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  1. June 20, 2014

    Should we travel?

    The Sage René Descartes was a famously clever chap. Yet it wasn’t until he left his native France that he realised that...

  2. Business Blog

    March 12, 2014

    No need for a TED talk - three videos on making decisions, reading minds and motivation

    Delivering a TED talk has been a passport to fame for an elite band of academics. According to an FT book review at the...

  1. January 24, 2014

    Do we need to focus?

     The Shrink If you’ve ever done mindfulness of breathing meditation you’ll know that, when you try to focus on your breath,...

  2. January 24, 2014

    ‘The Virtues of the Table’, by Julian Baggini

    The Virtues of the Table: How to Eat and Think, by Julian Baggini, Granta, RRP£14.99, 320 pages Surely it’s not quite...

  3. August 23, 2013

    Shrink & Sage: Is gratification better delayed?

    The Shrink Delayed gratification has enjoyed an excellent reputation ever since the “marshmallow” study in the 1970s. This...

  4. May 17, 2013

    Criminal minds

    The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime, by Adrian Raine, Allen Lane RRP£25 / Pantheon RRP$35, 496 pages What...

  5. April 5, 2013

    Should we nurture our inner child?

    The Shrink Many of us will have had the experience of throwing a tantrum that in retrospect seems embarrassingly childish....

  6. March 22, 2013

    The Shrink & The Sage: Is it our fault?

    The Shrink A common source of suffering and distress is blaming oneself for bad outcomes that one has unwittingly...

  7. January 25, 2013

    Can we have too much self-esteem?

    The Shrink One of the “diagnoses” that crops up most regularly in the field of counselling and psychotherapy is low...

  8. December 21, 2012

    Are men from Mars and women from Venus?

    The Shrink In the 20 years since John Gray’s Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus was published, many people have turned...

  9. November 30, 2012

    What’s so bad about comfort eating?

    The Sage I don’t know why people think comfort eating is a bad thing, since I’m not sure there’s any other kind worth doing....

  10. November 26, 2012

    Of Rotherham and racism

    Yeah I’d love to tell you all my problem. You’re not from New York City, you’re from Rotherham. (Arctic Monkeys, “Fake Tales...

  11. November 9, 2012

    The Shrink & The Sage: is love a choice?

    The Shrink To many people, love seems the antithesis of choice. It descends upon us without warning, often in unsuitable...

  12. October 19, 2012

    Is there really no place like home?

    The Shrink On a nearby street, a sticker on a VW camper van announces that “home is where you park it”. I have always liked...

  13. September 7, 2012

    Am I a failure?

    The Shrink Failure is one of the most ordinary of human experiences. Even extremely successful people fail at something some...

  14. August 31, 2012

    Is it just me?

    The Sage If I type “value judgment” into Google’s addictive Ngram viewer, I find the phrase hardly ever crops up in its...

  15. June 29, 2012

    Is modesty still a virtue?

     The Shrink What happened to good old self-deprecation, once seen as an essential British trait? It still pops up here and...

  16. June 15, 2012

    Are we addicted to addiction?

    The Sage There may be a great deal of controversy about what exactly addiction is, but few would deny that it exists. Some,...

  17. June 1, 2012

    Should we complain more or less?

     The Sage Our capacity to complain is one we should treasure, since it depends on the uniquely human capacity to distinguish...

  18. May 18, 2012

    Is a simpler life a better life?

     The Shrink What have you been up to? Just think for a moment: when catching up with a friend, how do you tend to answer...

  19. April 6, 2012

    What should we expect of others?

     The Shrink In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius wrote the following self-exhortation: “When you wake up in the morning, tell...

  20. March 30, 2012

    Memento mori

     Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilisation, by Stephen Cave, RRP Biteback £20, 320 pages Stephen...

  21. March 30, 2012

    Can procrastination be positive?

    The Sage No trains were moving at Paddington station and passengers were being advised to go to Waterloo instead and take...

  22. March 16, 2012

    Does freedom make us anxious?

     The Sage The anxious reader who posed this question attributed his own freedom primarily to a lack of financial worries....

  23. March 9, 2012

    Fight your fate

    Willpower: Rediscovering our Greatest Strength, by Roy F Baumeister and John Tierney, Allen Lane, RRP£20, 304 pages Who’s in...

  24. March 9, 2012

    Is it good to be idle?

     The Shrink Should we feel guilty when we steal furtive moments for unproductive activities such as flicking through a...

  25. February 24, 2012

    Must guilt be a burden?

     The Sage In a court of law, jurors can return one of only two verdicts: guilty or not guilty. Yet we know, surely, that in...

  26. February 17, 2012

    What does it mean to be a grown-up?

    The Sage When St Paul famously wrote “when I became a man, I put away childish things”, he neglected to specify just what...

  27. February 3, 2012

    Do we need to have a passion?

    The Shrink It is almost a cliché of our times that everyone harbours a passion which, once found, will unlock the door to...

  28. February 3, 2012

    Atheism in America

    Point, Texas (pop. 792) is not the easiest place for a single lesbian to raise her child. But neither her sexuality nor her...

  29. January 27, 2012

    Is there a right way to grieve?

    The Shrink I have lost count of the number of times I have heard that someone or other did not “grieve properly”, and that...

  30. January 6, 2012

    Is blood thicker than water?

    The Shrink Another festive season has gone. Maybe you had a blissfully happy, serene time with your family. Maybe. It is not...

  31. December 30, 2011

    Shades of green

     Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously About the Planet, by Roger Scruton, Atlantic, RRP£22, 464 pages Not so long ago,...

  32. December 2, 2011

    Is identity a trap?

    The Shrink Who are you? You might be British, a parent, a teacher, an amateur photographer and a squash player. Or a retired...

  33. November 25, 2011

    Are high standards healthy?

    The Shrink I’m sure the reader who wrote to us with this query is not alone in the dilemma he faces: “Behind the question is...

  34. November 11, 2011

    Is character destiny?

    The Sage I wonder if the reader who sent in this question realised just how richly ambiguous her three little words are?...

  35. November 4, 2011

    Must we face the truth?

    The Shrink When it comes to truth, both in therapy and in life, people tend to cluster around two main positions: either...

  36. October 21, 2011

    Is it important to work?

    The Shrink The economist Richard Layard is one of many who claim that unemployment is one of those misfortunes, like divorce...

  37. October 21, 2011

    Humanity 2.0

    What does it mean to be human? To have the capacity to ask the question, perhaps. However smart a chimp might be, none has...

  38. October 14, 2011

    Can suffering do us good?

    The Shrink It is a cornerstone of Buddhism that life is suffering. That’s not to say that life is only suffering: of course...

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