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Suggested books on well-being

Two books this week. One that focuses on the personal and the other that offers a more global view.

“Growing young: how friendship, optimism and kindness can help you live to 100”

by Marta Zaraska

Marta Zaraska is a Polish-Canadian science journalist whose articles and books have been turned into TV programmes and reprinted around the globe. She has visited over 80 countries around the world and lived in six of them, reported from Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, India, Togo, Cameroon, and many other places and currently lives in a tiny French village with her husband and daughter

This book is a research-driven case for why optimism, kindness, and strong social networks will keep us living longer than any fitness tracker or special diet. Marta Zaraska has analysed numerous meta-analytical papers and has reached the conclusion that to live longer, the most important thing is not our diet or exercise (both are also important) but that the social aspect (friendship, kindness, empathy…) increases our possibility of living more years.

When we think about health, we usually think about diet and exercise. We think about the things we are doing for our physical body to promote wellness, but what about the things we can’t see? Relationships are a big one. Studies have shown that loneliness and social isolation are as dangerous for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! An incredible comparison, that hopefully puts into perspective how vital healthy relationships and human connection are to our well-being and longevity.

This book collects those five ways to wellbeing (connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give) that NEF (New economics foundation) proposed as the 5 daily “fruits or vegetables” that we should all incorporate into our lives.

To learn more why not listen to this podcast on the subject

The second book is entitled :

“Wellbeing, resilience and sustainability: the new trinity of governance”

by Jonathan Joseph and J. Allister McGregor

"The new trinity provides and underpinning for new universalist thinking. We are all confronted with these crises (they tend to be global in character). : we all therefore need to be resilient, we all aspire to wellbeing in some form or other and the environmental crisis we are told affects everyone , and as such, the challenge of sustainability is a challenge to us all"

Wellbeing, resilience and sustainability are three of the most popular ideas in current usage and are said to represent a much-needed paradigm shift in political and policy thinking. This book by Jonathan Joseph and J. Allister McGregor combines the personal characteristic of wellbeing (hedonic & eudaimonic), the social character of resilience, and the planetary characteristic of sustainability. It is unique in bringing the three concepts together as representing a new trinity of governance and introduces some of the commonalities between the ideas, particularly their concern with distinctive human capacities that shape who we are and that imply a particular relationship to our wider social and natural environments.

In the book it explains what is distinctive about the three ideas and why they are currently popular. In particular, how these ideas contribute to governance ‘after the crisis’, and how questions of social, political and economic uncertainty influence the ways in which these main arguments are developed.

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