Summer Reading: The School of Life

First I shared books for independent learning and the novels of Max Barry and today we delve into the books from The School of Life.  

Co-founded by one of my favorite authors, philosopher Alain de Botton:

The School of Life is a cultural enterprise offering good ideas for everyday life. We are based in Central London where we offer a variety of programmes and services concerned with how to live wisely and well. We address such questions as why work is often unfulfilling, why relationships can be so challenging, why it’s ever harder to stay calm and what one could do to try to change the world for the better.
The School of Life is a place to step back and think intelligently about these and other concerns. You will not be cornered by any dogma, but directed towards a variety of ideas - from philosophy to literature, psychology to the visual arts – that tickle, exercise and expand your mind. You’ll meet other curious, sociable and open-minded people in an atmosphere of exploration and enjoyment.

 

 

How to Change the World
By John-Paul Flintoff

We all want to live in a better world, but sometimes it feels that we lack the ability or influence to make a difference. John-Paul Flintoff offers a powerful reminder that through the generations, society has been transformed by the actions of individuals who understood that if they didn't like something, they could change it. Combining fresh new insights from history, politics and modern culture, this book will give you a sense of what might just be possible, as well as the inspiration and the courage you need to go about improving and changing the world we live in.

 

An Economist Best Book of the Year

Everyone accepts the importance of physical health; isn’t it just as important to aim for the mental equivalent? Philippa Perry has come to the rescue with How to Stay Sane -- a maintenance manual for the mind.

Years of working as a psychotherapist showed Philippa Perry what approaches produced positive change in her clients and how best to maintain good mental health. In How to Stay Sane, she has taken these principles and applied them to self-help. Using ideas from neuroscience and sound psychological theory, she shows us how to better understand ourselves. Her idea is that if we know how our minds form and develop, we are less at the mercy of unknown unconscious processes. In this way, we can learn to be the master of our feelings and not their slave.

This is a smart, pithy, readable book that everyone with even a passing interest in their psychological health will find useful.

 

Our world is, increasingly, a digital one. Over half of the planet's adult population now spend more of their waking hours 'plugged in' than not, whether to the internet, mobile telephony, or other digital media. To email, text, tweet and blog our way through our careers, relationships and even our family lives is now the status quo. But what effect is this need for constant connection really having? For the first time, Tom Chatfield examines what our wired life is really doing to our minds and our culture - and offers practical advice on how we can hope to prosper in a digital century.

 

We don’t think too much about sex; we’re merely thinking about it in the wrong way.

So asserts Alain de Botton in this rigorous and supremely honest book designed to help us navigate the intimate and exciting---yet often confusing and difficult---experience that is sex. Few of us tend to feel we’re entirely normal when it comes to sex, and what we’re supposed to be feeling rarely matches up with the reality. This book argues that twenty-first-century sex is ultimately fated to be a balancing act between love and desire, and adventure and commitment. Covering topics that include lust, fetishism, adultery, and pornography, Alain de Botton frankly articulates the dilemmas of modern sexuality, offering insights and consolation to help us think more deeply and wisely about the sex we are, or aren’t, having.

Our relationship with money is one that lasts a lifetime. It can be as important as family life, as competitive as work, and as exciting and secretive as love. Yet books about money tend to take one of two routes: a) how to get more, or b) how to deal with less. This book turns these questions upside down, and looks not at money itself, but at the way we view it. How does money drive us? How does it frighten us? And how can it help us make sense of who we are? Money is too important a part of life for us not to worry about, but by approaching it differently, we can change the way we perceive its worth. With surprising and enlightening new insights, How to Worry Less About Money will help you realise what material wealth really means.

A practical and inspirational guide to examining your career and deciding whether it truly makes you happy—this book will show you the steps it takes to find a job that truly makes you thrive. 

The desire for fulfilling work is one of the great aspirations of our age. This book reveals explores the competing claims we face for money, status, and meaning in our lives. Drawing on wisdom from a variety of disciplines, cultural thinker Roman Krznaric sets out a practical guide to negotiating the labyrinth of choices, overcoming fear of change, and finding a career in which you thrive. Overturning a century of traditional thought about career change, Krznaric reveals just what it takes to find life-enhancing work.

The School of Life is dedicated to exploring life’s big questions: How can we fulfill our potential? Can work be inspiring? Why does community matter? Can relationships last a lifetime? We don't have all the answers, but we will direct you toward a variety of useful ideas—from philosophy to literature, psychology to the visual arts—that are guaranteed to stimulate, provoke, nourish, and console.

 

 

Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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