Sarah Bakewell

Sarah Bakewell was born in England and raised in Australia, but spent much of her childhood traveling. Author of three dramatic biographies, and holds a postgraduate degree in Artificial Intelligence. She once worked in a tea-bag factory.

"On the simplest level, Montaigne has the same appeal as reality TV shows.  We are curious apes, so we find the nitty-gritty of other people’s lives irresistible.  But he also touches deeper sources of empathy.  He talks about feelings that are hard to express or even to notice: about the experience of being lazy, or brave, or indecisive; about lying, about living up to one’s responsibilities, about obsessive fears of death or illness, and the way they seem to recede as one’s level of actual misfortune rises.  He often describes the sheer pleasure of being alive — a sensation he has learned to enhance simply by paying close attention to it."

– Sarah Bakewell