I am conscious of trying to stretch the boundaries of non-fiction writing. It's always surprised me how little attention many non-fiction writers pay to the formal aspects of their work.
I learnt to stop fantasising about the perfect job or the perfect relationship because that can actually be an excuse for not living.
The arrogance that says analysing the relationship between reasons and causes is more important than writing a philosophy of shyness or sadness or friendship drives me nuts. I can't accept that.
I assemble my ideas in pieces on a computer file, then gradually find a place for them on a piece of scaffolding I erect.
We may seek a fortune for no greater reason than to secure the respect and attention of people who would otherwise look straight through us.
I passionately believe that's it's not just what you say that counts, it's also how you say it - that the success of your argument critically depends on your manner of presenting it.
I was uncomfortable writing fiction. My love was the personal essay, rather than the novel.
Le Corbusier is an outstanding writer. His ideas achieved their impact in large measure because he could write so convincingly. His style is utterly clear, brusque, funny and polemical in the best way.
There are few more effective ways to promote tolerance between suspicious neighbours than to force them to eat supper together.
Status anxiety definitely exists at a political level. Many Iraqis were annoyed with the US essentially for reasons of status: for not showing them respect, for humiliating them.
The Arab-Israeli conflict is also in many ways a conflict about status: it's a war between two peoples who feel deeply humiliated by the other, who want the other to respect them. Battles over status can be even more intractable than those over land or water or oil.
On paper, being good sounds great but a lot depends on the atmosphere of the workplace or community we live in. We tend to become good or bad depending on the cues sent out within a particular space.
I'm also interested in the modern suggestion that you can have a combination of love and sex in a marriage - which no previous society has ever believed.
We are certainly influenced by role models, and if we are surrounded by images of beautiful rich people, we will start to think that to be beautiful and rich is very important - just as in the Middle Ages, people were surrounded by images of religious piety.
Pick up any newspaper or magazine, open the TV, and you'll be bombarded with suggestions of how to have a successful life. Some of these suggestions are deeply unhelpful to our own projects and priorities - and we should take care.
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