Alain de Botton

Born on 20 Dec 1969
Writer / Philosopher


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Evaluating Critics (1)

What should worry us is not the number of people who oppose us, but how good their reasons are for doing so. We should therefore divert our attention away from the presence of unpopularity to the exp...
The Consolations of Philosophy

News Against Perfection (2)

Though anger seems a pessimistic response to a situation, it is at root a symptom of hope: the hope that the world can be better than it is. The man who shouts every time he loses his house keys is b...
The News: A User's Manual

The News is the Teacher (3)

For all the talk of education, modern societies neglect to examine by far the most influential means by which their populations are educated. Whatever happens in our classrooms, the more potent and o...
The News: A User's Manual

Our Own Moral Commandments (4)

We continue to need exhortations to be sympathetic and just, even if we do not believe that there is a God who has a hand in wishing to make us so. We no longer have to be brought into line by the th...
Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion

The Ingredients of Fulfilment (5)

No one is able to produce a great work of art without experience, nor achieve a worldly position immediately, nor be a great lover at the first attempt; and in the interval between initial failure an...
The Consolations of Philosophy

Our Work Should Make us Happy (6)

However powerful our technology and complex our corporations, the most remarkable feature of the modern working world may in the end be internal, consisting in an aspect of our mentalities: in the wi...
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

The Unbearable Truth (7)

Confident that cast-iron walls separate our nature and situation from theirs, comfortable in the well-broken-in saddle of our high horse, we have exchanged our capacity to be tolerant for detachment ...
Status Anxiety

The Need for Criticism (8)

Life is a phenomenon in need of criticism, for we are, as fallen creatures, in permanent danger of worshipping false gods, of failing to understand ourselves and misinterpreting the behaviour of othe...
Status Anxiety

The Artistic Imagination (9)

A storyteller who provided us with such a profusion of details would rapidly grow maddening. Unfortunately, life itself often subscribes to this mode of storytelling, wearing us out with repetition, ...
The Art of Travel

Looking at Our Screens (10)

It is one of the unexpected disasters of the modern age that our new unparalleled access to information has come at the price of our capacity to concentrate on anything much. The deep, immersive thin...
Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."