The Consolations of Philosophy
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The Consolations of Philosophy

By (author) Alain de Botton

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The Consolations of Philosophy is Alain de Botton's internationally bestselling guide to life. Alain de Botton, bestselling author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, has set six of the finest minds in the history of philosophy to work on the problems of everyday life. Here then are Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche on some of the things that bother us all: lack of money, the pain of love, inadequacy, anxiety; the fear of failure and the pressure to conform. "Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives". (Independent). "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). "Few discussions on the great philosophers can have been so entertaining ...an ingenious, imaginative book". (Humphrey Carpenter, Sunday Times). "Witty, thoughtful, entertaining ...a stylish book, which manages to make philosophy both enjoyable and relevant". (Anthony Clare, Literary Review). "Gentle, helpful and humane...De Botton's instinct is surely right: if we are to bring philosophy to life we should look again at those thinkers who have sought to be not clever or paradoxical, but simply wise". (Roger Scruton, Mail on Sunday). Alain de Botton's bestselling books include The News, Religion for Atheists, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Art of Travel, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and The Architecture of Happiness. He lives in London and founded The School of Life and Living Architecture.

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  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 26mm | 280g
  • 11 Dec 2001
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • Ill.
  • 0140276610
  • 9780140276619
  • 3,209

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Author Information

Alain de Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1969. He is a philosopher and bestselling author in 30 countries and has written on subjects including love, travel, architecture and literature. Alain's debut novel, Essays in Love (US title On Love), was published when he was just twenty-three, and it went on to sell two million copies worldwide. Since then he has become best known for his nonfiction work, which includes his global hit How Proust Can Change Your Life and the equally successful Consolations of Philosophy, which approaches the problems of everyday life through the wisdom of six of history's finest philosophers. Other works include The Art of Travel, a lyrical and personal look at the psychology of travel, Status Anxiety, examining universal but rarely discussed anxieties around how others see us, and The Architecture of Happiness, discussing questions of beauty and ugliness in architecture. The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work explores the secret world of ordinary workplaces, from biscuit factories and tuna fishing boats to career counselling services and accountancy firms, asking fundamental questions about how we work and why. Religion for Atheists, looks at what committed atheists might take from the traditions of religion: ritual, architecture, art, morality, community and pilgrimage. Art as Therapy, co-written with art historian John Armstrong, explores how art can help us answer both the intimate and the everyday questions we all ask ourselves, and The News: A User's Manual urges readers to think differently about the media and how it manipulates our mentalities. Alain lives in London and spends much of his time running The School of Life, an organisation he founded in order to promote a new vision of education. He is also a founder of Living Architecture, which aims to give everyone access to the work of some of the greatest architects in the world. In April 2016, Alain will publish his first novel in almost twenty years: The Course of Love. This novel returns to many of the themes Alain first discussed in Essays in Love.

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Review quote

Witty, thoughful, entertaining ... a stylish book, which manages to make philosophy both enjoyable and relevant, at the same time providing a very sensible digest of consolations for many of our current psychological ills Literary Review Single-handedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us to live our lives Independent A pleasure to read. And good writing, like good philosophy, is always a consolation -- John Banville Irish Times

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Review text

Indulging yourself a little can be good for others as well as yourself. Alain de Botton follows his fancy in telling us about six philosophers, starting from the moment when he was looking for the chocolate milk but saw a picture of Socrates drinking the hemlock instead. So his tour of the six is engaging as well as instructive. (Kirkus UK)

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Customer reviews

Brilliant Read

Alain De Button has a rare gift - to be able to write in a manner that is both entertaining and insightful. The book tracks the course of philosophy from Socrates and Plato, to Epicurus, to Seneca, to Montaigne, to Schophenhauer, to Nitzsche. I can't speak on behalf of philosophical experts but I would highly recommend this to anyone who has a lamans interest in philosophy, or simply enjoys reading about the beauty of the world. An excellently written piece on how the wisdom of humanity can bring joy to life.show more
by Henry Wagner