The Art of Listening

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The authors of three of the most remarkable memoirs of the year talk about the art of listening.

Dr Tom Templeton talks about his book – 34 Patients – the breath-taking and uplifting account of the human experience, from a doctor who dares to look closer at a crowded waiting room, and value each soul and story he encounters. Doctors often know our deepest secrets, our private worries and our most vulnerable moments. But they listen to all of us. Through stories of the patients he has helped and lost, and those who have changed him for ever, Tom – who left a journalist job at The Observer to retrain in medicine at the age of 29 – weaves a profound and moving portrait of humanity, asking us to treat all with compassion.

Overwhelmed with grief and anxiety, Charlie Corbett found comfort and reconnection through birdsong. Hearing a blackbird’s song on a fresh spring morning, or watching the house martins arrive from Africa in April, gave Charlie a new perspective on life. His book 12 Birds to Save Your Life shows the healing power of nature and that there is always joy to be found if we know where to look, and how to listen.

After coming terrifyingly close to suicide, Jake Tyler was determined to take back control of his life from the clutches of depression. With only a pair of walking boots and a backpack, he left his home town of Maldon and began a 3000-mile walk around the British mainland. Jake’s memoir – A Walk From the Wild Edge shares the ways in which his road to recovery was enhanced by the kindness of strangers, whose conversation helped him to better understand himself and the power of human connection.


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