The other day, I came across a book published in 1946 called Peace of Mind by Rabbi Joshua Loth Liebman. It was given to my mother by her aunt Freida for Christmas of 1948. My mom would have been pregnant with me at the time.
Here's an excerpt:
The primary joy of life is acceptance, approval, the sense of appreciation and companionship of our human comrades. Many people do not understand that the need for fellowship is really as deep as the need for food, and so they go throughout life accepting many substitutes for genuine, warm, simple relatedness....There comes a time in the development of every ego when it must love its neighbors or become a twisted and stunted personality. The normal mature man and woman has with him a surplus "urge to give."...Man's restless yearning to give something of himself, whether it be a physical child or a spiritual child - the child of his mind - a bridge, a poem, a song, an invention, a cure of disease - is the true answer to all cynics and pessimists who maintain that man is total selfishness.
I think I'm going to read the whole book. It's dated, yes. But it seems to contain a lot of wisdom.