The "Consolations of Philosophy" is Alain de Botton's internationally bestselling guide to life. It is the inspiration for the TV series "Philsophy: A Guide to Happiness. 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 Nietsche 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 was born in 1969 and is the author of non-fiction essays on themes ranging from love and travel to architecture and philosophy. His bestselling books include "Essays in Love"; "The Romantic Movement"; "Kiss and Tell"; "Status Anxiety"; "How Proust Can Change Your Life"; "The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work"; "The Art of Travel"; and, "The Architecture of Happiness and Religion for Atheists". He lives in London and founded The School of Life and Living Architecture.
About the Author
Alain de Botton was born in 1969. He is the author of three novels and the bestselling HOW PROUST CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
Y'know, it's not that I didn't enjoy this book- I've read some Alain de Botton books in the past and have enjoyed them. I think it's mostly that philosophy was something I enjoyed a lot in the past, particularly as a child when I read Sophie's World and was astounded and marveled and thought it was so deep and interesting. Now I just can't be bothered dealing with it.
But this is a good layman's book, and sums up some of the main philosopher's theories in a few paragraphs.
The author provides a remarkable commentary on five of the worlds leading philosophers. Not only does he portrary such views in an edifying light, but he also achieves a rare elucidation that makes for an easy understanding of the philosophies themselves. This is even when the concept of consolation is not considered.
The author himself mentions that commentaries are hardly as reviled or excorriated as the subject itself; and in with regard to this axiom this text does not fail, it allows a greater discernment and understanding of philosophies than could be achieved by reading the original texts in their obfuscating format.
Though i do disagree with many of the philosophies, especially in regard to Scrophenhaurs will to life, this is in no way demonstrative of a failure on the part of the documentarian. It also testament to the authors ability to mould dialectic in that he can actually present philosophers such as Nietszche as consoling rather than disconcerting. Especially, when it is rumoured that philosophy contributed to Nietzche's madness and depression
Alain de Botton with his book The Consolations of Philosophy, manages to take on traditionally unapproachable and hard to digest philosophical notions and concepts, and win the battle to explain them to us. He achieves this with his own inimitable style - his writing is direct and straightforward, he has a great sense of humour, and he manages to avoid alienating readers by condescending us (which many philosophical books can tend to do).
De Botton covers a lot of ground in this book - consolation for unpopularity from Socrates, consolation for those lacking money from Epicurus, Stoicism to help us cope with frustration, Schopenhauer to help mend broken hearts and Nietzsche to help us overcome difficulties.
He pulls all of this off with ease - you won't be disappointed with the help that you'll find in this book!!
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