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 ...Read MoreThe 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.Read Less
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Alain De Botton has a gift, namely that of making relevant and easy to understand topics that are not normally tackled by the average layman. In "The Architecture of Happiness" he takes us on a journey through the fascinating world of architecture, showing us why we respond to it the way we do and how much of it is below the level of consciousness. Here, on the other hand, Alain strolls through the world of philosophy, choosing such big names as Socrates, Epicureus, Schopenhauer and others to speak to us about the angst, the fascination and the frustrations of this life by unwrapping for us the way the great philosophers thought about it.
Even if you've never taken a philosophy course in your life and generally don't care to, you will find something here to show you that philosophers aren't crazy men with too much time on their hands. Even if they most often get so wordy and complicated that we can not longer follow them, they are ultimately struggling with the very same questions that you and I do.
Very readable and good fun!
Publishers Weekly, 2000-03-20 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. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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