Engineer your path to joy using Mo Gawdat’s equation for continuous happiness. We all agree that there is an art of happiness – for the favoured few. But is there a science of happiness, available to all? Mo Gawdat believes he has found the equation for being happy. Gawdat is Chief Business Officer at Google’s X Lab, part of an elite team working on new technology to solve global issues in a spirit of free collaboration. ‘Solve for X’ is their daily challenge and ‘X’ the remedy. His gifts as a serial entrepreneur brought wealth and something else: the discovery that he was unhappy. Was success the cause? No, though it is often the catalyst. Was he alone? No. In advanced societies happiness is the scarcest of resources. So he attacked the problem with gusto and an engineer’s discipline, applying logic to facts. The process took years – and yielded an algorithm for happiness. He had solved for happy. Then tragedy struck. In 2013 his college-age son died during routine surgery. Gawdat’s equation was put to its ultimate test. It survived, and saved his family from despair. He had found his mission: to help everyone to the same solution. We are all born happy – it is our default setting. Unhappiness is a faulty mechanism, a feeling caused by a fault. Our brains are hard-wired to do our bidding, so why are they so non-compliant when it comes to happiness? Because they filter the truth about the world, telling us that time is future and past, whereas it is present; that death does not exist, whereas it does; that we must control our destinies, rather than explore our possibilities. That we should fear when there is nothing to fear. Solve for Happy is a personal story combined with a devastatingly clear analysis of what we are looking for, and how to find it – not just intermittently but as a continuous state of being. Read more.
Following his sold-out talk last May on Oratory, David Crystal is back with an unmissable talk on how language works. Focusing on the most simple, unassuming, innocent-looking verb – to be, he will show how it is jam-packed with more different meanings, forms, and uses than any other English word. In The Story Of Be, David Crystal will takes us through 26 of the verb’s incarnations, and in doing so, show us how our flexible and changing language works. Bringing the story to life will be a host of examples from sources as varied as Beowulf, Jane Austen, pantomime, Hamlet (of course), and Star Wars, plus twenty cartoons from Ed McLachlan and Punch. Read more.