Month: October 2008

Tiger triumphant

Aravind Adiga cover detailCongratulations to Aravind Adiga for his Booker win last night for his debut novel, The White Tiger. For those of you who missed it, you can find my interview with Aravind from earlier this year here. And if you want to sample his novel, you can hear him reading from it here and here.

Adiga decorative

19. Mark Vernon on: What is wellbeing?

Mark Vernon WellbeingMark Vernon has just brought out a book on wellbeing in a new series of which he’s general editor. But this isn’t a run-of-the-mill self-help series. The series is called The Art of Living  and it’s published by independent philosophy specialist, Acumen. Their stated aim is to “open up philosophy’s riches to a wider public once again”. Consequently, authors have been asked to tackle the big question “How should we live?” in relation to a diverse selection of topics, including hunger, illness, work and sex. (You can hear my interview with Raymond Tallis on Hunger in a couple of weeks.) So the books have practical ambitions, but they’re rooted in an understanding of philosophical tradition (though this isn’t limited to the western canon).

In the interview I was keen to get Mark to tease apart wellbeing and happiness. Happiness has been the subject of many books recently, whereas we tend to think of wellbeing as more of a Sunday supplement concept that embraces getting a good night’s sleep and drinking less caffeine. So what exactly is wellbeing? Isn’t it just a low-fat version of happiness? And did writing the book make Mark think about his own life differently? Listen to the podcast and find out.