A Night of Better Conversation: Happiness

Our society is obsessed with happiness. Whole countries are ranked by a happiness index, while each of us feels like being happy isn't just something to aspire to but a duty, like eating our greens or going to the gym. Those of us who can't be happy -- or pretend to be happy -- often feel rejected by the society around us, as if melancholy isn't a natural human condition but something alien, awkward and (worst of all) contagious.

What if we've got it wrong? Are there better measures by which we can judge our lives than whether we make ourselves (and others) happy? The fact is that life is full of miseries, large and small, that are an essential, if painful, part of the human experience. This pain might not be meaningful, but is it perhaps necessary, if we are to fully experience pleasure?

In this wide-ranging and thought provoking night of conversation, we'll be drawing on the work of leading thinkers, artists and writers to reframe our obsession with happiness. We'll be saying things we've never said before and asking ourselves (and each other) some big questions. 

Namely, is the quest for true happiness making us all truly miserable?


18.30     Paramount Rooftop Opens
19.00     Welcome & Introduction
19.30     Technique 1 & conversation
20.00     Technique 2 & conversation
20.30     Technique 3 & conversation
21.00     Permission to Speak Freely
21.30     Event Concludes, Bar Open Downstairs for Continued Conversation

Buy Now

'You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.'
― Albert Camus

This event is proudly presented in partnership with Paramount Recreation Club.


 PRC Logo Black2

Paramount Recreation Club and The School of Life have a commitment to improving people's emotional and physical health. Our shared mission is to create experiences and environments where people's wellbeing can flourish.


Our lives are so often filled with superficial talk, from office chitchat to commentaries on last night's television. How can we have conversations that inspire us to think in new ways, that stimulate our curiosity and that prompt us to say things we've never said before? A Night of Better Conversation has been designed to help us enjoy rich and memorable conversations about things that really matter in life, inspired by the ideas of great thinkers and philosophers. A Night of Better Conversation is an interactive and social evening that's split in to equal parts facilitated and presented content and group conversation. Participants will be encouraged to meet and converse with as many different people as they can to explore and interact a diverse range of ideas and ways of thinking.


Myke Bartlett was born in Perth, and spent his first twenty years trying to escape. A trained journalist, Bartlett writes on politics, movies, pop culture and rock music for Australia's best-known cultural publications. His debut young adult novel Fire in the Sea won the 2011 Text Prize.

Buy tickets for
A Night of Better Conversation: Happiness


When and where:
  • Fri 7 Sep 2018 7 – 9pm
    Paramount Recreation Club, Rooftop Paramount House, 80 Commonwealth Street Surry Hills, 2010 Sydney

Buy Now



Full price: $50.00
Concession: $40.00
(+ $2 booking fee and 1.5% CC fee) 

Valid concession cards include a Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current student cards.

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers with less than 7 days cancellation notice before the original class date.

This venue is wheelchair accessible and is 18+ only. For general ticketing and box office enquiries please email sydney@theschooloflife.com.au.