Tony Spollen has written a book for right now: a list of good lessons for immediate application in the post-crash economy. Yet it is also a timeless work, applicable anywhere – a reminder that the enormous upheaval that confronts us is in reality just another milestone in humanity’s long march. There really are more important things than today’s preoccupations.

An antidote to the type of behaviour that disfigured boom-time Ireland, 50 Great Lessons of Life distils not just Tony Spollen’s own life experiences (remember he is an expert in internal audit and combating corporate fraud, reading character as much as accounts), but the eternal wisdom of many human lifetimes. The dinner table advice is particularly noteworthy.

At a time when so many are living under extraordinary stress and strain, it is a clear and simple reminder that a clear and simple approach to life will get you through it better. And it will be better for those around you as well. This is particularly important for the generation of victims of the Irish property crash.

Relaxing, letting go of stress, not holding grudges, the importance of small kindnesses – all these things can help you to work smarter, and live a better, fuller life. To the benefit of all.

And it’s a short book, a quick read, but it leaves behind much to reflect on – a sign of a lot of careful thought. This is a good thing.

Sean Whelan,  Economics Correspondent with RTÉ