The School of Life’s books present insights on productivity, travel, education and staying calm
We know that our minds are capable of great things because, every now and then, they come out with a fantastic idea or two. However, our minds are also unpredictable; spending large stretches of time distracting us. How to Think More Effectively is a book about how to optimise these beautiful yet fitful parts of us so that they can more regularly and generously produce the sort of insights and ideas we need to fulfil our potential. Among other things, The School of Life discuss how to grasp fragile and flighty thoughts before they disappear through anxiety and fear; at what times of day to try to work and for how long; how to make use of boredom, and how to overcome timid and predictable approaches to the largest problems. The result is an operating manual to that most wondrous, though intermittent and always baffling, organ: the human mind.
Some businesses place a huge emphasis on technical training, yet a lot of what determines the success or failure of an organisation has nothing to do with the traditional skills taught at business school, but rather the sophisticated skills that are key to emotional maturity. The Emotionally Intelligent Office introduces twenty core emotional skills that can help businesses and individuals to flourish. They range from giving and receiving honest feedback and accepting that it’s okay to fail, to addressing jealousies and insecurities within teams. This book is informed by the practical work that the Business division of The School of Life carries out, endeavouring to change the culture within organisations around the world by teaching teams the art of emotional intelligence.
We all went to school for what felt like a very long time, taking good care of our homework while learning vaguely intriguing things about equations, the erosion of glaciers, the history of the Middle Ages and the tenses of foreign languages. But why, despite all the lessons, were we never taught the really important things that dominate and trouble our lives, such as who to start a relationship with, how to trust people, how to move on from sorrow or betrayal, and how to cope with anxiety and shame? This book is a collection of The School of Life’s most essential lessons, delivered with directness and humanity, covering topics from love to career, childhood trauma to loneliness. To read this book is to be invited to lead kinder, richer and more authentic lives – and to complete an education we began but still badly need to finish. It’s homework to help us make the most of the rest of our lives.
Going travelling is one of the few things we undertake in a direct attempt to make ourselves happy – and frequently, in fascinating ways, we fail. We get bored, cross, anxious or lonely. It isn’t surprising our societies act like satisfying travel is simply bought by handing over the right sum of money. But a satisfying journey isn’t something we can simply buy: it’s the result of an art that has to be learnt. Through a series of essays, How to Travel discusses how we should choose a place to go, what we might do when we get there, how we should make good moments stick in our minds and why hotel rooms can actually be liberating places. Included amongst these are a number of quizzes and practical exercises to help us reflect, alongside room for recording our own thoughts and observations.
Most of us long to be a little calmer, with too many days lost to agitation and worry, stress and discord. Yet we know that we are at our best when we can manage not to panic and take challenges in our stride. Too many books on this subject simply explain what it would be like to be calm, however, The School of Life’s workbook showcase the practical steps required to actually become calm. It is filled with exercises and prompts that deliver the self-understanding and self-compassion on which true serenity depends. Furthermore, the book invites us to build calming routines into our daily lives so that what we learn can stick with us and change our habits in the long term.
The School of Life