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The Art of Belonging

  • Sydney Opera House Bennelong Point Sydney NSW 2000 Australia (map)

Can we enrich our lives by connecting better with our communities?


“Hugh Mackay uses the wealth of his life experiences to share the principles he believes make life worth living… Mackay’s interpretation of making the world a better place questions the values and pursuits of society.” – The West Australian

The Art of Belonging advances the argument put forward in Mackay's bestselling The Good Life: a 'good life' is not lived in isolation or in the pursuit of independent goals; a good life is lived at the heart of a thriving community, among people we trust, and within an environment of mutual respect.

Most of us struggle to reconcile our need to belong with our desire to live life on our own terms. If we want to master the art of belonging, we need to be able to manage the conflicts that arise in a community when some assert their own needs at the expense of others.

We need communities, but communities also need us. For this symmetry to work, we need to take responsibility for the places where we live by engaging, volunteering, joining up and joining in.

Hugh Mackay is a social researcher and the author of 16 books, including, most recently, The Good Life, a 2013 bestseller, and his sixth novel, Infidelity. He is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and the recipient of several honorary doctorates from Australian universities. He lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

Ideas at the House celebrates big ideas, extraordinary people and contemporary culture. In 2013, the Festival of Dangerous IdeasAll About WomenIn Conversation with Yoko OnoGame of Thrones: In Conversation, and Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed close to 15,000 attendees, with events selling out in record time.

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