This month’s Series of the Month comes courtesy of The School of Life’s range of inspirational, practical, beautifully illustrated paperbacks that explore pertinent modern-day themes in a fresh, forward-thinking style.

As with everything created under The School of Life banner – from books and apps to films and therapeutic services – the series sets out to help users learn, heal and grow through deeper self-understanding, fostering better friendships and relationships, and finding fulfilment in all aspects of life.

In keeping with that, the books in this series cover everything from 52 overlooked Small Pleasures that will bring joy and solace, to finding A Job to Love through better self-understanding, and that huge question – should we Stay or Leave a relationship? At the other end of the relationship scale, How to Get Married presents a radical rethinking of the wedding ceremony.

Without further ado, we’ll hand you over to The School of Life to share more detail.

Before we find out more about your new series, could you share what The School of Life (TSOL) is and does, and why was it founded?

Founded in 2008, The School of Life is a global publishing and therapy services company, that was founded with the goal of providing advice and teaching on life issues – relationships, work,sex and leisure – with a particular focus on emotional fulfilment and mental wellbeing. The mission is to help people lead more fulfilled lives, believing that by acquiring ever-greater self-knowledge, each individual can overcome past trauma and unlock a more emotionally mature and calmer way of life. 

Which TSOL books are proving to be perennial sellers that chime with readers’ needs?

We have found that many of our titles have resonated deeply and consistently with readers across the years. From our original Essay Books, On Confidence and Self-Knowledge, to 2021’s What They Forgot to Teach You At School. Our Workbook series has also proven particularly popular, I think partly due to the interactive nature of the content (we have titles covering Couples, Calm and Careers – with more to come). Those sit nicely alongside the best seller Who Am I?, which is a great tool to help build self-understanding.

This might be an impossible question, but could you share your top three TSOL backlist books, and tell us why we should read them?

That is difficult to answer!

The Good Enough Parent – A must read for parents of children of all ages. A parenting guide about how to raise a child who will become an authentic and mentally robust adult. There are many things to understand about how children’s minds work and what they need from those who look after them. This is a book about how to help children develop into the best version of themselves and how to be kind to yourself as a parent in the process.

Great Thinkers – A collection of some of the most important cultural ideas drawn from the works of philosophers, political theorists, sociologists, artists and novelists. It’s an interesting and compelling collection of knowledge that is informative, accessible and thought-provoking.

A Simpler Life – The world we live in is often complicated and full of noise, opinions on everything are everywhere you turn. Considering that it is no surprise how many of us long for simplicity, a life that is more pared down and peaceful. A Simpler Life helps the reader understand how to navigate the noise and focus on the essentials.

Moving now to our Series of the Month — your new range of paperbacks. Could you share where the idea for the series came from, how you decided on the themes, and the thinking behind the format and production values of the series?

We aim to provide realistic advice and practical ideas. The simple concept behind the series is to bring a collection of those ideas into a new, perhaps more accessible, format that will hopefully make its way into the hands of a new readership. We have specifically designed these titles to be trade-focused, making it easy for bookshops to stock them widely, in a known and trusted format and at a low price point.

Something you will always get from the School of Life is a book that is a beautiful object in its own right. Keeping our high production standards was a must, so you will find in these titles lovely quality paper and an overall feel that matches the quality of the content.

Could you give us a pithy overview of each book in the series?


Almost all of us wish we could be calmer. Across history people have sought adventure and excitement, however a new priority for many of us is a desire to be more tranquil. This is a book designed to support us in our attempts to remain calm when faced with the challenges life throws at us.


Few things promise us greater happiness than our relationships – yet few things more reliably deliver misery and frustration. We mistakenly believe we were born knowing how to love and that managing a relationship will be straightforward. This book starts from a different premise: that love is a skill to be learnt, rather than just an emotion to be felt. It calmly takes us around the key issues of relationships, from arguments to sex, forgiveness to communication, making sure that success in love need never again be just a matter of luck.

On Being Nice

Many books set out to make us richer or thinner, or better at gardening. This book wants to help us to be nicer. That could be less irritable, more patient, better at listening, warmer and less short tempered. Niceness may not have the immediate allure of money or fame, but it is a hugely important quality, and one that we neglect at our peril.

Small Pleasures

Often we will exhaust ourselves, and the planet, in search of very large pleasures, while all around us lies a wealth of small pleasures, which if only we paid more attention could bring us solace and joy at little cost and effort. 

This is a book to guide us to the best of life’s small pleasures; an intriguing, evocative mix of small pleasures to heighten the senses and return us to the world with new-found excitement and enthusiasm.

A Job to Love

The idea that work might be fulfilling rather than just necessary is a recent invention. These days, in prosperous areas of the world, we don’t only expect to get paid, we also expect to find meaning and satisfaction. This title is designed to help us better understand ourselves in order to find a job that is right for us. It explores the myths, traps and confusions that get in our way and shows us how to develop new, effective attitudes and habits. 

How to Get Married

Many of us are attracted to the idea of marriage and yet feel a bit uncomfortable with some of the rituals that are traditionally associated with the big day. Perhaps the old ceremonies place too much emphasis on religion or else seem out of step with some of the more complex realities of contemporary relationships. In response to this dilemma, we have rethought what the ideal wedding day would consist of and redesigned the process for modern couples, in a bold rethinking of one of humankind’s most important and popular rituals.

Stay or Leave

Whether we should stay in or leave a relationship is one of the most consequential and painful decisions we are ever likely to confront. What makes the issue so hard is that there are no fixed rules for judgement. How can we tell whether a relationship is ‘good enough’ or plain wrong? With no preset agenda, this book walks the reader gently through their options and opens their mind to perspectives they might not have considered. The goal is to help clarify what the reader wants deep down so the answer that emerges will be properly attuned to their unique circumstances and (often very private) aspirations. A tool that carries the promise of the clearer and less compromised future we deserve.

Beyond this series, what else can we look forward to from TSOL in 2024? Is anything new on the horizon, both in terms of publishing, and the wider TSOL landscape?

We have lots to look forward to in 2024. We are adding exciting titles into both our adult and children’s lists, and will be publishing our first Guided Journal – the Self-Reflection Journal, which publishes in October. It is a journal to help us process our lives; to think more clearly about what we really want, what we are actually feeling and what might be holding us back from our goals, by asking a series of questions so we can embark on this journey of self-reflection. It will be an interesting and valuable addition to our list.

Also in October, we will be publishing The Secrets of Successful Relationships, the first in a new series, drawing upon the expertise of The School of Life Therapists to teach us the key ingredients of contented love. In a tone that’s warm, encouraging and often funny, it helps us learn how to communicate effectively, how to manage differences, what to do when sexual problems arise, how to air grievances and the best way to share a home. 

Before that, in July, we have Getting Over Your Parents, which follows on from the bestselling How To Overcome Your Childhood, and is a practical guide on how to navigate the complex legacies left to us by our parents. It gives us a vocabulary with which to understand some of the stranger and more difficult things that parents sometimes do to their children, as well as advice on how to move forward from our puzzles or confusions. The emphasis is never on blame, always on understanding.

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