Last week I was reading an essay by the American novelist Jonathan Franzen, and was struck by the following thought: “The essay’s roots are in literature, and literature at its best […] invites you to ask whether you might be somewhat wrong, maybe even entirely wrong, and to imagine why someone else might hate you.”…

We are living in an every expanding web of interdependence; built around trade, investment, cultural exchange, digital technologies, and global politics. In such an environment effective cooperation is an ever more crucial. Yet alongside this need there are equally strong drivers spurring on ever more competition for resources, markets, talent etc.  Both cooperation and competition…

Julian Baggini’s recently published book “How the world thinks” is a history of global philosophy, looking at how thinking has developed in different places and times. In the introduction he highlights the importance of not just seeing something from another’s perspective, but trying to see what they are seeing as well. As he puts it:…

At a recent excellent conference hosted by Professor Ulla Glaesser at Viadrina University in Frankfurt (Oder), one of the workshop sessions focussed on the extent to which mediators can or should disclose or express their views when engaged in politically-related mediation work – or more generally. What a fascinating conversation we had. It was no…

When I first started getting seriously interested in mediation over ten years ago, the thought struck me that ‘Shades of Grey’ might be a good name for an organisation involved in this field. Thankfully, given a subsequent publication and film, I didn’t pursue it any further – although if I’d registered the domain name it…

A good friend of mine was recently surprised to see a robot cutting the grass around a well-known landmark in Edinburgh. Coincidentally this was around the same time as I came across a speech given by Adair Turner in April this year entitled “Capitalism in the age of robots: work, income and wealth in the…

I write this in the aftermath of the really uplifting and wonderfully diverse conference which I had the privilege to host and chair recently in my home city, under the auspices of the International Academy of Mediators. Nearly 120 mediators from over 20 countries attended and shared deep discussions about how we as mediators can…

It may seem odd to suggest that a funeral and a book festival could, in the space of a few days, provide sources for a lot of reflection and – just possibly – mediation-related insight. Recently I flew from Auckland to Wellington to attend, and speak at, the funeral for a friend I’d known for…

Readers who are experts on the wartime British Prime Minister or have recently watched “The Darkest Hour” may find the above caption familiar. Yes, it has been inspired by Winston Churchill’s famous quote “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” If you like the caption, feel…