Have you tried the six varieties of love?

We’re all pretty sophisticated when it comes to ordering a cup of coffee – do you want a latte, a cappuccino, a mocha or maybe a double espresso? But we are incredibly crude in the way we talk about love, using a single word to describe so many kinds of relationship. Those clever Ancient Greeks, though, recognised six different varieties of love.

I’ve just written an article about the six Greek loves, which you will find at Sojourners Magazine. Have a read and see if makes you rethink our culture’s obsession with the idea of romantic love.

The article is based on my new book How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life, published in the US last week. (In the UK this same book was published under the title The Wonderbox – apologies for any confusion!)

Posted in emotions, family, history, love, philosophy, psychology, religion | Leave a comment

Six Life Lessons from Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy was more than just a great novelist with one of the best beards of the nineteenth century. He was also a radical social and political thinker who was constantly grappling with the problem of how to live. I’ve just written an article about his approach to the art of living called Six Life Lessons from Leo Tolstoy, which you can find over at Powells Books Blog.

The article is based on my new book How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life, published in the US this week. (In the UK this same book was published under the title The Wonderbox – apologies for any confusion!)

Posted in belief, empathy, ethics, family, literature, love, money, philosophy, religion, simple living, work | 3 Comments

How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life

HSWL Cover finalIt’s launch day for my new book How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life, which has just been released in the US. Previously published in the UK under the title The Wonderbox (sorry, a bit confusing, I know), it’s about what history can teach us about the art of living. What might we learn from the Ancient Greeks about the different varieties of love, from the Renaissance about creativity and death, or from the industrial revolution about rethinking our attitudes to work, money and family life?

But rather than tell you all about the book myself, there’s a fascinating review and discussion of it by the brilliant Maria Popova from Brain Pickings, which came out today. She describes it (most flatteringly) as ‘an illuminating and awakening read in its entirety’. Check out her full article, which focuses on the topics of love, time and empathy.

 

Posted in belief, conversation, creativity, deathstyle, emotions, empathy, ethics, family, history, literature, love, money, nature, philosophy, politics, religion, senses, simple living, time, travel, work | Leave a comment

Can empathy help resolve violent conflicts? Mr Blair thinks so

Empathy has a reputation as a fuzzy, feel-good emotion that many people associate in some vague way with everyday kindness. So it comes as something as a surprise when major political figures start talking about it as a key to resolving violent conflicts and peace building. This was exactly the point that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair made in a recent article in the Guardian. Read More »

Posted in emotions, empathy, empathy through conversation, history, peace building, politics, public policy | 2 Comments

17 Ways to Seize the Day

carpediemdailyI’ve just finished writing a new book on empathy, due out early next year, provisionally titled Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution. In my effort to get the manuscript in on time, I’ve been neglecting answering emails and dealing with bills, and my study is piled with bits of paper that I’ve been meaning to file for months. I just came across one of those bits of paper that I’d completely forgotten about. It’s a list of 17 ideas to help you seize the day, which I prepared for a School of Life project a few years ago called Carpe Diem Daily. Read More »

Posted in conversation, creativity, emotions, empathy, family, love, mental health, money, philosophy, psychology, senses | 1 Comment

Have we all been duped by the Myers-Briggs test?

Beware personality testsINFP? ISTJ? You’ve probably taken a personality test at some point. But here’s the bad news: even the most popular tests, such as Myers-Briggs (MBTI), are not to be trusted. Retake a Myers-Briggs test after just a five week gap and there is a 50% chance you’ll be put into a different personality category. In this article at Fortune Magazine, I reveal the shocking truth about  personality tests.

Posted in emotions, mental health, psychology, science, work | 1 Comment

Four Ways to Rethink ‘Having It All’ (Without Leaning In)

sheryl-sandberg-time-magazine-coverHere’s an article I just wrote for the Wall Street Journal on the dilemmas of balancing work and family life. Is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, author of Leaning In, right to think that women can ‘have it all’ if only they really believe in themselves? My approach is not to answer the question ‘Is it possible to have it all?’ but to put it under the microscope and rethink it. (And this is an issue for men too…)

Posted in belief, family, history, money, politics, psychology, public policy, simple living, travel, work | Leave a comment

Six Ways to Stop Worrying and Find Work You Love

How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman KrznaricTo celebrate the launch of the US edition of my book How to Find Fulfilling Work, I’ve written a short essay that draws out what I think are the most important, useful and hopefully inspiring ideas within its pages. It’s called Six Ways to Stop Worrying and Find Work You Love, and is published by the good folk at YES! Magazine. Please share it around with the dissatisfied workers of the world.

There is also an excellent overview of the book at Brain Picker, the brainchild of the remarkable curator of interestingness Maria Popova.

How to Find Fulfilling Work is dedicated to the late and great oral historian Studs Terkel. Here is my tribute to him, and his extraordinary 1974 book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.

Posted in conversation, emotions, history, work | Leave a comment

The Human Zoo: The tyranny of group-don’t-think

Anthony Gormley's FieldThere’s a fascinating new BBC Radio 4 series called The Human Zoo, looking at the ins and outs of who we really are – are we led by the head or the heart? what are the quirks and qualities that drive human behaviour? Episode 4 focuses on why human beings find it so difficult to admit when they are wrong, especially when they are part of groups. I’ve contributed some thoughts to the programme on The Tyranny of Group-Don’t-Think, which you’ll find in written form below… Read More »

Posted in belief, creativity, emotions, ethics, podcasts, psychology, science, work | 2 Comments

Who Are You Trying to Impress? How to Escape Status Anxiety

RousseauIn the eighteenth century, the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau warned against ‘the universal desire for reputation’. And yet so often we seek to be admired by others, pursuing careers and lifestyles that offer the lures of social status. In this article in Psychology Today magazine, I put the idea of status under the spotlight, and ask whether we should really put so much effort into caring about it.

Posted in emotions, ethics, money, philosophy, psychology, work | Leave a comment
  • Welcome to OUTROSPECTION, my blog on empathy and the art of living. You'll find articles, interviews and news on the fundamental questions of how to live, with an emphasis on outrospection, which is about discovering who we are by stepping outside ourselves and exploring the lives of other people and cultures.

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