How to be a Better Person, By Seb Hunter

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The Independent Culture

Those who fear that years as a heavy-metal buff might stunt an author's growth should read Seb Hunter and marvel. After a delightful novice's guide to classical music, Rock Me Amadeus, he worked as a volunteer for two years in one-man bid to disprove Mrs Thatcher ("no such thing as society") and shun New Labour's "myopic gold rush".

With forays to a London Oxfam shop and a hostel in Staines, his city of Winchester becomes the focus of this experiment in altruism. With comic touch and loopy charm, our ethical guy befriends asylum-seekers, DJs for hospital radio, picks up litter and trains for a half-marathon (he comes 341st).

Soon he breaks through into a "blue sky" feeling of benevolence. If you wish to do good without turning into a do-gooder, burst the "little bubble" of self-regard and get with his programme.

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