Why loneliness is so desperate

Working at Age UK it’s impossible to escape the topic of loneliness.

It affects upwards of 1m older people in the UK and is practically invisible to most of us.

I came across this piece by Judith Shulevitz from 2013 talking about “The Lethality of Loneliness” and – specifically – why loneliness is so damaging:

“Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancerβ€”tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.”

There are things that can be done, but it’s tough. Lonely people are – by their very nature – hard to find and identify.

– If you want to find out more about the issue or help someone who may be affected head to www.ageuk.org.uk/loneliness

The ultimate tests of being rich and smart

John Waters
I was listening to an episode of the excellent Radio 4 series A Good Read recently, featuring Kathy Burke and Tom Allen.

Allen chose a book by the film director John Waters – Role Models – and during the ensuing discussion mentioned the following quote, which for me hits the nail on the head.

“Being rich is not about how much money you have or how many homes you own; it’s the freedom to buy any book you want without looking at the price and wondering if you can afford it.”

I’ve found myself buying and reading books more voraciously this year than ever before – partly because I want to keep learning and I’d prefer to get a book over a new item of clothing or some other less useful thing.

This quote from Charlie Munger – Warren Buffett’s right-hand man – is also a mantra I take to heart.

“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”

So do yourself a favour and go and buy a book and start reading today.

Why ‘strong and stable’ is an irritating, yet clever, strategy

Strong and stable sheep
If you have any interest in the current General Election – and are on the left-side of the debate – the relentless repetition of the phrase ‘strong and stable’ by Theresa May won’t have escaped your notice.

And yet the latest research from polling giants YouGov show that only 15% of Brits have so far heard the phrase.

This is not a surprise because the election campaign is still in its early days, and you can guarantee that the phrase will continue to be used at every possible opportunity.

Why? Simply, because that what’s all good strategies involve. Endless repetition. Continue reading