Today with Sean O'Rourke

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    Books

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    The Temporary Gentleman

    by Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)

    Sebastian Barry is a multi award-winning author who has twice been shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. His latest novel is the sixth book in his cycle of separate yet interconnected novels that re-imagine characters from his own family. His latest book focuses on his maternal grandfather Jack McNulty, an Irishman in the British Army who is a ‘temporary gentleman’ as his commission was never permanent.

    Set in 1957 in Ghana, Jack finds himself lingering on in Africa after working for the UN, and settling down to write the story of his life, more particularly of the great love of it, the girl he meets and marries in his native Sligo in the 1920s, the fascinating Mai Kirwan and their long and painful journey. He joins us today to discuss where the inspiration for his latest novel The Temporary Gentleman came from and how his family has influenced his other work.

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    How To Age

    The life expectancy of the human race is increasing.  With every passing generation, there is the promise of living longer, staying healthy for longer and being around to see not only grandchildren, but great grandchildren.

    But as society becomes more obsessed with fighting wrinkles and denying old age, it might be questioned whether living longer is really a blessing or just a lengthening of the agonising over every grey hair and liver spot.

    Anne Karpf is the author of a new book called ‘How to Age’ and she jspoke to Sean this morning.

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    The Undertaking

    by Audrey Magee (Atlantic Books)

    Audrey Magee has worked as a journalist for 12 years yet two incidents, twenty years apart, were the catalyst for her to write her debut novel, The Undertaking. The first occurred on a visit to Dachau in Germany when she was just 21 and the second incident some 20 years later after a chance encounter with a German man in West Cork who owned a restaurant she was visiting.

    The story follows the lives of two Germans, Peter, a young German soldier during World War II and Katherina, who get married to secure him honeymoon leave from a horrific and raging battle and a widow’s pension for her should he be killed in action. The story follows their lives during and after the war and examines the impact which the Second World War had on ordinary Germans.

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    How to Develop Emotional Health

    by Oliver James (Panmacmillan)

    Are you emotionally healthy? Or when it comes to emotional health, do you even know what it is or where to start? Oliver James was here to answer these questions and to explain how we are all born emotionally healthy yet throughout our lives this declines and we don’t regain our emotional health until old age.

    Yet all is not lost as he joined us today to discuss his new book How to Develop Emotional Health which includes the five key elements of emotional health and strategies for building each element in order to live more fulfilling lives. He also warns against anyone ‘selling happiness’ likening it to ‘psychological snake oil’ and says we are much better off setting ourselves the realistic target of being emotionally healthy instead.

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    21 Day Jump Start: The Fitness Guide

    It’s the time of year when gyms enjoy a surge in membership rates and parks and footpaths are packed with walkers and runners, resolving to shed pounds and lead a healthier lifestyle.

    For all those resolutions made however, most will be broken before January is out...but Pat Divilly has come up with what he calls a ‘jump-start plan’ and he is urging people to try it out for 21 days and see if it sets you on the right road.

    Happy Hour is 9-5 – How to Love your Job, Love your Life and Kick Butt at Work

    by Alexander Kjerulf

    When you wake up on a Monday morning are you filled with dread at the prospect of a full week of work ahead or do you lie there thinking of all the interesting projects you will be working on and what a positive difference you will make? My next guest has written a new book called Happy Hour is 9-5 which is a guide to how you can become happier in your working life.

    Including case studies, exercises, tips and advice, he argues that more and more companies are realising that happiness in the workplace is crucial. It leads to greater productivity which in turn means bigger profits and therefore happiness at work is coming to almost all workplaces soon. He joined Sean today to tell us what happiness at work is, why it is important and how everyone can become happier in work starting today. 

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    Knowing Mandela

    Knowing Mandelais a personal tribute to Nelson Mandela, written by the acclaimed South Africa correspondent and author of the international bestseller Playing the Enemy (filmed as Invictus with Morgan Freeman playing Mandela) who has been reporting on Mandela throughout the 1990s.

    John Carlin began covering South African politics while serving as the London Independent’s Bureau Chief in South Africa in 1989, and formed a relationship with Nelson Mandela in the decades since. Mandela has called Carlin’s journalism ‘courageous’ and ‘absolutely inspiring’. Now, Carlin reflects back on the man he has studied and admired for much of his career.

    The book largely focuses on the period between 1990 and 1995 when Mandela faced his most daunting obstacles and recorded his greatest triumphs.

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    Inside Team Sky

    By David Walsh (Simon and Schuster)

    In his last book, David Walsh documented in very personal detail his pursuit of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong and his role in the supposed Tour de France winner’s eventual fall from grace in his book Seven Deadly Sins.

    In an attempt to see how far cycling has come since the dark days of the doping era, he was invited to embed himself with the dominant Team Sky, with whom Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome had completely dominated the 2012 Tour de France. If there were any questions or doubts about the legitimacy of their 2012 victory, he would no doubt find the answers in their 2013 campaign.

    His book, Inside Team Sky takes the reader right into the heart of cycling’s most successful operation.

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    North Korea Undercover – Inside the World’s Most Secret State

    by John Sweeney (Bantam Press)

    You may remember the controversy last year when a BBC journalist posed as a history professor to enter the most secretive State on earth, North Korea, and film undercover footage for a documentary for BBC’s Panorama.

    He has since written a book about his experiences in a country where every move made by the group he was with was watched by official guides in a country filled with empty motorways and universities without students…

    The documentary maker, John Sweeney also exposes the regime’s links with Ireland having trained Official IRA members in assassination techniques and bomb-making skills. He joins us today to discuss all this and more in his latest book North Korea Undercover: Inside the World’s Most Secret State.

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    The Long Shadow – The Great War and the Twentieth Century

    by David Reynolds (Simon & Schuster)

    On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 a temporary ceasefire or armistice between the allied nations and Germany was signed. Although peace would not formally come until the Treaty of Versailles the following June of 1919, November 11th 1918 is widely commemorated as the beginning of the end of what was known as ‘the war to end all wars’.  Today marks the 95th anniversary of this armistice and it’s fitting that historian David Reynolds joined Sean  in studio to discuss his latest book The Long Shadow – The Great War and the Twentieth Century.   

    In it he argues that the way the British remember the war may have got in the way of understanding its full impact and he maintains that the conflict has become “caricatured”.

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