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In the first Quarterly Essay for 2011, David Malouf returns to one of the most fundamental questions and gives it a modern twist: what is it to live a good life? With grace and profundity, Malouf discusses new and old ways to talk about the self, morality and happiness. In an age of environmental peril, and in the wake of the global financial crisis, such questions have returned with new force - we live in unpredictable times and Homo economicus has been found wanting. In considering the good life, David Malouf returns to the classics, looks to Australian traditions and examines the idea of the global citizen.