Hans Falkena's fascinating essay on the human condition sparkles like a string of diamonds in a beam of light. With its many references to ethology, philosophy, poetry, music and classical literature, this carefully wrought Kulturschrift appeals to our senses as well as our modern minds. This is clearly civilised work, though the chapters address life in the raw. The author compares our anxieties and lusts - for gain, sex, territory and blood - with those of wild beasts, especially tigers, which he obviously loves. The weaker elements of society are contrasted with the power-seekers and imperators of our corporations and states. At times briskly survivalist - even totalitarian - and at others sublimely lyrical or winningly humorous, Hans Falkena offers the consolation of old age in his delicately teasing and exquisitely pleasing description of creative thought. And where better to start than with BANKING ON HAPPINESS.