What is the secret of success? MALCOLM GLADWELL, best known for his book The Tipping Point, is back with his thoughts on life’s high achievers, investigating what makes them extraordinary and the role of the purely arbitrary. Outliers: The Story of Success is published by Allen Lane and Malcolm Gladwell will be speaking at the Lyceum Theatre on Monday 24 November at 8.30pm.

According to the neurologist SEMIR ZEKI, love is a concept invented by the brain that drives us to search for unity. The evidence for this doesn’t come from neuroscience, but from the culture of love. Our brains’ outpouring of emotions into music, art and literature, in societies around the world, shows us that love is an inherited concept, just like our ability to see in colour or to recognize faces. Splendours and Miseries of the Brain: Love, Creativity and the Quest for Human Happiness is published by Wiley-Blackwell. On 25 November Professor Zeki and A.S. Byatt will discuss the subject of ‘Neuroesthetics, love and literature’ as part of Bristol University's Autumn Art Lectures 2008 - ‘The Creative Brain: conversations between art and science’.

In August: Osage County, a Midwestern American family is forced to reunite when the father goes missing. In the ensuing drama, hidden tensions surface, family truths are revealed and roles are reversed. The director, ANNA D SHAPIRO, argues that this dissolution of the patriarchy is symbolic of the failure of the US government. August: Osage County is at the National Theatre from 21 November - 21 January.

When the French President Nicolas Sarkozy tucked into a hamburger with President Bush it shocked his native country. ANDREW HUSSEY argues that throughout history French food has been intimately linked with their politics. From Louis XIV to the Revolution to nouvelle cuisine, their cuisine has been used as propaganda to demonstrate France’s superiority, he argues. France on a Plate, a documentary exploring French politics through food, is on BBC4 on 29 November.

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Mon 24 Nov 2008 21:30