Sunday, January 20, 2013

The School of Life (and I)

I first noticed the School of Life years ago, after philosopher and author Mark Vernon wrote of his involvement.

I discovered it was the brainchild of essayist and broadcaster Alain de Botton, recently profiled in The Age. The basic idea is as it sounds: a school, not simply for vocational or speculative knowledge, but for life.

This does not replace the university--as I've argued in The Australian, it is tough for any institution to match the university's combination of research and teaching.

The School of Life complements university education, by combining good ideas with attentive conversation and practical suggestions. It is overtly and unashamedly about making tangible change to the lives of individuals.

Some call it a burpee; I call
it 'research'
I was chuffed to be invited to write a new book for Pan Macmillan's The School of Life series, now published internationally. They include de Botton's How to Think More About Sex.

My book will be on exercise. More specifically, on how running, climbing, swimming and other exercises can be mentally rewarding; how exercise is for whole people, not just for limbs and organs.

The School of Life is also coming to Australia, which is exciting. I'm one of the founding faculty of the new school, which opens in Melbourne this month.

I'm hosting an Epicurean feast in February, and philosophical gardening in March. If you're into food and conversation, or getting your fingernails loamy (if only in pot-plants), do come along.

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