What is the "good life"? Is it a long litany of personal victories? Obstacles overcome and enemies bested? This, Joseph Conrad's finest work, offers Jim as an unlikely hero. His journey is one of redemption. He pretty much blows his career in the first "act" of the story. Lesser men might slink away into a life of shame and/or dissolution. Jim faces the world stone cold sober, mans up to take responsibility for his actions, and builds an interesting new identity for himself in an island community. Much more cogent and inspiring than more conventional "happy" stories.