Words & Ideas

'I need a wife' It's a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it's not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It's a potent economic asset on the work front.... read more

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Mark Forsyth - author of the Sunday Times Number One bestseller The Etymologicon - reveals in this essay, specially commissioned for Independent Booksellers Week, the most valuable thin... read more

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The eternal question 'Who am I?' must be weighed against an even deeper question: 'Who are we?' We are writing each other's stories as much as we are writing our own. In his bestselling book, The Good Life, Hugh Mackay argued that k... read more

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'Missing a young girl, Dora Bruder, 15, height 1.55m, oval-shaped face, grey-brown eyes, grey sports jacket, maroon pullover, navy blue skirt and hat, brown gym shoes. All information to M. and Mme Bruder, 41 Boulevard Ornano, Paris.... read more

Winner Nobel Prize for Literature 2014

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The great crises that threaten Australia's national prosperity come from abroad. So do the grandest opportunities. But in Australian politics the big matters are commonly crowded out by the small. I... read more

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Should you finish every book you start?
How has your family influenced the way you read?
What is literary style?
How is the Nobel Prize like the World ... read more

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From the Orwell Prize shortlisted author of Freedom for Sale, The Richis the fascinating history of how economic elites from ancient Egypt to the present day have gained and spent their money. Starting... read more

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How did everything get so dumb? How did we become hostages to idiocy? What must we do to be freed from a captor whose ransom note simply reads, 'D'oh'? The deteriorating quality of our public debate and the dwindling of common se... read more

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Who else, but a writer, is really able to interrogate the work of other writers? From Christina Stead, Les Murray and Patrick White to Proust, Shakespeare and Charlotte Bronte, David Malouf reads and examines the work of writers who have ... read more

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Renowned for its unusual mammals, Australia is a land of birds that are just as unusual, just as striking, a result of the continent's tens of millions of years of isolation. Compared with birds... read more

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From the author of the novels Moth Smoke, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, here is an essential series of dispatches from the East, the West and the In Between. Divided into sections... read more

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In Mind Change, Susan Greenfield discusses the all-pervading technologies that now surround us, and from which we derive instant information, connected identity, diminished privacy and exceptionally vivid here-and-now experiences. In her v... read more

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Author: Alexander McCall Smith


Series:Writers on Writers

When facing a moral dilemma, Isabel Dalhousie - Edinburgh philosopher, amateur detective, and title character of a series of novels by best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith - often refers to the great twentieth-century poe... read more

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India is a nation of 1.2 billion, but the country's 100 richest people own assets equivalent to one-fourth of India's gross domestic product. The rest of the population are ghosts within a system beyond their control. This incl... read more

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After the publication of his novel Slaughterhouse-Five (Delacorte, 1959) brought him worldwide acclaim in 1969, Kurt Vonnegut became one of America's most popular graduation speakers. There were years when pu... read more

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A central bond, a cherished value, a unique relationship, a profound human need, a type of love. What is the nature of friendship, and what is its significance in our lives? How has friendship changed since the ancient Greeks began to anal... read more

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Over the next two years, Australians will decide if and how Aboriginal people will be recognised in the Constitution. Professor Greg Craven writes: 'We have a committed Prime Minister, and a committed opposition. We have a receptive electorate. There will never be a better time. We have no choice but to address the question.

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Why do we react so strongly to certain places? Why do layers of mythology build up around particular features in the landscape? When Philip Marsden moved to a remote creekside farmhouse in Cornwall, the intensit... read more

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A forgotten book by one of history's greatest thinkers reveals the surprising connections between happiness, virtue, fame, and fortune 'A great book. Makes you feel better about life, humanity, and yourself.' Nassim Nich... read more

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Disease - specifically infectious disease - is what eventually kills the overwhelming majority of us. In fact, it's amazing that it doesn't get us sooner: we fight off millions of disease-causing ge... read more

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