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The Great Artists: Cy Twombly

Abstract art continues to provoke annoyance and confusion in equal measure. You know the kind of thing: a large empty white canvas, with a solitary deep black line down the middle. A splodge of purple paint against a yellow background. Ten steel beams arranged...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
what stands in the way blog

Use Obstacles Against Themselves

Wise men are able to make a fitting use even of their enmities. —Plutarch I recently did an event at the School of Life titled What Stands in the Way becomes the Way. The event focused on how to channel Stoic principles into modern life,...
Posted by Ryan Holiday
david baker

A Summer School Rebellion

There’s something very special about the five-day intensive Summer School, something that makes it much more than a week of some very good The School of Life classes. And, when I teach it, both here in the UK and, as we have been doing...
Posted by David Baker

Why you should stop taking pictures on your phone – and learn to draw

Whenever something looks interesting or beautiful, there’s a natural impulse to want to capture and preserve it – which means, in this day and age, that we’re likely to reach for our phones to take a picture. Though this would seem to be an...
Posted by The Philosophers' Mail
Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant - Ladybird

Next Thursday 15 May we are thrilled to be joined by Natalie Merchant, in an evening of music and conversation with Alain de Botton.  Natalie's career began when, as a college student, she joined the seminal alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. She left the group in...
Posted by The School of Life
mary anne

Mary Anne Hobbs' Playlist for Life

To celebrate her upcoming Sunday Sermon 'A DJ Saved My Life', we asked Mary Anne Hobbs to give us a playlist of the songs that shaped her. It shows off her eclectic tastes, covering everything from hip hop to techno to jazz.  Click here...
Posted by Mary Anne Hobbs

Five Things I Learnt from John Peel

1. Respond honestly to what you really love When punk emerged in the mid-70s, the whole fabric of John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 programme changed overnight. He abandoned epic 25-minute Prog-Rock overtures made by men in embroidered capes, and gave over all of his...
Posted by Mary Anne Hobbs
teen reading

Dear Bibliotherapist: Holiday Reading for Teenagers

Dear Bibliotherapist, My teens never seem to read at the moment – they are always on their i-pads, or phones, but it’s hard to sit them down with a good book. Do you have any good recommendations that might hook them in? Yours, Frustrated Mother. Dear...
Posted by Ella Berthoud

The Creative Brain

As Muhammed Ali entered the ring to face George Foreman before their epic 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" fight, he noticed that the humid Zaire air had slightly loosened the tension in the ropes around the boxing ring. In that instant Ali came up...
Posted by Dr Ben Martynoga
Imrpovisation with John Paul Flintoff

Anything Becomes Possible

When you are able to improvise, almost anything becomes possible. I really believe that - and just as I was planning to write this blog post I was handed a wonderful example of improvisation actually saving people's lives. But what do I mean by...
Posted by John-Paul Flintoff

Sonic Experiments

I'm currently sitting my living room, working, with the balcony door open. There is no music on, but there is a lot of sound. There's a long, underlying wash of distant traffic, and differently-pitched drones of motorbikes and cars close by, which swell and...
Posted by Kerry Andrew

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