'A concern for beauty would certainly make us better shapers of the world.' - Roger ScrutonThe idea of beauty is highly conflicted terrain. Does it only have to do with how things look? Is it merely prettiness? Is it entirely subjective? Does it serve a function?Historically, beauty has been held in high esteem: 'beauty is truth, truth beauty,' the poet Keats wrote. Why then do the high priests of the arts and the arguably progressive socio-political thinkers of the day shun it? Shakti Maira explains how the problem lies with the confused understanding of beauty and with beauty becoming superficially located: quite literally, on the skin. What would happen, he asks, if beauty were to become central to every aspect of our lives: environment, education, economics and governance? Maira engages eighteen eminent thinkers in a series of conversations around the difficult, enthralling notion of beauty.Scientists explore whether there is an evolutionary purpose to it. Philosophers examine its relationship to truth and goodness. Artists speak of beauty and its rejection. Brain-mind experts consider whether the experience of it strengthens certain neural pathways connected with the qualities of balance, harmony, rhythm and proportion. Activists probe how beauty works in the context of social systems. What emerges is a deeper understanding of beauty and how it is a key to our world: a radical new way of evaluating problems and finding solutions, from the personal to the political, the individual to the universal.