The pursuit of happiness

A few years ago, a group of eminent psychologists expressed the view that it was time that psychology changed direction and began to concentrate on what makes people happy and successful – what makes them flourish, instead of focusing on what was wrong with them – their disorders and problems. Thus was born the Positive Psychology movement. Note the word... Read More

Posted: 25 August 2007


A star in her own right

As Hillary Rodham Clinton is poised to make her historic bid to become America's first woman president, Carl Bernstein's long-awaited biography, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, is finally published. A full eight years in the making, 628 pages long, based on more than 200 interviews with friends and enemies alike, it is undoubtedly the big... Read More

Posted: 28 July 2007


Retail therapy

Why do women shop so much? Fall in love with shoes, bags, jewels and dresses that could be outdated next month? Blame evolution. In early human societies, women specialised in child rearing, "nesting" and foraging for food, while males hunted for meat and defended their territory. By necessity, women evolved to have better peripheral vision than men, enabling them to... Read More

Posted: 10 March 2007


A kind of perfection

When I was a student in University College Cork I fell in love with my husband John.   He loved the West Cork and Kerry Gaeltachts and so, of course, I learned to love them too.  The memories of the times we spent there – often driving there and back to Cork on a Saturday – came flooding back as I... Read More

Posted: 01 January 2007

Book Review

The Pursuit of Happiness: A History from the Greeks to the Present By Darrin McMahon Allen Lane

This is a very bold book indeed, setting out, as it does, to chart the evolution of western thinking on happiness over the last 2,000 years. Freud, nearly a century ago, aware of the complexity of even defining something as elusive and subjective as happiness, not to mind writing a history of the term, glumly counselled all would-be historians of... Read More

Posted: 02 September 2006

Book Review

A fad insane. Book Review. Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine by Andrew Scull

The mock-Gothic subtitle of this brilliant piece of medical scholarship - "A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine" - hardly prepares you for the almost unbelievable horrors that Andrew Scull documents within: how Dr Henry Cotton, one of the leading psychiatrists in America in the early 20th century, in his grandiose pursuit of a biological basis of mental disorders, maimed,... Read More

Posted: 14 January 2006