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The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. Alain de Botton
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About the Author

Alain de Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1969. He is the author of Essays in Love, The Romantic Movement, Kiss and Tell, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel, Status Anxiety, The Architecture of Happiness, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, A Week at the Airport, Religion for Atheists, How to Think More About Sex, Art as Therapy, and The News: A User's Manual. Alain is a bestselling author in 30 countries. He lives in London, where he runs The School of Life and Living Architecture. Alain de Botton's first novel in nearly two decades, The Course of Love, will be published in April 2016.

Reviews

Veteran narrator David Colacci delivers an evenhanded, workmanlike performance of De Botton's philosophical exploration of the joys, pains and meaning of work. The erudite and frequently amusing meditation on vocation is accompanied by profiles of a broad spectrum of workers-employed in everything from biscuit manufacturing to rocket science, fishing to career counseling-with Colacci deftly capturing the text's perfect mix of sly humor and gravity and allowing listeners an opportunity to reflect on and question his or her own working life. A Pantheon hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 13). (June) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

This exploration of how and why we labor arrives at a poignant time, as global economic turmoil cuts off countless workers from their livelihoods-and the meaning work gives them. Essayist and novelist de Botton (How Proust Can Change Your Life) spends time with workers in England as well as the United States, including fishermen, rocket scientists, accountants, a landscape painter, and a career counselor, in pursuit of some fundamental truth about work. His conclusion is, perhaps unavoidably, elusive; he variously seems to praise commitment to a task and to deride it, to glorify and to condemn modern industry. De Botton filters his subjects' experiences through his own; though he is a witty, engaging interlocutor, his dominant voice distances the reader from those he aims to portray. Photographer Richard Baker contributes visual images of workers and workplaces, including a photo-essay documenting the process by which a tuna in the Indian Ocean becomes dinner for an English child. Providing provocative insights on specialization and the transitory nature of significance, this is sophisticated reading on a timely subject. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/09.]-Janet Ingraham Dwyer, Worthington Libs., OH Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

De Botton's wit and powers of ironic observation are on display throughout what is a stylish and original book. The workplace brings out the best in his writing * Sunday Times *
Timely, wonderfully readable. De Botton has pretty much got to the bottom of the subject * Spectator *
Terribly funny, touches us all * Mail on Sunday *
Brilliant, enormously engaging * Guardian *

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