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LATEST ADDITIONS TO THE BOOK OF LIFE

  • Romantic vs. Classical Voters

    We’re used to dividing how people vote in elections according to the categories of right-wing and left-wing. But there might be another way of labelling an electorate that taps into something broader and deeper in human personality. We might apportion people into the camps of Romantic and Classical voters. Which might you be? Here is some of what separates these two fundamental electoral types: 1. Revolution vs. Evolution The Romantic believes that a far738px-Richard_Caton_Woodville_-_Politics_in_an_Oyster_House_-_Walters_371994
  • Business and the Ladder of Needs

    Business is focused on addressing a multitude of human needs; for everything from Jelly Babies to cardiac surgery to nuclear technology to hand soap dispensers. Because human needs are so wide ranging, and span such a multitude of different appetites and desires, it can be useful to divide these needs into three broad categories - and then even arrange them up a distinctive sort of ladder: This way of cutting up our needs signals the different parts ofimage00
  • The Entrepreneur and the Artist

    The entrepreneur is one of the key figures of the modern economy, though what an entrepreneur does is perhaps not entirely properly understood. There are certain conspicuous activities of entrepreneurship: raising capital, running factories, organizing supply chains or working out how to take existing products to new markets (how to increase sales of electric cars in Australia, for instance).   But then there’s a more private and primary first move14153691690_de6a94461d_z
  • The Duty Trap

    We start off in life being very interested in pleasure and fun. In our earliest years, we do little but hunt out situations that will amuse us, pursuing our hedonistic goals with the help of puddles, crayons, balls, teddies, computers and bits and pieces we find in the kitchen drawers. As soon as anything gets frustrating or boring, we simply give up and go in search of new sources of enjoyment - and no one appears to mind very much. Then, all of a sudden at the371997238_9f8505e976_b
  • The Perfectionist Trap

    We typically aim for a particular career because we have been deeply impressed by the exploits of the most accomplished practitioners in the field. We formulate our ambitions by admiring the beautiful structures of the architect tasked with designing the city’s new airport, or by following the intrepid trades of the wealthiest Wall Street fund manager, by reading the analyses of the acclaimed literary novelist or sampling the piquant meals in the restaurant of a14267500457_c25d5e37ba_z
  • On the Dangers of Success

    We might imagine that in an uncomplicated way, our parents (and siblings, friends and wider families) will always be pleased at our successes. After all, they were delighted when we scored highly in a spelling test at the age of 6, and so there is - apparently - no reason why they wouldn’t always be happy about our triumphs, however large or varied they might be. But this is to risk missing out on a crucial, rather secret piece of human psychology: how7945910370_8678ee1d13_z
  • Teaching and Love

    One of the most delightful and thrilling aspects of the early days of a love affair is the sense that our lover likes us not only for our obvious qualities - perhaps our looks, or our professional accomplishments - but also, and far more touchingly, for our less impressive sides: our vulnerabilities, our hesitations, our flaws. Perhaps they are particularly taken by the gap between our two front teeth which, while it wouldn’t impress an orthodontist, charms them3758989473_ac0a16a6ab_b
  • On Blushing

    One of the odd - but not particularly uncommon - things that can happen when we feel aroused and excited by the idea of getting together with someone is that we start to blush. Maybe we’ve been having dinner with a new friend. We’re getting more and more turned on. But instead of this making us feel confident and sure of ourselves - instead of easing into a polished, playful response - we find ourselves growing increasingly quiet and reserved, awkward and7324951020_cedc78d1cd_z
  • An Instruction Manual to Oneself

    Most machines of any degree of complexity are offered to us with an instruction manual, a guide to how an unfamiliar technology works, what we can expect from it, how to get the best out of it and how to interpret its signals - the assumption being that it will be so much easier and less enraging to deal with the machine when we have taken some time systematically and patiently to learn how it operates. Yet one area where we tend not to have manuals to read is8032464074_8059e067c4_z
  • Introspection

    PART I: THE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS One of the hardest things to describe or to be properly aware of is what it feels like to be inside our own minds: the second-by-second flow of images, words, feelings and sounds inside our heads that philosophers call our ‘consciousness’. All day, this consciousness is filled with a tangle of material that flashes by an observing ‘I’ so fast and in so multi-layered and dense a way, we can generally only arrest and8794440797_70597aa53e_k
  • On Being Hated

    Learning that someone hates us deeply, even though we have done nothing ostensibly to provoke them, can be one of the most alarming situations we face. Because of technology, it is also liable to happen to us more and more. In the past, our enemies were restricted to the vicinity; now they lie scattered around the digital planet. In the past, we might once have unwisely read about ourselves in another’s diary. Now we can fall prey to a repeated temptation to100817327_41e29c23fb_o
  • Good Enough is Good Enough

    High ambitions are noble and important, but there can also come a point when they become the sources of terrible trouble and unnecessary panic. One way of undercutting our more reckless ideals and perfectionism was pioneered by a British psychoanalyst called Donald Winnicott in the 1950s. Winnicott specialised in relationships between parents and children. In his clinical practice, he often met with parents who felt like failures: perhaps because their children4006862687_10fa11c477_o
  • On Taking Drugs

    It’s easy to have a pretty negative view of drugs: the news is always going on about police raids on drug dealers, kids tripping dangerously at raves, overdoses and rehab. It goes without saying: things can go horrifically wrong around drugs. But our intense awareness of the negatives is in danger of creating a misleadingly narrow view of the subject. Drugs are - at best - serious, dignified, noble and important, and we need more of them in ourPicknell_William_Lamb_The_Opium_Den_1881_Oil_on_Canvas-huge
  • The School of Life: What We Believe

      The School of Life is a global organisation with a simple mission in mind: to increase the amount of Emotional Intelligence in circulation. We are seeking more emotionally intelligent kinds of: - Relationships - Work - Leisure - Culture To further our goals, we undertake a number of activities; we run conferences, shops and classrooms worldwide, consult to businesses, write and publish books, make films, sell products and operate
  • Lego – the Movies

    Lego is a surprisingly useful medium for getting big ideas across: 1. Lego 'Philosophy' 2. Finding the 'right' one 3. No one is normal 4. Keeping going 5.  Why we love disaster news 6. Memento mori 5258089883_5b98ce066c_z
  • Andrea Palladio

    In Europe and the US, the average person spends 84% of their life indoors: that is, inside architecture. Much of the rest of the time we are around buildings, even if we’re not paying them a great deal of attention. Despite this massive exposure, on the whole we’re not – as a culture – very ambitious about what buildings look like. We tend to assume that mostly the buildings we live around won’t be anything special and that there’s nothing to be donePalladio_filtered
  • Charles Dickens  

    Charles Dickens was the most famous writer in the English language during the nineteenth century and he remains one of the best selling authors of all time. He can seem remote: the frock coat, velvet collar, the fishtail beard, bow tie… But he has a lot to say to us today. And that’s because he had a remarkable ambition: he believed writing could play a big role in fixing the problems of the world. Entertainment Dickens didn’t just write.Dickens_Gurney_head
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky

    A good trick, with his name, is to say ‘toy’ in the middle: Dos-toy-ev-ski. He was born 1821 and grew up on the outskirts of Moscow. His family were comfortably off - his father was a successful doctor, though he happened to work at a charitable hospital that provided medical services for the very poor. The family had a house in the hospital complex, so the young Dostoevsky was from the very beginning powerfully exposed to experiences from which otherTrutovsky_004

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