chapter 3. Relationships

How To Handle the Desire for Affairs?

In a better world, affairs wouldn’t continuously threaten those with monogamous aspirations. Couples would quickly recognise when emotional disconnection was building up between them; they would take direct, timely steps to…

chapter 3. Relationships

How To Have Fewer Bitter Arguments in Love

There are couples that seem never to argue. Their relationships are marked by enormous outward politeness; they say thank you a lot; they make each other cups of tea; they can…

chapter 5. Culture

Why We Argue in Paradise

We’re in paradise: a beachfront hotel on a tropical island; a charming cottage in a tranquil valley, a luxurious hotel in a historic city. Our spirits stand to be soothed by…

chapter 4. Self

How to Lengthen Your Life

The normal way we set about trying to extend our lives is by striving to add more years to them – usually by eating more couscous and broccoli, going to bed…

chapter 5. Culture

The Importance of Architecture

In an odd but quietly very important way, works of architecture ‘speak’ to us. Some buildings, streets and even whole cities seem to speak of chaos, aggression or military pride; others…

chapter 1. Capitalism

The Secret Sorrows of Over-Achievers

It’s often hard not to feel envious of them – as they ascend the stage to collect another prize, float their start-up company, are promoted a decade ahead of their peers…

chapter 2. Work

In Praise of Teamwork

We are, each one of us, severely limited creatures. We can only ever get good at a few things, we can only apply ourselves properly for a certain number of hours…

chapter 4. Self

The Consolations of History

Some extremely worrying things are, as always, happening in the world. However bad it is, we are surrounded by an industry that has to scare us. What we call the news…

chapter 4. Self

Why We May Be Angry Rather Than Sad

We are sometimes swept away by a mood of sadness that seems to have no cause. We wake up dispirited and listless. We lack energy and direction. Everything loses its taste…

chapter 6. Curriculum

Le Corbusier

If the idea of being a ‘modern’ person and leading a ‘modern’ life still has an exciting ring to it, it’s at least in part down to the influence of an…

chapter 4. Self

Why Our Best Thoughts Come To Us in the Shower

We might suppose that the best place to think would be a large room with a big desk, plenty of natural light and a window with a view – perhaps onto water…

chapter 1. Capitalism

On Changing the World

The world needs to be changed in many urgent ways: the great question is how this change might best occur. The Romantic view is that the world is sick because of…

chapter 5. Culture

Two World Views: Romantic and Classical

Romantic Romanticism is a movement of art and ideas that began in Europe in the mid eighteenth century and has now taken over the world. It is hard to go far…

chapter 6. Curriculum

Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer was a German 19th-century philosopher, who deserves to be remembered today for the insights contained in his great work: The World as Will and Representation. Schopenhauer was the first…

chapter 4. Self

Calm

Introduction 1. We have unfortunate tendencies to look at agitation as something quasi-physical, as a bodily emanation and therefore as best addressed via physical mechanisms: baths, teas or walks. 2. But…

chapter 2. Work

How to Become an Entrepreneur

Starting one’s own business is one of the most creative, meaningful and practically sensible things one could ever do with one’s life. Yet few of us ever get close to giving…

chapter 1. Capitalism

How the Modern World Makes Us Mentally Ill

The modern world is wonderful in many ways (dentistry is good, cars are reliable, we can so easily keep in touch from Mexico with our grandmother in Scotland) – but it’s…

chapter 6. Curriculum

Blaise Pascal

It is still, tragically, sometimes assumed that the best way to cheer someone up is to tell them that everything will turn out all right; to intimate that life is essentially…