What are the most important skills an employer is looking for? The top answer, if you ask Google, has nothing to do with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Ranked No 1 is a ‘Positive Attitude’, followed by ‘Communication Skills’. Clearly, the proficiencies that drive the adult world are more fundamental. They are the ‘soft’ skills, if you wish. At workplaces—whether you are in sales or automation, a doctor or a teacher—it is your ability to grasp a situation, empathise, think, and get your mind across that is most highly valued. This is also why art and its practitioners are so crucial to our existence. The authors and artists, musicians and filmmakers, actors and sportsmen who appear on these pages guide us to think and speak. They influence us in ways both subtle and obvious. It is through their work that we arrive at a psychological sense of positivity: ‘concentrating on what is constructive and good’. In our social lives, to be ‘soft’ is to be easily swayed, silly even. But it is the soft power of these women and men that encourages us to use our critical faculties, discern hidden truths, solve complex problems and live positively. And to them, we are grateful.