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LATEST ADDITIONS TO THE BOOK OF LIFE

  • Twenty Ideas on Marriage

    Our society typically devotes huge attention to the start of a marriage - and particularly to the actual wedding ceremony. We’re correct that a great deal of thought is needed somewhere. But it’s the continuation of marriage that is - of course - the real challenge and here we are too often left on our own. This essay is The School of Life’s guide to the rest of a life together, containing twenty central ideas on how to make a relationship work over decades
  • You Are Not What You Earn

    A fundamental belief of the modern world, which explains a lot of our anxiety around failure, is that we are what we earn. When we say this, we mean something very particular: not just that it’s nice to have a lot of money but that our income is the source of information, crucial, decisive information, about our character, our intelligence, our moral fibre: in short, money is the key indicator of our worth in human and not just financial terms. The more money
  • Countries for Losers; Countries for Winners

    We all, naturally, want to be winners. And so, consequently, a great many countries are designed to reward winners. These are the countries that pay a good deal of attention to optimising the conditions of life available to people who win. In such lands, if one is a winner and falls ill, the hospitals are outstanding: The transport laid on for winners is superlative: The housing for winners is spacious, light and uplifting: And winner
  • The Pleasure of Reading Together in Bed

    A bedroom at around 9pm. It’s quiet, save for the rustle of the leaves in the garden outside. We’re side by side, each absorbed in a different world. One of us might be in a submarine beneath the arctic ice floe, the other is flitting through the salons of 18th-century Paris. Every so often our toes touch momentarily but without raising notice. We might briefly stretch a hand to touch the nape of the partner’s neck before turning a page. We can hear our
  • The Advantages of Staying at Home

    Lying in bed late at night or waiting at the platform for the commuter train home, we often daydream about where it would be so much nicer to be: perhaps the beaches of Goa on India’s west coast, a little restaurant by a quiet canal in Venice, the highway near Big Sur in California or maybe the Faroe islands, far to the north of Scotland. The desire to travel is, almost always, sparked by a picture or two: a couple of mental snapshots that encapsulate all that
  • The Art of Listening

    Many of us probably have a nagging feeling that we don’t listen enough to other people. Here we’re not going to make the guilt worse by telling you that listening is a good thing, worthy but in fact rather dull. We’re going to show you that listening to others is first and foremost an interesting thing to do, something that could be as pleasurable for you as it is for your speaking companion. And as a result, we try to minimise how much we’refun2

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