Share

cover art for Tending to the Soul in Turbulent Times, with Elizabeth Oldfield

The Booking Club

Tending to the Soul in Turbulent Times, with Elizabeth Oldfield

What does it mean to live a good, whole and fulfilling life? And if the world really is ending, or at least expecting turbulent change, what kind of people will we need when it happens?


In Fully Alive, Elizabeth Oldfield explores how we can build spiritual core strength for an unstable age.


Drawing on the ancient wisdom of faith and stories from her own life, Oldfield writes about her quest to live a meaningful, fulfilling life, and the niggling questions that bother all of us below the surface, such as:


How can I focus on what really matters and stop getting so distracted by trivialities?

How do I become a depolarising person in a culture of outrage, tribalism, and division?

Can I find my highs in expansive, life-giving ways, rather than in a bottle of wine or a tub of ice cream?

And what kind of world am I leaving for the next generation?


Fully Alive is for readers looking for an honest conversation about the deepest questions in our ordinary lives, and practical, meaningful ideas to help us pay attention to the people we are becoming. For ourselves, our communities and the world.


Elizabeth and Jack meet at The Anchor and Hope in Southwark


Follow and subscribe to The Booking Club:


Twitter/X: @bookingclubpod

Instagram: @bookingclubpod

TikTok: @bookingclubpod

More episodes

View all episodes

  • My Family: the Memoir, with David Baddiel

    52:07
    On the surface, David Baddiel’s childhood was fairly standard: a lower-middle-class Jewish family living in an ordinary house in Dollis Hill, north-west London. But David came to realise that his mother was in fact not ordinary at all. Having escaped extermination by fleeing Nazi Germany as a child, she was desperate to make her life count, which took the form of a passionate, decades-long affair with a golfing memorabilia salesman. David’s detailing of the affair – including a hilarious focus on how his mother turned their household over to golf memorabilia, and an eye-popping cache of her erotic writings – leads to the inescapable conclusion that Sarah Baddiel was a cross between Jack Niklaus and Erica Jong.Meanwhile, as Baddiel investigates his family’s past, his father’s memories are fading; dementia is making him moodier and more disinhibited, with an even greater penchant for obscenity. As with his mother’s affair, there is both comedy and poignancy to be found: laughter is a constant presence, capable of transforming the darkest of experiences into something redemptive. (HarperCollins)David and Jack met at Dar's in Hampstead, North London.Follow and subscribe to The Booking Club:Twitter/X: @bookingclubpodInstagram: @bookingclubpodTikTok: @bookingclubpod
  • Alchemy and the 2024 UK General Election, with Rory Sutherland

    54:19
    Rory Sutherland is the vice-chairman of Ogilvy UK and the co-founder of its Behavioural Science Practice. He is the author of Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas that Don’t Make Sense, writes The Spectator’s Wiki Man column, presents several series for Radio 4, serves on the advisory board of the Evolution Institute and is former president of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. His TED talks have been viewed more than 7 million times.Now, he joins Jack Aldane on The Booking Club days before the 2024 General Election to discuss the myriad reasons Great Britain needs more alchemists in positions of power, why listeners should subscribe to the political and economic theory of Henry George, and what is fundamentally at fault with the UK tax system.Rory and Jack met at Sea Containers in London, which houses Ogilvy and its in-house restaurant and bar Cucumber. Follow and subscribe to The Booking Club:Twitter/X: @bookingclubpodInstagram: @bookingclubpodTikTok: @bookingclubpod
  • The Status Game: On Human Life and How to Play it, with Will Storr

    46:11
    For centuries, philosophers and scholars have described human behaviour in terms of sex, power and money. In The Status Game, bestselling author Will Storr radically turns this thinking on its head by arguing that it is our irrepressible craving for status that ultimately defines who we are.From the era of the hunter-gatherer to today, when we exist as workers in the globalised economy and citizens of online worlds, the need for status has always been wired into us. A wealth of research shows that how much of it we possess dramatically affects not only our happiness and wellbeing but also our physical health – and without sufficient status, we become more ill, and live shorter lives. It’s an unconscious obsession that drives the best and worst of us: our innovation, arts and civilisation as well as our murders, wars and genocides. But why is status such an all-consuming prize? What happens if it’s taken away from us? And how can our unquenchable thirst for it explain cults, moral panics, conspiracy theories, the rise of social media and the ‘culture wars’ of today?On a breathtaking journey through time and culture, The Status Game offers a sweeping rethink of human psychology that will change how you see others – and how you see yourself (Harper Collins).Jack met Will at Parrillan in Borough Yards, London.Follow and subscribe to The Booking Club:Twitter/X: @bookingclubpodInstagram: @bookingclubpodTikTok: @bookingclubpod
  • 🎄❄️🎅 MERRY CHRISTMAS! A History of Good Food and Hard Times in Britain, with Pen Vogler

    45:38
    In times of plenty, we stuff ourselves. When the food runs out, we're stuffed too. How have people in the British Isles shared the riches from our fields, dairies, kitchens and seas, as well as those from around the world? And when the cupboard is bare, who steps up to the plate to feed the nation's hungry children, soldiers at war or families in crisis?Stuffed tells the stories of the food and drink at the centre of social upheavals from prehistory to the present: the medieval inns boosted by the plague; the Enclosures that finished off the celebratory roast goose; the Victorian chemist searching for unadulterated mustard; the post-war supermarkets luring customers with strawberries. Drawing on cookbooks, literature and social records, Pen Vogler reveals how these turning points have led to today's extremes of plenty and want: roast beef and food banks; allotment, fresh vegetables and ultra-processed fillers.It is a tale of feast and famine, and of the traditions, the ideas and the laws which have fed - or starved - the nation, but also of the yeasty magic of bread and ale, the thrill of sugary treats, the pies and puddings that punctuate the year, and why the British would give anything - even North America - for a nice cup of tea.Pen met Jack Aldane at Brunswick House in Vauxhall, London.Follow and subscribe to The Booking Club:Twitter/X: @bookingclubpodInstagram: @bookingclubpodTikTok: @bookingclubpod
  • War and Peace in Rome's Golden Age, with Tom Holland

    48:18
    Pax is the third in a trilogy of books narrating the history of the Roman Empire. The series that began with Rubicon, and continued with Dynasty, now arrives at the period which marks the apogee of the pax Romana. It provides a portrait of the ancient world's ultimate superpower at war and at peace; from the gilded capital to the barbarous realms beyond the frontier; from emperors to slaves.The narrative features many of the most celebrated episodes in Roman history: the destruction of Jerusalem and Pompeii; the building of the Colosseum and Hadrian's Wall; the conquests of Trajan and the spread of Christianity.Pax gives a portrait of Rome, the great white shark of the ancient world, the Siberian tiger, at the very pinnacle of her greatness.(Little, Brown Book Group).Tom met Jack Aldane at Noble Rot in Bloomsbury, London.Follow and subscribe to The Booking Club:Twitter/X: @bookingclubpodInstagram: @bookingclubpodTikTok: @bookingclubpod
  • Remi Adekoya and Kenan Malik on Race, Wealth and the Future of Solidarity

    01:08:09
    It’s Not About Whiteness, It’s About Wealth, Remi AdekoyaWhat really matters when it comes to race?Western conversations on race and racism revolve around familiar themes; colonialism, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and the ideology of white supremacism form the holy trinity of the race debate. But what if we are neglecting a key piece of the puzzle? Something that explains why a racial order persists today despite a moral consensus it should not.In It’s Not About Whiteness, It’s About Wealth, Remi Adekoya persuasively argues that – in our capitalist world – it is socioeconomic realities which play the leading role in sustaining racial hierarchies in everyday life and in the global big picture, something regularly overlooked in the current debate. Financial power is what enables ultimate influence over events, environments, and people, and, as Adekoya expertly demonstrates, it is money more than anything else that maintains the racial pecking order. Exploring immigration, technology, media, group stereotypes, status perceptions and more, this book cleverly shows how wealth determines what’s what in key domains of modern life, and how this affects racial dynamics across the globe.An incisive, insightful and open investigation into the links between financial power and racial hierarchies, Adekoya sheds much needed light on the status and power imbalances shaping our world and reveals what needs to be done to combat them going forward. (Hachette)Not So Black and White: A History of Race from White Supremacy to Identity Politics, by Kenan MalikIs white privilege real? How racist is the working class? Why has left-wing antisemitism grown? Who benefits most when anti-racists speak in racial terms?The ‘culture wars’ have generated ferocious argument, but little clarity. This book takes the long view, explaining the real origins of ‘race’ in Western thought, and tracing its path from those beginnings in the Enlightenment all the way to our own fractious world. In doing so, leading thinker Kenan Malik upends many assumptions underpinning today’s heated debates around race, culture, whiteness and privilege.Malik interweaves this history of ideas with a parallel narrative: the story of the modern West’s long, failed struggle to escape ideas of race, leaving us with a world riven by identity politics. Through these accounts, he challenges received wisdom, revealing the forgotten history of a racialised working class, and questioning fashionable concepts like cultural appropriation.Not So Black and White is both a lucid history rewriting the story of race, and an elegant polemic making an anti-racist case against the politics of identity. (Hurst Publishers)Follow and subscribe to The Booking Club:Twitter/X: @bookingclubpodInstagram: @bookingclubpodTikTok: @bookingclubpod
  • Mortification: Eight Deaths and Life After Them, with Mark Watson

    39:17
    Mark Watson is generally accepted to be alive. And yet he's died many times. Not just on stage - though he'll tell you about that - but in other ways, too. There's been the death of a childhood dream. The death of his panel-show career. And then there was the time he died inside and nearly lost it all...Eye-opening, revealing and painfully funny, this is a book about mortification, failure and all the times life doesn't work out as planned. But it also wisely questions whether the things we strive for - recognition, success, the approval of others - are really the things that matter. It's a book about death that reminds us how to live. (Orion Publishing)Mark met Jack Aldane at The German Gymnasium in King Cross, North London.Follow and subscribe to The Booking Club:Twitter/X: @bookingclubpodInstagram: @bookingclubpodTikTok: @bookingclubpodTikTok: @bookingclubpod
  • This is Europe, with Ben Judah

    32:38
    What does it now mean to call yourself European? Who makes up this population of some 750 million, sprawled from Ireland to Ukraine, from Sweden to Turkey? Who has always called it home, and who has newly arrived from elsewhere? Who are the people who drive our long-distance lorries, steward our criss-crossing planes, lovingly craft our legacy wines, fish our depleted waters, and risk life itself in search of safety and a new start?In a series of vivid, ambitious, darkly visceral but always empathetic portraits of other people's lives, journalist Ben Judah invites us to meet them. Drawn from hours of painstaking interviews, these vital stories reveal a frenetic and vibrant continent which has been transformed by diversity, migration, the internet, climate change, Covid, war and the quest for freedom.Laid dramatically bare, it may not always be a Europe we recognize - but this is Europe.Ben met Jack at Abu Zaad, in Shepherd's BushFollow and subscribe to The Booking Club:Twitter/X: @bookingclubpodInstagram: @bookingclubpodTikTok: @bookingclubpod