Tranquillity and Ruin, by Danyl McLaughlin (VUP 2021)

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Danyl McLaughlin is a Wellington based biologist, writer, and an insightful commentator on politics, philosophy and literature. His two previous books were comic noir novels set in the Aro Valley, this book is a collection of four extended essays exploring some fundamental life issues such as happiness, anxiety, uncertainty and meditation. He approaches all of these with a combination of scientific rigour and very human vulnerability. It's a highly thought provoking, unsettling, and profound book, which reads easily despite some big philosophical themes being examined. This is an essential read for anyone wondering how we are to live in the 21st Century. It's one of the most impressive books on modern life I've read in recent years.