Umberto Eco was an international cultural superstar. A celebrated essayist as well as novelist, in this, his last collection, he explores many aspects of the modern world with irrepressible curiosity and wisdom. A crisis in ideological values, a crisis in politics, unbridled individualism - the familiar backdrop to our lives: a `liquid society' where it's not easy to find a polestar, though stars and starlets are not lacking. In these pieces, written by Eco as articles for his regular column in l'Espresso magazine, he brings his dazzling erudition and keen sense of the everyday to bear on topics such as popular culture and politics, being seen, conspiracies, the old and the young, mobile phones, mass media, racism, good manners and the crisis in ideological values. It is a final gift to his readers - astute, witty and illuminating.