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CfB Bureau

Theodore Zeldin has been named ‘one of the forty world figures whose ideas are likely to have a lasting relevance to the new millennium’ (Independent on Sunday). His books Conversations and An Intimate History of Humanity are international bestsellers.

He has won the Wolfson Prize for history, been elected to the British Academy and the European Academy and been awarded the CBE. He is an Emeritus Fellow of St Antony’s College and an Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College in Oxford.

Now, Zeldin's Hidden Pleasures of Life has been nominated for the Transmission Prize. In its fourth year, Salon London's Transmission Prize rewards writers, speakers, scientists, philosophers and activists for their ideas and the way they communicate them.

The Indian edition of The Hidden Pleasures... is a lovely paperback. It's a brilliantly written, cosmopolitan, accessible book that speaks about the human condition and life today with wit, wisdom and intelligence and draws on histories and stories from across the world to illustrate its points.

What new priorities can people give to their private lives?

How can one escape from work colleagues who are bores and from organisations that thrive on stress?

When the romantic ideal is disappointing, how else can affections be cultivated?

If only a few can become rich, what substitute is there for dropping out?

If religions and nations disagree, what other outcomes are possible beyond strife or doubt?

Where there is too little freedom, what is the alternative to rebellion?

When so much is unpredictable, what can replace ambition?

These are some of the questions asked and answered in this book by one of the world’s most famous, original, and idiosyncratic historians. Deploying examples from the whole history of human civilization—ranging from China and India to Europe and the Americas—Professor Zeldin comes up with some of the most fascinating insights and answers about the meaning of life and how to live it in the modern world.

The Hidden Pleasures of Life | Theodore Zeldin | Permanent Black | 2015 | Paperback | Rs 595.00 | For sale in South Asia only

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