Time and How To Spend It

Hello! My name’s James.

I wrote Time And How To Spend It.

After my last book Stuffocation came out, people kept asking me:

‘So, James, if it’s better to spend on experiences rather than stuff, what sort of experiences should I spend my money and time on?’

I had an opinion, but I didn’t know the answer.

So I went looking… digging around, hoping to find clues and answers. I read books, articles, science papers. I talked with people far smarter than me: psychologists and economists and sociologists. I came across old ideas whose importance had been missed, and new discoveries that really ought to be shared. I walked around my local park thinking, trying to piece it all together. There was so much, at first, it felt like a big foggy mess.

But after some time, the fog started to lift, and I started to figure out a way to take all these insights and turn them into something practical, into something people like you and me can use in our lives. The result of that work is in Time And How To Spend It.

Time And How To Spend It contains a 7-rule checklist, each backed by discoveries made by historians, psychologists, economists, anthropologists… I’ve gathered and filtered their work into a nuanced set of inspiring ideas that, if you apply them to your life — to your weekends, holidays, and all the days of your life — you will be happier and more successful. (It isn’t just me saying that: that’s what the science says.)

I use the ideas. My copy of the book is peppered with turn-downs and turn-ups and scribbles and notes. I have STORIES written on my kitchen wall to remind me and my family that if we follow these principles we’ll have richer, happier days. I hope you’ll get a copy and use the ideas in your life. And then it would be great if you’d share with me how it’s working for you…

But enough enthusiasm already! This is supposed to be the ‘About the author’ page…

So, a bit more about me:

I love learning things, so I’ve been to university three times. Oxford, for a classics degree: Aristotle, Homer, Catullus, et al. The University of the Arts London, for a masters in journalism. Then, most recently, Cambridge, to the Judge Business School, for a post-grad diploma in entrepreneurship. (I failed at a startup a few years back, and I’m determined to have another go. In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s about experiences).

What else? I have an awesome family. A beautiful wife studying to be an actress. Two kids, India-May (7) and Woody (5). Indy-May’s just learned to ride her bike. Woody’s a demon on a scooter. They’re both little monkeys when it comes to climbing trees in our local park. We live in London.

I’ve lived other places too. In Palo Alto, California, where I worked at PARC, the Palo Alto Research Center. In France, where I was a ski guide in Alpe d’Huez and Courchevel. In Greece, Rhodes, where I was a holiday rep.

I’ve also worked in advertising, planning and selling space. I run a boutique (ha! read: small) forecasting firm named The Future Is Here. We write white papers and give keynotes and workshops to help firms understand the future. Clients include KPMG, HSBC, IDEO, and Facebook.

In my spare time, I like camping (wild and not so wild), climbing (walls and trees). I aspire to surf (but nowadays do it rarely and badly). I support Tottenham Hotspur (but not as ardently as my big brother). I can’t play the guitar (but I’ll get there one day).

I like reading, especially Tom Wolfe, Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell, Charles Dickens, Charlie Brooker, Laurie Lee, and PJ O’Rourke.

Many people have the feeling that they aren’t taking a big enough bite out of life. If you’re one of those people, you’re likely to find the perfect antidote in this easy-to-read tour of much of the academic literature on happiness and well-being. Follow the concrete steps Wallman has laid out and you’re likely to be much more satisfied with how you’re spending your time.
— Tom Gilovich, Professor of Psychology, Cornell University
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