A leg up? Not all self-help books are worthy of the name

Avoid any approach that hasn’t been verified by independent data or that promises a quick fix

How much of reality can be explained by the physical sciences?

Materialists claim that the self is illusory and free will doesn’t exist, but many scientists disagree

Selling cigarettes to under-18s is already illegal, but this does not prevent young people from obtaining them

The British Medial Association’s move to block the sale of cigarettes to those born after 2000 is understandable but would prove c(...)

It is possible to achieve checkmate in a well-known five-step manoeuvre, but also using a much less familiar three-move sequence. Photograph: Thinkstock

Familiarity with the tried and tested can prevent us from seeking out more efficient solutions

How can God affect our lives? Kosslyn uses the analogy of a flock of geese navigating a long migration. Photograph: Thinkstock

Stephen Kosslyn once put forward the intriguing notion that God exists but is not supernatural

Imagine the horror of being fully conscious but unable to communicate. Research is helping to break this barrier

Photograph: Thinkstock

Calculate your BMI but also check the ratio of waist-to-hip circumference and be ultra- conscious of abdominal fat

A recent study into fat is not a green light to load up on steak and butter, one nutrition expert warns

The human brain can be bilingual even before birth. Photograph: Thinkstock

Multilingual people are better at reasoning and multitasking, and work faster and with less effort

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