The New Republic has a cover story by eminent social historian Deirdre McCloskey warning of the dangers of Happyism, or ‘the creepy new economics of pleasure’. The piece shows American culture beginning to engage more deeply with the politics of well-being – there have also been excellent articles recently in The Atlantic and I wrote Read more…

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The latest figures that 168,000 people became self-employed in the UK this year, which is a record. This is the story of how I unwillingly became self-employed, and learnt to love it. Back in 2007, I persuaded my employer, a financial magazine called Euromoney, to send me to Russia to be their first full-time Moscow Read more…

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I once considered writing a brief, Christmas-stocking-filler book called A Complete Guide to Human Folly (Abridged). It would have been a sort of ‘little book of stupid’ compendium of the main cognitive biases that humans are prone to, with examples taken from contemporary politics and media. Alas, the complete, unabridged guide to human folly has Read more…

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I saw Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, in conversation with Lord Richard Layard at the LSE this evening. I’ll write a longer piece this Friday, but it was interesting to note his take on whether and how governments can measure well-being. He was effusively introduced by Layard as ‘the leader of the well-being movement’, Read more…

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David Eagleman is the author of one of my favourite books of the last few years: Sum, which imagines 40 different versions of the after-life. You know how book-reviewers say ‘I couldn’t put it down’, well, Sum is the opposite sort of book. It keeps on sparking reveries in you, that make you put the Read more…

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