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Five Minutes with Oliver Burkeman

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Oliver Burkeman writes for the Guardian and is best known for his column which claims that it will not change your life. He won the Foreign Press Association’s Young Journalist of the Year award, and has been shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. Oliver recently published a book Help!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done.  He doesn’t claim that he will find who moved your cheese or how to get out of the box during brainstorm. He is on his quest to make us just slightly happier with the help of a simple kitchen timer. Obviously, we were curious to know more.

CBF: You’ve obviously read a mountain of self-help books in your research for this book – can you recommend one or two you consider worth the paper they’re written on and maybe (if it’s not too unprofessional) a couple you’d advise everyone to avoid.

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Help

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Help!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done By Oliver Burkeman, book reviewI’m not much of a fan of the self-help genre and I believe that most self-help books do little for their readers other than inducing a greater sense of self-loathing and diminished self-worth when those readers fail to convert themselves into better people overnight. How many copies of ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ are sitting on the shelves of friendless and uninfluential people who can’t quite remember how they ever thought something they paid a few quid for was going to change their personality overnight? I try to avoid getting sucked in – well obviously when you’re perfect already there’s not much need – but even I am prone to the odd purchase. I have more shelf-space than I care to measure devoted to various tomes on mind mapping and ‘de-junking’ my life whilst my mind remains largely terra incognita and my life is absolutely full of junk.


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