There are many ways to try to improve our lives - we can turn to the wisdom of philosophers, the teachings of religions or the latest experiments of psychologists. But we rarely to look to history for inspiration - and when we do it can be surprisingly powerful.
Showing the lessons that can be learned from the past, cultural historian Roman Krznaric explores twelve universal topics, from work and love to money and creativity, and reveals the wisdom that we've been missing. There is much to be learned from Ancient Greece on relationships, from the industrial revolution on job satisfaction, and from Ming-dynasty China on bringing up our children.
Just as a Renaissance 'Wunderkammer' was a curiosity cabinet full of fascinating objects, each with a story behind it, The Wonderbox is full of stories and ideas from history, each of which sheds invaluable light on the decisions we make every day, whether we think about the different uses of the senses or changing attitudes to time.
History is usually read for pleasure or for insight into current affairs, but The Wonderbox, stepping into the territory of Alain de Botton and Theodore Zeldin, is 'practical history' - using the past to think about our day to day lives.
Roman Krznaric is a cultural thinker and writer on the art of living and social change. His books, which include The Wonderbox (Profile Books), Empathy (Penguin Random House), and How to Find Fulfilling Work (Macmillan), have been published in over 20 languages. He is founder of the world's first Empathy Museum and of the digital Empathy Library. He advises organisations including Friends of the Earth on using empathy and conversation to create social change, and runs empathy awareness training for Britain's top judges. He is also a founding faculty member of The School of Life and on the faculty of Year Here. Roman has been named by the Observer as one of Britain's leading popular philosophers.