SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
NUMBER ONE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
From one of our greatest voices in modern philosophy, author of The Course of Love, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel and The School of Life
'A serious and optimistic set of practical ideas that could improve and alter the way we live' Jeanette Winterson, The Times
'A beautiful, inspiring book... offering a glimpse of a more enlightened path' Sunday Telegraph
'Smart, stimulating, sensitive. A timely and perceptive appreciation of how much wisdom is embodied in religious traditions and how we godless moderns might learn from it' Financial Times
'There isn't a page in this book that doesn't contain a striking idea or a stimulating parallel' Mail on Sunday
Alain de Botton takes us one step further than Dawkins or Hitchens ventured - into a world of ideas beyond the God debate...
All of us, whether religious, agnostic or atheist, are searching for meaning. And in this wise and life-affirming book, non-believer Alain de Botton both rejects the supernatural claims of the major religions and points out just how many good ideas they sometimes have about how we should live.
And he suggests that non-believers can learn and steal from them.
Picking and choosing from the thousands of years of advice assembled by the world's great religions, Alain de Botton presents a range of fascinating ideas and practical insights on art, community, love, friendship, work, life and death. He shows how they can be of use to us all, irrespective of whether we do or don't believe.
In this highly original and thought-provoking book, philosopher and atheist de Botton (How Proust Can Change Your Life) turns his critical eye to what religion does well and how nonbelievers might borrow from it to improve their own lives, institutions, and practices without believing in God. For example, de Botton praises religion for satisfying the universal needs for community, comfort, and kindness and for its recognition that all people are imperfect and in need of help and healing. Some of what he suggests seems unattainable: de Botton calls for colleges and universities to shift from preparing students for careers to training them in "the art of living," something he says religion does well. But other suggestions are more exciting for their plausibility would not a Day of Atonement, drawn from Judaism, benefit all relationships? De Botton will no doubt annoy militant atheists who believe religion not only has no use but is essentially evil, but his well-reasoned arguments should appeal to the more open-minded nonbeliever. And de Botton is a lively, engaging writer.
This book challenged me to think of religion in a different way and also gives great ideas on how to live a fulfilled life and improve society without the need for belief in the supernatural parts of religion.
Alain de Button has captured the fundamentals of being human.