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During fifteen years as a documentary-maker, Polly Morland worked as producer/director for the BBC and Channel Four, as well as for PBS and the Discovery Channel. Subjects she tackled included: the investigation of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, the reclusion of J.D. Salinger, the conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11, the economics of organised crime, the archaeology of ancient Britain, the rise of political terror groups in Europe and Latin America and a controversial history of the Bible. In a moment of courage, Morland left her job to write this book. She was awarded a Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award to support writing The Society of Timid Souls.
Author photo © John Searle
Coinciding with the terrifying height of World War Two, it was called The Society of Timid Souls. Seventy years later, as fear about everything from terrorism to economic meltdown has become part of our daily lives, Polly Morland reconvenes the society, setting out to discover what it means to be brave in an age of anxiety. Her journey - and this book - is full of amazing people and surprising ideas. It explores how and why people are brave, from battlefield to hospital ward, circus tightrope to suburban street, disaster zone to political protest. It throws light on some of the myths and lies that surround our favourite virtue. And most of all, it asks, can we learn to be brave?
Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2013. An inspiring, revelatory and often moving investigation of courage in all its forms. From frontline to skyscraper, from mountain peak to suburban street, the journey takes in philosophy, literature, propaganda and popular culture, as Morland weaves together a modern anatomy of an age-old virtue, in order to discover how a Timid Soul may become a brave one.
The world is in transition. We are in transition. Change - and the desire for change - is everywhere you look. Yet we scarcely understand change, let alone know how to pursue and steer it wisely. This book offers an intimate view of how, why and when we change. Can we make it happen when we want to? How do we deal with it when we have no choice? We are faced with political change, we find ourselves divorcing, made redundant or bereaved. We long to lose weight, to move somewhere new or to mend a bad habit. However it comes about, Polly Morland shows that change is not an event, but an evolving process at which we are far more skilled than we realise. Appealing to anyone who is stuck in a rut or who wants to think afresh about change in a turbulent world, Metamorphosis brings psychology and philosophy to life: it is about why real people change, and how our imaginations can drive that transformation.
What makes a violinist become a policeman, or a monk fall in love? How does someone lose eighteen stone in as many months? Or a follower of radical Islam turn his back on holy war? When can simply taking a new name usher in a new life? And how does a family adapt to the brain injury that changes their son or brother beyond recognition? These and other stories combine with a wealth of smart thinking from psychology, philosophy, literature and science as Polly Morland unravels the mysteries and the mechanisms of human change. Most of us would like to change something about ourselves, although all too often we feel that we can't. Yet as this book shows, change is not an event-it is a process at which we are more skilled than we realise, a story we are already good at telling. Exploring how some people harness the change that governs all our lives and then succeed in shaping it, like master storytellers, toward the happy ending of their choosing, Polly Morland shows that change is possible for us all. Appealing to that part of anyone that is stuck in a rut, Metamorphosis is about how and why real people change, and how the imagination can become the engine of our transformation too.
Wir leben in einer Gesellschaft, in der die Vermeidung von Risiko ein hohes Gut ist. Aber, Hand aufs Herz: Ware es denn so erstrebenswert, in einer Welt ganz ohne Risiken zu leben? Polly Morland nimmt uns mit auf eine Reise: In neun Geschichten uber ganz normale wie auergewohnliche Menschen, die Tag fur Tag mit Risiken leben. Die Prima Ballerina der Pariser Oper, deren Beinen nichts passieren darf; die Familie, die am Fue des Vesuvs lebt und taglich mit einem Ausbruch des Vulkans rechnen muss; oder der Fluglotse in London, der immer eine eventuelle Katastrophe im Blick hat. "e;Es ist ein Buch unserer Zeit. Mehr denn je vergessen wir, welch wichtige Rolle das intelligente Risiko fur den Fortschritt in der Menschheitsgeschichte spielt. Es geht darum, die goldene Mitte zu finden zwischen Wagemut auf der einen und Zaghaftigkeit auf der anderen Seite."e; Alain de Botton So ist, auf Anregung von Allianz Global Investors, ein lesenswertes, charmantes und unterhaltsames Buch entstanden, das uns anregt, uber das, was wir Sicherheit nennen, neu nachzudenken, und uns vielleicht sogar lehrt, uber den weisen Umgang mit Risiken ein erfullteres Leben zu fuhren.
In 1942, a pianist from Manhattan convened the inaugural meeting of an extraordinary new fraternity, which promised to inoculate stage fright sufferers against the terrors that afflicted them. The venture, which coincided with the terrifying height of World War Two, was an astonishing success. They called it The Society of Timid Souls. Seventy years later, as anxiety levels reaches pandemic proportions, courage has become a virtue in crisis. We are all Timid Souls now. So Polly Morland reconvenes the Society for a new era, and sets out on a fact-finding mission. From the woman who performed her own caesarean section, to the surfer who took on a murderous sea, by way of freedom fighters, public speakers and emergency services workers, she seeks the truth about what courage today really means and how it comes about. From frontline to skyscraper, from mountain peak to suburban street, the journey takes in philosophy, literature, propaganda and popular culture, as Morland weaves together a modern anatomy of an age-old virtue, in order to discover how a Timid Soul may become a brave one.