexts. How to Navigate Life will become a well-worn guide for parents and students who are daunted by navigating the journey from high school to the rest of their lives." — Nancy E. Hill, Ph.D. Author or The End of Adolescence: The Lost Art of Delaying Adulthood and the Charles Bigelow Professor of Education at Harvard University

"Informed by decades of research and practice, Liang and Klein have written a powerful book to support youth in their self-awareness, purpose development and journey to adulthood. This book is an impressive and important resource for youth and those who work with them, filled with advice, useful tools, and inspiration!"
— Jacqueline V Lerner, Ph.D., Scientific Director of the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development

"How to Navigate Life gleans the gems of psychological principles to reveal a compelling yet counter-intuitive mindset orientation, leading to a happy kid and fulfilling life ahead. Liang and Klein release parents, students and educators from today's performance pressures that anxiously drain them. Bravo– this is a must read!" — B. Janet Hibbs, Ph.D. and Anthony L. Rostain, M.D., co-authors of The Stressed Years of Their Lives

"Insightful and engaging, How to Navigate Life offers a fresh take on how to identify your purpose and help the young people in your life find theirs. Through actionable takeaways, Liang and Klein give us all the tools we need to find our way in school, work, and everyday life." — Christina Hillsberg, author of License to Parent: How My Career as a Spy Helped Me Raise Resourceful, Self-Sufficient Kids

“In an uncertain world when we’re at a loss for solving burnout and disengagement, Liang and Klein weave together interesting research, in-depth reporting, and best practices to serve up useful approaches to cutting through stress at school and work. With the expertise of scholars and the sensitivity of counselors, they pull back the curtain on true success in college and career, and guide anxious parents and students towards a life of purpose and contentment." — Jeffrey Selingo, New York Times bestselling author of Who Gets In and Why and There Is Life After College

"This book is hope for our future! It is essential reading for parents, mentors, coaches, pastors, therapists, neighbors—anyone interested in equipping young people to holistically thrive in our ever-changing world. Enticing, informative, and practical—Liang and Klein draw on decades of experience and research that will enable you to support young people navigate life in a way that will keep them directed, fueled, and on course for a fulfilling and productive life. This is one of the most helpful and hopeful applications of psychology that I have ever read." — Pamela Ebstyne King, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Thrive Center for Human Development at the Fuller Theological Seminary School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy

"Belle Liang and Timothy Klein have written the deeply-researched book that parents and mentors have been waiting for! Their well-reasoned, empirical approach will open your mind to a new way of navigating school and work. Their compassion and practical guidance will open your heart to authentic relationships with your students as they discover and pursue their true purpose. You are also guaranteed to gain new insight into your own purpose and path along the way!" — Lisa Damour, Ph.D., New York Times best selling author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood and Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls

"Timely and timeless. If you know anyone trying to find direction or make a good decision in school, career, or life, send this book immediately and tell them that there is hope. We can all live lives rich in meaning and purpose, and here is your guide. " — Todd Rose, bestselling author of Collective Illusions, The End of Average, and Dark Horse

"In this timely book, Belle Liang and Timothy Klein have provided us with a compelling guide for helping
young people develop well-directed lives. Parents and educators will benefit from the book’s research-
based recommendations about finding purpose in today’s challenging world." — William Damon, Professor and Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence and author of The Path to Purpose

"At a time when young people are clamoring for guidance to make sense of the world and to navigate college, life, and careers, Liang and Klein have written a guidebook that is clear, insightful, honest and practical. Navigating life is best done in relationship with others, and these scientist-counselors artfully capture how to nurture students and the deep human connections at the heart of this experience." — Peter Felten and Leo Lambert, Elon University, co-authors of Relationship-Rich Education: How Human Connections Drive Success in College

"Whether you are a school or college counselor, teacher or mentor, or (most important, to me) a parent, this book is a practical guide to help us meet children and students where they are, right now. With current data and common sense, “How to Navigate Life,” strikes a hopeful and empowering tone for every young person facing an ever-changing future. And with scripts to help parents connect to their children to quizzes to zero in on the strengths of our high schoolers, How to Navigate Life is THE graduation gift for parents and young adults, alike. And it’s a great read to boot. " — Meghan Leahy, author of Parenting Outside the Lines

"This important book offers dozens of strategies for self-discovery, for supporting young people’s sense of autonomy or agency, and for affirming their emerging sense of self. Liang and Klein skillfully teach parents, teachers, and other caring adults how to build respectful, genuine, and trusting relationships with their children and students, ones that allow adults to guide and even push young people to discover who they really are and become their best selves." — William Stixrud, Ph.D., and Ned Johnson, authors of The Self-Driven Child and What Do you Say?

“Boston College psychology professor Liang and clinical therapist Klein debut with a thoughtful guide for mentors—be they parents, teachers, or others—on how to set up young people for academic and professional success. … a lucid antidote to snowplow parenting. Practical and wise in equal measure, this hits the mark.” — Publishers Weekly

"There’s no blueprint on how to live your life, but there are no shortage of books that will tell you how to do so. But not all books are alike, and How to Navigate Life stands out by addressing stress and anxiety for readers as young as those coming out of high school, aiming to help them get a better, more secure footing with their mental health before embarking on their collegiate and post-collegiate careers." — Fortune

About the Creators

How to Navigate Life

How to Navigate Life