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Q&A with Hugh Mackay

Hugh Mackay, social researcher and author of seventeen books (including six novels), is back with a brand new book, Beyond Belief

Hugh is one of Australia's most respected authors, and in his latest book he tackles one of the biggest topics of our time: the declining role of religion in our society. 

Around two-thirds of us say we believe in God or a 'higher power', but fewer than one in ten Australians attend church weekly. In Beyond Belief, Hugh argues that while our attachment to a traditional idea of God may be waning, our desire for a life of meaning remains as strong as ever. 

Read on to learn more about Hugh.

1. Which book has had the most influence on you?
Carl Rogers, On Becoming A Person. A collection of papers by Carl Rogers, founder of the client-centred therapy school of psychotherapy, that profoundly affected mydevelopment - as a social researcher, and as a human being.
 
2. If you could invite three fictional characters to dinner, who would you pick?
Frank Bascombe, from Richard Ford's The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land;
Honor Klein from Iris Murdoch's A Severed Headand
Tony Webster from Julian Barnes's The Sense of An Ending.
(I'm not sure I'd like any of them, but their interaction would be fascinatingto observe.)
 
3.What is your number one way of keeping your body and brain in balance?
Daily walking - especially when I'm writing. It clears the head, induces deep and rhythmical breathing, and never fails to relax and energise me.

4. What is the most important piece of advice you have received?
Treat other people the way you would like to be treated.
 
5. What would you like to tell your 18 year-old self?
Be less anxious; be more tolerant; be more accepting and less judgmental.
 
6. Who inspires you? (Doesn’t have to be limited to other writers or people in your industry.)
Carl Rogers, Bertrand Russell, Carl Jung, Iris Murdoch, Angela Merkel and, perhaps, Canada's PM Justin Trudeau (who should inspire our own politicians, but seems not yet to have done so)
 
7. You’re stranded on an island with all the living essentials at hand, but what one additional item would you need to survive?
A means of making music - preferably a piano.
 
8. What’s the best book you’ve read in the past 12 months?
Michel Houellebecq, Submission.
 
9. What is your number one tip for people struggling to make a change in their life?
Dream of the kind of world you want to live in; then start living as if it's that kind of world.  
 
10. How would you summarise your latest book in 25 words or less? 
Beyond Belief explores the changing role of religion, and suggests we need to move beyond dogmatic beliefs tofind a faith that unites us.
 
 

Posted by Global Administrator on 29/06/2016