Weekly Chats: Julia Hobsbawm with Sarah Vine on ‘The Simplicity Principle’

For this week’s edition of Weekly Chats, we are joined by Julia Hobsbawm & Sarah Vine to discuss Julia’s bestselling book, ‘The Simplicity Principle’. This is a book for our times that examines the last 15 years of information overload & the need to simplify our lives. ‘The Simplicity Principle’ is a very well-researched account on today’s society diving deep into neuroscience, human behaviour & organisational productivity. Julia is here to help us refine & gain a sense of clarity in the noise & over-stimulation of our modern lives. It is a refreshing new way to look at ‘hacking’ your life, that suggests rather than adding more, we need less. Julia’s take on ‘The Simplicity Principle’ is groundbreaking & may just offer an ‘A-Ha’ moment & alternative to the complex lives we live today.

  • Julia & Sarah on their 10 year anniversary of their past interview which was the ‘prototype’ of The Simplicity Principle.
  • “Everything feels too complex”: The Simplicity Principle addressing the age of information overwhelm.
  • Julia on her life BC – Before Corona.
  • Sarah & Julia on their understanding of a disorganised mind & the feeling of liberation when one takes control of their mind.
  • Sarah on her phobia of ‘Brown Envelopes’.
  • The neuroscience of phobias & fears. 
  • Julia’s moment when a letter arrived in the mail that asking her to be OBE in which she almost threw away in fear of a bill. 
  • The past 15 years that have led to an information revolution, but also a widespread mental health crisis.
  • Gloria Marx’s research that has found it takes you a third of an hour to regain your concentration after being online & plugged in.
  • Julia on her obsessions with bees & the development of the hexagon of priorities.
  • “I’m really interested in organisational productivity & how it goes to real life.” Says Julia. All business principles give you a magic number & why Julia came upon the number six.
  • “It’s terribly pleasing”: Julia on her fascination with the number six.
  • “I was my own guinea pig”: Julia on testing & practicing her own principles in her life.
  • What makes the human brain so special? We can predict or envision the future. 
  • Julia on her friend & fellow Great Big Book Clubber, Ruby Wax & her interest in the part of the brain that feels fear.
  • Sarah on the correlation between the relationship of our obsession with junk food & sugar & our obsession with trash TV, social media & low grade stimulation. 
  • Julia on “speed, scale & overload”: Tik Tok, internet fasting & binge eating. 
  • Decision fatigue: the crippling overwhelm of too much to choose from. 
  • Barack Obama’s take on too many choices: “I decided to wear the same thing everyday” to limit the decisions he had to make everyday. 
  • The decline of newspapers & its relation to choice & decision fatigue.
  • Julia on her knowledge dashboard: implementing limitations & counting your consumption. 
  • Sarah reflects on her awe of David Cameron’s ability to establish boundaries & compartmentalise his life; family & work.
  • Julia on Maya Angelou & the many voices of inspiration & influence in The Simplicity Principle.
  • Julia & Sarah on becoming a writer in your middle age. “You understand what it is to make mistakes & you understand what it means to make mistakes.”
  • The therapeutic nature of decluttering & simplifying one’s life that is incredibly needed during lockdown. 
  • Julia & her 19 year old daughter’s meeting with Ariana Huffington. “She was wonderfully attentive with Anoushka” (Julia’s daughter).
  • Julia on the advantages of being a snowflake: “I think sensitivity & individuality is overlooked.”
Buy The Simplicity Principle from your local Bookseller:

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