I love introducing practical philosophy to people of all ages and backgrounds, to explore how it can improve resilience and well-being, and help to build a culture that is values-driven, purpose-driven, and conducive to flourishing.
The workshops and talks I give introduce ideas and techniques from ancient philosophers like Socrates, Epictetus, Aristotle and the Buddha, and how they have been tested out by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Positive Psychology and behavioural economics. The content is inspired by my book Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations, which was a Times book of the year, has been published in 19 countries, and which has helped to inspire a revival of ancient Greek philosophy (particularly Stoicism) in contemporary life.
I have given talks and workshops for a number of clients, including Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Deloitte, Escape the City School, Arsenal FC, Saracens rugby club, the Civil Service, HMP Low Moss, at universities including Cambridge and Queen Mary, and at schools including Wycombe Abbey and Wellington College. And I’ve spoken at many festivals and events, including Hay-On-Wye book festival, Latitude, Wilderness, the RSA and the BBC’s Ideas Club. I’m a BBC New Generation Thinker, regularly appearing on Radio 3 and 4 (you can hear a recent Radio 4 programme I made on flourishing here). My TedX talk, ‘How philosophy saved my life‘, has over 130,000 views.
My approach brings together the best of ethical philosophy and experimental psychology, and shows how ethics and values are an important part of well-being at work. I have given talks to audiences of 400+, but also work well with small groups of 10-20 people. People really enjoy bringing in their own ideas to group discussions, rather than just being told what well-being is.
– how to spot cognitive biases and improve decision-making
– how to be resilient in adverse and complex situations
– how to practice mindfulness throughout the day
– how to let go of negative or self-destructive mind-sets
– how to articulate your definition of flourishing and turn it into habits – including shared habits in your work-culture
– how to maintain ethical integrity and authenticity in your relationships and life
– how to build a team that is empathetic, communicative and good at perspective-taking
I designed an eight-part course called Philosophies for Life, which I ran in 2014 as part of a UK-government-funded trial. I ran the course at a prison, a mental health charity, and Saracens rugby club. Feedback was very positive, with attendees showing a much improved ability to handle adversity. Attendees also reported feeling more optimistic and more socially supported. You can read about the results here, and read an article in the Telegraph about the sessions with 2015 Premiership champions Saracens (which are ongoing) here.