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The Freakonomics books have come to stand for something: challenging conventional wisdom; using data rather than emotion to answer questions; and learning to think differently about how the world works. Now Levitt and Dubner have gathered up what they’ve learned and turned it into a readable and practical toolkit for thinking smarter, harder, and different – thinking, that is, like a Freak.
The Nobel Prize-winning developmental biologist was among the first to challenge the idea that a cell’s fate was irreversibly determined. His demonstration that the nuclei of differentiated cells could be ‘reprogrammed’ has ultimately led to successful cloning of mammals, and has provided the basis for much of modern stem cell research.
Within weeks of taking office in December 1905, British Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman and his Foreign Minister Edward Grey agreed to allow the General Staff to enter into detailed talks with their French counterparts about sending an expeditionary force to France in the event of a German attack. Neither the Cabinet nor Parliament were informed…
The newspaper editor was among a group of friends who regularly met Freud for breakfast over a ten-year period. He recalls Freud’s stories of death threats, escaping the Nazis, falling out with his brother Clement, hating his mother, escaping the Krays and painting the Queen. And he recounts how Freud spoke candidly about dancing with Garbo and painting Kate Moss naked. An intimate portrait of one of the great British artists.
The Norwegian writer’s six-volume autobiographical novel My Struggle is one of the great masterpieces of contemporary literature. He discusses volume 3, Boyhood Island. ‘It’s unbelievable. I need the next volume like crack. It’s completely blown my mind.’ – Zadie Smith. He is the winner of the 2014 Hay Festival Medal for Prose.
Owen’s The Quick is a macabre gothic mystery set in Yorkshire and fin de siècle London. Sedgwick’s A Love Like Blood is a dark, compelling thriller about how a man’s life can change in a moment; about where the desire for truth – and for revenge – can lead; about love and fear and hatred. And it is also about the question of blood. They talk to Sameer Rahim.
The Baby Boom: How It Got That Way (And It Wasn’t My Fault) (And I’ll Never Do It Again)
The American satirist rips up the generation that said with a straight face, ‘We are the world’. What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding? Ask the generation responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall and their knickers. Those who put their faith in the Kyoto Accord and disco. Who dropped out of the capitalist system and popped back again in time to cause a global financial crisis.
The author of The Pain and the Privilege: The Women in Lloyd George’s Life recounts Lloyd George’s turbulent time as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1914, preparing Britain for war and discusses Britain's political, diplomatic and industrial reactions to the beginning of the Great War with the journalist John Kampfner and the historian Kenneth O Morgan, author of The Age of Lloyd George, The Oxford History of Britain, Rebirth of a Nation and the forthcoming Revolution to Devolution. Chaired by Guto Harri.
Most of us would like to be happier. Dolan defines this as experiencing more pleasure and/or purpose for longer. He describes how being happier means allocating attention more efficiently; towards those things that bring us pleasure and purpose and away from those that generate pain and pointlessness. Easier said than done, of course, and certainly easier said than thought about. But behavioural science tells us that most of what we do is not so much thought about; rather, it simply comes about. So by clever use of priming, defaults, commitments and social norms, you can become a whole lot happier without actually having to think very hard about it. You will be happier by design.
The quixotic journey of John Evans, his search for a lost tribe and how, fuelled by fantasy and (possibly) booze, he accidentally annexed a third of North America. See also event 178.
The Emeritus Professor of Politics at Oxford introduces his masterly and authoritative survey of political leadership over the last hundred years – from Churchill and Hitler to Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair – and debunks the myth that it is only the strong, single-minded leader who makes a difference. Chaired by the Labour candidate for London Mayor.
The novelist discusses his superbly controlled emotional thriller – a tale of passion, betrayal and conscience set in post-war Germany. Perfect for anyone who loved Atonement, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin or Anna Karenina.
An inspirational story of how a local Hereford girl aged 8 dared to dream big and make it onto the podium in Australia representing Team GB in rowing ten years later. It was a test of physical and mental strength.
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The Lost Gods takes up where The Sleeping Army left off, transporting us back to Francesca Simon’s brilliantly-imagined modern Norse England. Freya has been to Hel and back but the gods are looking for celebrity…