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The Art of Self-Improvement


01 about

Human beings have always been striving to improve themselves. We have much to learn about the art of self-improvement both from our ancestors and from other cultures. In my forthcoming book The Art of Self-Improvement: Ten Timeless Truths, I share with you ten ideas about self-improvement that remain the same across time and space. Bringing ancient insights into dialogue with the latest psychological research, I show how these ideas can help us to address the many challenges we are facing today.

Presenting the wisdom of other cultures and historical periods, I discuss the most effective and sustainable strategies for becoming our best selves. Promoting timeless, tried and tested methods for self-improvement, my findings also encourage us to look more critically at our current self-help trends.

When it comes to self-improvement, we do not constantly have to reinvent the wheel. New is not always better. Most self-help trends come and go because they do not work. I look forward to sharing with you the best advice history has to offer, and that has survived the crucial test of time.


02 books


Schaffner's imaginative and ambitious work offers rich materials with which to think about exhaustion. Work such as this lets us engage in imaginative emotional time-travel of a kind that acknowledges a shared humanity as well as cultural difference.

- Times Literary Supplement

The strength of Exhaustion: A History is its ambition: it is both comprehensive in scope and highly focused, investigating an overwhelming – or, if you'll forgive the pun, exhaustive – catalogue of synonyms for exhaustion, presented via analyses of pertinent literary references that ensure all theoretical analysis is grounded in historical examples.

- Make Magazine

A vigorous review of the various lenses through which exhaustion has been viewed throughout human history.

- Comparative Literature Studies


Highly informative, excellently researched, well-written and enjoyable book.

- Forum for Modern Language Studies

Exhaustion offers an ambitious grand narrative account of the condition, from classical antiquity to the present day.

- Medical History

[An] enlightening, elegantly written study of exhaustion as a phenomenon firmly rooted in the confluence of medical knowledge, cultural beliefs, and social critique.

- Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Social Science


An engaging reading of the history, evolution, and multiple connotations of its key term, reaching the conclusion that the individual and the community are closely intertwined not only in detecting exhaustion and seeking plausible and helpful solutions to combat its symptoms, but also in giving meaning to those symptoms by attaching them to the cultural and social perceptions dominant at a specific time and place.

- Modern Language Review

A timely contribution to a neglected field of study.

- BMJ Medical Humanities Blog


03 blogs & journalism

Want to see all of my blogs and journalism?


04 coaching

Pure knowledge is not enough to change the way we feel and act. Often, knowledge can remain sterile and without consequences. We may know very well what we should do in order to live better lives. But we often fail to take the first steps, or to make positive behaviour changes sustainable. In order truly to transform the way we view ourselves and others, we need to learn how to translate insight into action. 

Would you like to find out more? Get in touch for a free 20-minute exploration chat.


05 speaking


06 contact