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Publisher's Summary

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 this 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 audiobook that is not only entertaining and thought-provoking, but genuinely wise and helpful as well.
©2004 Alain de Botton (P)2004 Penguin Books Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • SydneyAustralia
  • 06-21-05

This guy is amazing

If you like History, philosophy and psychology its all in here. Alain de Botton gathers up peoples' ideas from the last few hundred years and unveils a kind of secret depression that most people in western society suffers from and don't really understand or even know its there. The author explains some of the reasons why we get depressed over things like money, luxery goods and other peoples' opinion of us and by explaining this depression we are somewhat alleviated from it. He is a good speaker whos choice in words are very poetic. This book really opened my eyes and had an great effect on me.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Calvin
  • Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 11-01-05

excellent

A must read. One of my ten most important books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

loved it

great book!
Alain De Botton is a very eloquent writer and a good reader.
this book puts things in perspective. I really like that Alain never presumes to do the thinking for you. His work is never prescriptive. Instead he provides a wealth of perspectives that help you think clearer and make your own decisions.
A very easy and thought-provoking read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Illuminating

I found this book to help explain much of why modern society is so highly strung. Knowing the psychology around it has helped me relax a little around "status anxiety". It was an enjoyable read

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Judy Corstjens
  • 07-16-10

Talking about taboos

Alain de Bottin is intelligent and educated, and it is a pleasure to listen to his lucid, honest and sympathetic analysis of the human need for status. It has long been observed that there is a contradiction between the amount of goods enjoyed by our society and the happiness delivered by this material success. This book goes a long way towards explaining that conundrum.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Duncan
  • 05-20-06

excellent

Light and well read by the author.
Easily understandable.
Not lost in scholorly details but dealing with
important issues relevant to a truly social life.

Please read this.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Maria
  • 12-04-16

Wonderful

It is worth listening to this - if for no other reason, in order to consider an alternative perspective..

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Zeb Allan
  • 02-22-18

Fairly good content, performance was the standout

it felt as though Alain spent more time on the history of his concept and the proof points of why Status Anxiety exists. His points are valid but this could have been covered quickly, spending more time on the back chapters and providing steps to help minimise the effect on a societal, individual or family level.