Viewing entries posted in October 2011
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,...
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
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...
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,
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
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...