How do you…fill your days?’ My editor was looking at me with a hint of concern, in a cafe on Portland Street. She was worried I was losing my edge. It had been almost a year since my first book had come out, and still I hadn’t started working on another. Well, I thought to Read more…

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I had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan Haidt on Monday at the RSA. Haidt, as you all know, wrote The Happiness Hypothesis, which really inspired me. I gave him a copy of my new book, so if you see it in a bin near the Strand, it’s yours! Haidt’s own new book is called The Read more…

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Why does music move us? Why can it make us feel so alive, so human? Yesterday morning, I woke up very early, as the birds were beginning to sing. It was the day we had to move out of the house we moved into just a year ago – the landlady had decided to sell Read more…

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Alain De Botton had a nice column in the FT last week on the usefulness of pessimism for getting us through the day. He writes: It is time to recognise how odd and counter-productive is the optimism on which we have grown up. For the last 200 years, despite occasional shocks, the western world has Read more…

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I am reading Anthony Powell’s woolly mammoth of a novel, Dance to the Music of Time, which some people adore and others don’t. I remember hearing of some old literary gent, it might have been John Julius Norwich, who re-reads the entire 2,0000-page book every year, such is their veneration for it. The book has Read more…

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