Here’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…)
There’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… Continue reading
In 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.
The Ancient Greeks would have considered us modern creatures incredibly unsophisticated in the way we talk about love. We tend to use a single word to cover so many different kinds of relationships and emotions. On Valentine’s Day you may well whisper ‘I love you’ to your soulmate over a candlelit meal, but then the next morning casually sign an email ‘lots of love’. The Greeks would have been shocked at the crudeness of our expression, because they identified six different varieties of love. What were the Greek loves? And how might they revolutionise the way we think about love today? Find out in this video on The Six Varieties of Love, which is based on the chapter on love in my book The Wonderbox. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Here’s a new podcast from the rather wonderful Aeon Magazine, in which philosopher Jules Evans explores the theme of empathy. I kick off by talking about the history of empathy, tracing the concept from Adam Smith’s ideas in the 18th century and through developments in child psychology over the past hundred years. Then comes Maria Konnikova, who makes the case that Sherlock Holmes was a master of the art of empathy, based on her new book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. Finally there is novelist Tobias Jones, who discusses his attempts to create an empathic community at his home in Somerset.
Do you want to break free and pursue new career ambitions? Then take a look at my 12-Step Guide to Career Change in 2013, which appears in today’s Guardian newspaper.
What do Mr Spock, Che Guevara and Gandhi have in common? They all appear in my new RSA Animate, The Power of Outrospection, about how empathy can create radical social change.
If you want to know more about my ideas on empathy, a good place to start is my book Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It.
I was recently interviewed by philosopher Jules Evans, author of the bestselling Philosophy for Life: And Other Dangerous Situations, as part of his project on the rise of the practical philosophy movement. The interview originally appeared on his website. Here it is in full.
Roman Krznaric is the author of two popular books that came out this year – The Wonderbox: Curious histories of how to live and How to Find Fulfilling Work – and is also one of the founding faculty members of The School of Life, which teaches the art of living to its clientele. He talked to me about his work in the past with Theodore Zeldin, how The School of Life came to be, and how the practical philosophy movement can do more than offer lifestyle tips, and might even help to tackle the great problems of the age.
Would you say there is such a thing as a ‘practical philosophy movement’?
Yes, though it’s a very broad movement. What’s happened is that over the last 20 years there’s been a revolutionary rise of interest in the question of how to live. And that question has taken a practical focus in many ways, through philosophy clubs and organisations like the School of Life and Oxford Muse. Continue reading
I recently had the great privilege and pleasure of interviewing Brené Brown, one of the world’s most original and exciting thinkers about emotional life, before a packed audience at London’s historic Conway Hall. It was no surprise that the event, organised by The School of Life, sold out its five hundred tickets within a record time of 48 hours. Brené – a research professor at the University of Houston – is seriously popular. Her 2010 TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability has been seen by over six million people, and her new book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, is at the top of the New York Times best-sellers chart.
To give you a taste of her book, and the conversation we had, I’d like to pick out five of Brené’s ideas that I find to be particularly insightful, original and applicable to everyday life. Continue reading