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Viewing entries posted in October 2011


This is for You: We All Need Words on Dedications and Acknowledgements.

When I was five, I lied. I told friends at my primary school that an author had dedicated a book to me. In print. And everything. This white lie got me in a bit of hot water. Bring it in and show us then,...
Posted by We All Need Words

Dying of Nostalgia; Thomas Dixon Explores Homesickness

Dr Thomas Dixon, writer of the excellent History of Emotions blog, recently interviewed Professor of History at Weber State University, and a leading historian of emotions in the United States, Susan J. Matt. Her first book, Keeping Up With the Joneses, was a study of envy in modern...
Posted by Thomas Dixon

Jules Evans interviews Stephen Greenblatt on Lucretius

When he was a student at Yale University, Stephen Greenblatt wandered to the local bookstore to pick up some holiday reading, and his eye was caught by a strange-looking book with a painting by Max Ernst on the cover, showing disembodied torsos copulating in...
Posted by Jules Evans

Smells like... the Future

In recent years our concern for smell has become heightened helped by smoking bans, and air pollution. It's perhaps not surprising that we've also seen an increasing obsession with managing our own personal impressions, through the use of deodorants, air fresheners, perfumes, car fragrances, clothes...
Posted by Morgaine Gaye

David Baker on Reflecting on Death

Last Saturday was the Jewish Day of Atonement. For 24 hours, from sunset to sunset, we neither eat nor drink, we don't wear leather (a sign of comfort and luxury), and we don't wash or bathe. Synagogues are full many non-observant Jews attend on...
Posted by David Baker

Oliver Burkeman on Self-Improvement and the Law of Reversed Effort

We've grown accustomed, in recent years, to news stories and psychological studies purporting to show that happiness isn't all we might have imagined it to be. Increased economic growth doesn't seem to lead, in any reliable way, to happier societies. More choice often makes...
Posted by Oliver Burkeman

Roman Krznaric on How to be a Muslim, a Hindu, a Christian and a Jew

There is an intriguing thesis at the heart of Steven Pinker's new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature. The Harvard psychologist argues contrary to popular opinion that humankind has become progressively less violent over the past few thousand years. We might feel surrounded...
Posted by Roman Krznaric
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Wellbeing on Campus

According to the popular image, most students indulge in years of hedonism capped by raucous post-exam celebrations a privileged minority enjoying the best days of their lives. No doubt there is some truth to this caricature, but a recent report from the Royal College...
Posted by Ben Irvine

We All Need Words on Status (update) Anxiety

Rob is sipping prosecco and munching crostini in Tuscany. Molly ran 10km in a new record time. Rob has booked a boutique hotel in Baja California. Molly bought some shoes half price in Selfridges.  Rob loves his job. About now...
Posted by We All Need Words

Not Just a Talking Shop

People often say, after a class at The School of Life, that they weren't expecting to enjoy talking so much, and especially not to complete strangers.  Perhaps there is a freedom there, they muse; no past, no baggage, just the meeting of curious minds.  I...
Posted by Hugo Whately

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