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The School of Life

The School of Life has just released a new series of titles dedicated to exploring and refining modern philosophies in various aspects of Western life. Following the success of the London-based school that began in 2008, The School of Life was launched in Melbourne in January 2013.

Dedicated to distilling the best ideas from the ages to enrich everyday life, The School of Life is the brainchild of writer Alain de Botton. Since 2008, more than 50,000 people have taken part in its programs and its innovative approach to lifelong learning is now globally renowned. “Australia is the most intellectually curious country on earth,” say de Botton. “Nowhere else do intellectuals and thinkers get a warmer reception. It was a natural fit. Not least, in London, we never have fewer than one Australian participant in every class. Sometimes as many as 50 per cent.”

“There has been a growing need amongst Australians to reconnect with the big issues in life, topics like love, work, creativity, money, nature and death.” says Sara Tiefenbrun, Project Director, The School of Life Australia. This hand-picked book series offers the best “How to…” for the central areas of life: work, relationships, play and love.

How to Exercise by Damon Young. A look at how and why exercise affects the way we think and feel. In How to Exercise, Damon Young answers this question by examining our modern lifestyles of new technology and expensive gym memberships, of commuter trains and air-conditioned offices.

About the author: Damon Young is an Australian philosopher, author and commentator. He is an Honourary Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Melbourne and the author of many books including Philosophy in the Garden. He lives in Melbourne with his wife, son and daughter.

How to Age by Anne Karpf. A deep and thoughtful look at what it means to age, how to do it well and why we care at all. In How to Age, Anne Karpf asks what it would mean to be ‘pro-age’. She maps out a different approach to ageing, one that challenges the attitudes that now saturate our thinking and recognises that ageing is an inevitable part of the human condition, an important process that has to be acknowledged and accepted in order for us to live our lives as fully as possible.

About the author: Anne Karpf is a writer, medical sociologist and award-winning journalist. She was a contributing editor at Cosmopolitan, wrote a column for the Guardian, she also writes for the Independent, Psychology publications and many others. A regular broadcaster with BBC Radio 4 and the author of three books, including The Human Voice.

How to Create Emotional Health by Oliver James. An examination of the role the past plays in shaping our future, and offers practical suggestions for how to overcome what’s gone before. How to Create Emotional Health is a guide to leading a more enjoyable and fulfilling life. Rather than seeking to be happy, Oliver James encourages the idea of wellbeing – a state in which we are self-aware, authentic, adaptable, vivacious and able to live in the moment.

About the Author: Oliver James trained and practised as a child clinical psychologist and, since 1988, has worked as a writer, journalist, broadcaster and television documentary producer and presenter. His books include the bestselling They F*** You Up, Affluenza and Contented Dementia.

How to Be Alone by Sara Maitland. Learn how to enjoy solitude and find happiness without others. In How to Be Alone, Sara Maitland asks how we have arrived in a culture that values individualism, personal autonomy, independence and fulfilment higher than ever before in human history – but at the same time is terrified of solitude.

About the author: Sara Maitland is a British writer and feminist. She is the author of numerous works of fiction, including the Somerset Maugham Award-winning Daughters of Jersualem an several non-fiction books about religion. Born in 1950, she studied at Oxford University and lives in Galloway.

How to Deal With Adversity by Chris Hamilton. How to cope when confronted with adversity. In How to Deal with Adversity, Christopher Hamilton explores how we face trials and tribulations in everyday life, and why adversity, from small setbacks to larger, more life-defining problems, affects and shapes us so fundamentally.

About the author: Dr Christopher Hamilton is Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Religion at King’s College London. He is the author of Middle Age, part of the Art of Living series published by Acumen Books in 2009, and Living Philosophy (Edinburgh University Press, 2001).

How to Connect with Nature by Tristan Gooley. Transform the way you view and experience the natural world. Tristan Gooley strives to reawaken our senses to help us understand and deepen our personal experience of nature, and explains how forming an understanding of the natural world – its cycles, its conflicts and its relationships – can enrich our whole lives and our sense of wellbeing.

About the author: Tristan Gooley is a writer, navigator and explorer. He is the author of The Natural Navigator and The Natural Explorer. He has written for Sunday Times, New York Times, the FT and Geographical Magazine. Tristan has led expeditions in five continents, climbed mountains in Europe, Africa and Asia, and he is the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed across the Atlantic.

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