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  • 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
  • In Praise of Bias

    A presumption among many thoughtful people is that the great enemy of a good life and a decent world is something called ‘bias’.   By bias, people have come to understand a twisting of the facts towards dark and entirely nefarious ends. According to this interpretation, bias is invariably and necessarily bad. In some quarters, the word has simply grown synonymous with evil. In order to hate bias so much, one has to love the idea of something
  • Why We Should Keep Believing in Luck

    We don’t anymore nowadays much believe in Luck - or what was, in earlier ages, known as Fortune. We would think it extremely suspicious if someone explained that they had been sacked, but added that this was simply the result of ‘bad luck’. And we would think it equally strange if someone said they had made many millions, but ascribed their triumph to mere ‘good luck’. We resist the notion that luck can play a significant role as much in our failures as
  • The Importance of Being an Unhappy Teenager

    Being unhappy is never wholly to be recommended, but if there is any period of life in which if the mood may be justified and in certain ways important, then it is roughly between the ages of 13 and 20.   It is hard to imagine going on to have a successful or even somewhat contented next six decades if one has not been the beneficiary of a good deal of agonising introspection and intense dislocation in this span. At the root of adolescent sorrow
  • In Praise of Blushing

    For anyone with a tendency to blush, the idea that there might be something positive about going uncontrollably red in front of others can sound absurd. But however uncomfortable it may be to blush, doing so indicates a range of admirable character traits we should honour in ourselves and welcome in others. Far from a disability, blushing is a sign of virtue. It’s strong evidence that one is, almost certainly, rather a nice person. We tend to blush
  • 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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