THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
One of the most influential voices in modern philosophy - the author of The Course of Love, Religion for Atheists, The Art of Travel and The School of Life
Alain de Botton presents a one-stop shop for solving the problems of everyday life through the wisdom of history's great philosophers
'Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives' Independent
'Few discussions on the great philosophers can have been so entertaining... An ingenious, imaginative book' The Sunday Times
'Witty, thoughtful, entertaining... It manages to make philosophy both enjoyable and relevant' Anthony Clare, Literary Review
'No doubt about it, philosophy is the new rock and roll and Alain de Botton is its Colonel Tom Parker... A pleasure to read. And good writing, like good philosophy, is always a consolation' John Banville, Irish Times
Alain de Botton has set six of the finest minds in the history of philosophy to work on the problems of everyday life. Find out what Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche would say about the things that bother us all the most: lack of money, the pain of love, inadequacy, anxiety, the fear of failure and the pressure to conform.
Three years ago, de Botton offered a delightful encounter with a writer many find unapproachable, in his bestselling How Proust Can Change Your Life. Now he attempts a similar undertaking--not wholly successful--with the great philosophers. In clear, witty prose, de Botton (who directs the graduate philosophy program at London University) sets some of their ideas to the mundane task of helping readers with their personal problems. Consolation for those feeling unpopular is found in the trial and death of Socrates; for those lacking money, in Epicurus' vision of what is essential for happiness. Senecan stoicism assists us in enduring frustration; Schopenhauer, of all people, mends broken hearts (by showing that "happiness was never part of the plan"); and Nietzsche encourages us to embrace difficulties. Black-and-white illustrations cleverly (sometimes too cleverly) accent the text: a "Bacardi and friends" ad, for example, illustrates the Epicurean doctrine of confused needs. Self-deprecating confessions pepper the book, a succinct account of an episode of impotence being the most daring. The quietly ironic style and eclectic approach will gratify many postmodern readers. But since the philosophers' opinions often cancel each other out (Montaigne undermines Seneca's trust in rational self-mastery, and Nietzsche repudiates "virtually all" that Schopenhauer taught), readers will need to pick and choose whose cogitations to take to heart. At his best (e.g., on Socrates), de Botton offers lucid popularization--an enjoyable read with "a few consoling and practical things" to say.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I can usually relate very particular details about books I love, but this one has me confounded!! True to its title however, it sparked in and left with me a remarkable sense of consolation!! Beautifully written, concise, well drawn and to the point, I enjoyed this book almost as much as I enjoy listening to the author. :) highly recommended