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One of the most common refrains we hear from those who have reached the pinnacle of success is that of the emptiness that still stalks their lives, all their successes notwithstanding. That sort of confession is at least one reason the question of meaning is so central in life’s pursuit. Although none like to admit it, what brings purpose in life for many, particularly in countries rich in enterprising opportunities, is a higher standard of living, even if it means being willing to die for it. Yet, judging by the remarks of some who have attained those higher standards, there is frequently an admission of disappointment. After his second Wimbledon victory, Boris Becker surprised the world by admitting his great struggle with suicide.

Jack Higgins, the...

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