14 episodes

Five years ago, Craig Oliver's high-powered job and privileged position at the heart of British government came to an abrupt end with Brexit.

In the aftermath of a bruising battle, he despaired at how divided society had become, but also came to realise something fundamental was missing from his own life. Outwardly he was still achieving, with an impressive career; but he realised he'd never felt comfortable in his own skin.

Life had always felt more of a grind than a gift – he'd always believed that if he only worked harder, he'd find fulfilment. Now he realised that wasn't the case. Like many others during Lockdown, he asked himself why he'd always had a constant feeling of unease and discontent?

He wondered what wise people had to say about how we can live better. Craig decided to try a different path to the one he'd travelled before, reading and listening to many people. Some things they claimed were obviously snake oil, some were revelatory.

Throughout this podcast series, Craig talks to some extraordinary people who have faced extremely difficult - often traumatic experiences - and finds out what they learned and what they believe will help others gain peace of mind and heart.

Desperately Seeking Wisdom Creators Inc Limited

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.6 • 165 Ratings

Five years ago, Craig Oliver's high-powered job and privileged position at the heart of British government came to an abrupt end with Brexit.

In the aftermath of a bruising battle, he despaired at how divided society had become, but also came to realise something fundamental was missing from his own life. Outwardly he was still achieving, with an impressive career; but he realised he'd never felt comfortable in his own skin.

Life had always felt more of a grind than a gift – he'd always believed that if he only worked harder, he'd find fulfilment. Now he realised that wasn't the case. Like many others during Lockdown, he asked himself why he'd always had a constant feeling of unease and discontent?

He wondered what wise people had to say about how we can live better. Craig decided to try a different path to the one he'd travelled before, reading and listening to many people. Some things they claimed were obviously snake oil, some were revelatory.

Throughout this podcast series, Craig talks to some extraordinary people who have faced extremely difficult - often traumatic experiences - and finds out what they learned and what they believe will help others gain peace of mind and heart.

    Amber Rudd

    Amber Rudd

    Amber Rudd and I got to know each other by experiencing the bubbling cauldron of UK politics at the same time.

    As we became firm friends, I realised one of her amazing qualities was the ability to stay calm in a crisis and to keep everything in perspective.

    We talk about what she learned from her father going blind; how she ended up being “Aristocracy Coordinator” on Four Weddings and a Funeral; being married to the brilliant but complex AA Gill; and her tumultuous experience at the very top of politics.

    • 50 min
    Dr Sian Williams

    Dr Sian Williams

    As a reporter, producer and anchor of some of the most watched television news programmes, Dr Sian Williams has been an eyewitness to some horrific events.

    Like many of us, she often used to wonder how to deal with such trauma.

    But Sian took things one step further.

    She re-trained as a psychologist, so she could help people emerge from their worst moments to grow in wisdom and happiness.

    • 43 min
    Lord Michael Hastings

    Lord Michael Hastings

    When he was 16, Lord Michael Hastings decided he would dedicate his life to helping the poor.

    He went on to have a distinguished career in the public, corporate and non-profit sectors, as well as becoming an independent peer in the House of Lords.

    He believes that so many of our issues with life could be solved if we simply found ways to help others.

    • 41 min
    Mo Gawdat

    Mo Gawdat

    Mo Gawdat is the former Chief Business Officer for Google X and the author of the international bestselling book “Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy.”

    For years, he studied happiness as if it was a mathematical problem to be solved, and believed he had cracked the secret of being content.

    But when his 21 year old son, Ali, died suddenly during a routine operation, nothing made sense anymore.

    How could he even be alive, let alone happy, in a world where such a terrible thing could happen?

    Mo speaks about how he made peace with his son’s death and made his life worth living again.

    • 56 min
    Lucy Kellaway

    Lucy Kellaway

    In 2016, aged 57, Lucy Kellaway quit her prestigious, full-time job as a journalist at The Financial Times to become a trainee teacher.

    Around the same time, she also left her husband of 25 years, with whom she’d had four children, moved house and stopped dyeing her hair.

    Lucy wrote about her experiences in her book, “Re-educated: How I changed my job, my home, my husband and my hair,” and co-founded the charity Now Teach to encourage older professionals to step into the classroom and change their lives in the same way hers was transformed.

    • 49 min
    Kenny Imafidon

    Kenny Imafidon

    Two days after his 18th birthday, Kenny Imafidon was charged with a murder he did not commit.

    He spent the next 6 months on remand in Feltham Prison, and became the first person to complete his A levels there.

    He was eventually acquitted after a judge said there was no evidence whatsoever to support the charges against him.

    In the decade since, Kenny has forged a career as an award-winning social entrepreneur and campaigner, and is the co-founder & Managing Director of ClearView Research consultancy.

    Kenny talks candidly about what he learnt from his time in prison, the prejudice that still exists in our society, and what it feels like to get a second chance at life.

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
165 Ratings

165 Ratings

Katherine 1959@ ,

Pemba

I have been to Pemba and seen the poverty not only on the Island but also the surrounding sea which has been fished dry by the very efficient Senegalese. I am so glad that help has been given.

Newly retired app'er ,

Great Listen

I do look forward to the many different episodes, which are interesting and informative, giving insight into peoples lives which are not perfect, when you thought they were and in a way gives great comfort when you are living through difficult times yourself. Thank you.

SomersetRoger ,

Interesting but too many pals on the guest list!

I enjoyed this series and thought the premise was a good one. I preferred the interviews where Craig Oliver was talking to somebody he hadn’t previously worked with. As the embodiment of the revolving door between the BBC and Conservative government, too often he praised (and overdid it in my opinion) his former colleagues. With others he seemed to take the time and effort to understand them. A wider pool of guests would raise this to the next level.

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