We all know the headiness and excitement of the early days of love. But what comes after? In Edinburgh a couple, Rabih and Kirsten, fall in love. They get married, they have children—but no long-term relationship is as simple as "happily ever after". The Course of Love is a novel that explores what happens after the birth of love, what it takes to maintain love, and what happens to our original ideals under the pressures of an average existence.
Alain de Botton has performed a stunning feat: He has transformed arcane philosophy into something accessible and entertaining, useful and kind. Drawing on the work of six of the world's most brilliant thinkers, de Botton has arranged a panoply of wisdom to guide us through our most common problems.
"Cheering, empathic, helpful"
For anyone who ever wondered what Marcel Proust had in mind when he wrote the one-and-a-quarter-million words of In Search of Lost Time (while bedridden no less), Alain de Botton has the answer. For, in this stylish, erudite and frequently hilarious book, de Botton dips deeply into Proust’s life and work - his fiction, letter, and conversations – and distils from them that rare self-help manual: one that is actually helpful.
"A nice petite primer on Proust"
This is a book about an almost universal anxiety that is rarely mentioned: an anxiety about what others think of us, about whether we're judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser. This is a book about status anxiety. Best-selling author Alain de Botton asks, with lucidity and charm, where our worries about status come from and what, if anything, we can do to surmount them.
"A book about one of society's worst diseases"
Essays in Love is a stunningly original love story. Taking in Aristotle, Wittgenstein, history, religion and Groucho Marx, Alain de Botton charts the progress of a love affair from the first kiss to argument and reconciliation, from intimacy and tenderness to the onset of anxiety and heartbreak.
"Every relationship you've ever analyzed"
One of the great, but often unmentioned, causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kinds of chairs, walls, buildings, and streets that surround us. And yet, a concern for architecture is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. Alain de Botton starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and argues that it is architecture's task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.
At dinner parties and over coffee, Rabih and Kirsten's friends always ask them the same question: how did you meet? The answer comes easily - it's a happy story, one they both love to tell. But there is a second part to this story, the answer to a question their friends never ask: what happened next? Rabih and Kirsten find each other, fall in love, get married. Society tells us this is the end of the story. In fact it is only the beginning.
"Every couple should read/listen to this book."
We don't think too much about sex; we're merely thinking about it in the wrong way.
So asserts Alain de Botton in this rigorous and supremely honest book designed to help us navigate the intimate and exciting - yet often confusing and difficult - experience that is sex. Few of us tend to feel we're entirely normal when it comes to sex, and what we’re supposed to be feeling rarely matches up with the reality. This audiobook argues that 21st-century sex is ultimately fated to be a balancing act between love and desire, and adventure and commitment.
Aside from love, few actvities seem to promise us as much happiness as going traveling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs, and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel, few people seem to talk about why we should go and how we can become more fulfilled by doing so.
"a terrible book"
The boring debate between fundamentalist believers and non-believers is finally moved on by Alain de Botton's inspiring new book, which boldly argues that the supernatural claims of religion are of course entirely false - and yet that religions still have important things to teach the secular world.
"A valuable resource for believers"
"Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person" is from the May 29, 2016 Opinion section of The New York Times. It was written by Alain De Botton and narrated by Kristi Burns.
We spend most of our waking lives at work - in occupations often chosen by our unthinking 16-year-old selves. And yet we rarely ask ourselves how we got there or what it might mean for us. Equally intrigued by work's pleasures and its pains, Alain de Botton heads into the office, the factory, the fishing fleet, and the logistics centre, ears and eyes open to the beauty, interest, and sheer strangeness of the modern workplace. Why do we do it? What makes it pleasurable? And why do we daily exhaust not only ourselves but also the planet?
We spend most of our waking lives at work - in occupations often chosen by our unthinking younger selves. And yet we rarely ask ourselves how we got there or what our occupations mean to us. Characteristically lucid, clever, and inventive, de Botton's "song for occupations" is a celebration and exploration of an aspect of life that is all too often ignored and a book that shines a revealing light on the essential meaning of work in our lives.
"The private work life of a biscuit brand manager"
In ancient Greece or Rome, philosophers were seen as natural authorities on the most pressing questions. However, since then, the idea of finding wisdom from philosophy has come to seem bizarre. Enter a university department today and ask to study wisdom, and you will politely but firmly be shown the door. The Consolations of Philosophy sets out to refute the notion that good philosophy must be irrelevant and gathers together six great philosophers who were convinced of the power of philosophical insight to work a practical effect on our lives.
The news is everywhere. We can’t stop constantly checking it on our computer screens, but what is this doing to our minds? We are never really taught how to make sense of the torrent of news we face every day, writes Alain de Botton (author of the best-selling The Architecture of Happiness), but this has a huge impact on our sense of what matters and of how we should lead our lives.
"The News and a Treatise on Life"
One of the great, but often unmentioned, causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kind of walls, chairs, buildings, and streets we’re surrounded by. And yet a concern for architecture and design is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. The Architecture of Happiness starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be - and argues that it is architecture’s task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.
In The Romantic Movement, Alain de Botton explores the progress of a love affair from first meeting to breaking up, intercut with musings on the nature of art of love. The relationship between Alice, an advertising executive, and Eric, a banker, is examined at every stage, supplemented by quizzes and commentary by a chorus of great philosophers, from Descartes to Plato to Aretha Franklin. The Romantic Movement will charm listeners and lovers alike with wit, insight, and intelligence.
"Narrator < Book"
We all worry about what others think of us. We all long to succeed and fear failure. We all suffer - to a greater or lesser degree, usually privately and with embarrassment - from status anxiety. For the first time, Alain de Botton gives a name to his universal condition and sets out to investigate both its origins and possible solutions. He looks at history, philosophy, economics, art, and politics - and reveals the many ingenious ways that great minds have overcome their worries. The result is a book that is not only entertaining and thought-provoking - but genuinely wise and helpful as well.
In his extraordinary new book, Alain de Botton explores the importance of buildings in our lives, pondering our attachment to our homes and considering such questions as: Why do people disagree about taste? Can beautiful surroundings make us good?