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The consolations of philosophy by Alain De…

The consolations of philosophy (original 2000; edition 2000)

by Alain De Botton

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2,943543,033 (3.81)35
From the internationally heralded author of How Proust Can Change Your Life comes this remarkable new book that presents the wisdom of some of the greatest thinkers of the ages as advice for our day to day struggles. Solace for the broken heart can be found in the words of Schopenhauer. The ancient Greek Epicurus has the wisest, and most affordable, solution to cash flow problems. A remedy for impotence lies in Montaigne. Seneca offers advice upon losing a job. And Nietzsche has shrewd counsel for everything from loneliness to illness. The Consolations of Philosophy is a book as accessibly erudite as it is useful and entertaining.… (more)
Title:The consolations of philosophy
Authors:Alain De Botton
Info:London Hamilton 2000
Collections:Your library

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The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton (2000)


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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
This was an airport buy and a flight read. De Botton covers Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche in an effort to point out that: Not everything which makes us feel better is good for us. Not everything which hurts may be bad. In effect, to regard "distress" as "bad" is "almost as stupid as the will to abolish bad weather". This was useful reading, and works in well with my reading of Seneca, Montaigne, and Nietzsche, and provided a helpful overview to my current reading of Epicurus, and also Tina Gilbertson's now-read Constructive Wallowing. Two quotes struck me: A man's peace of mind does not depend upon Fortune - Seneca (p. 97) and I have begun to be a friend to myself - Seneca citing Hecato (p. 103). This was an easy read but made easier by my familiarity with the other authors. Had I read this without that understanding I have developed over the last year, I would have missed much. Yet I think it is a good overview of why The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates.but also it provides an interesting introduction to the use of reason and choice to overcome what distresses us. ( )
  madepercy | Dec 28, 2017 |
Recently I've been following De Botton on Facebook, and watching his lectures has reminded me how much I enjoy the way he presents his arguments (even when he sometimes makes me want to shake him). So when I was recently at Barnes & Noble, going crazy buying Christmas books for the kids, I wandered around a bit looking for a few of his books. This wasn't one of the two I was hoping for, but it looked promising as well, so I picked it up.

I really, really like De Botton's writing. Light, conspiratorial, always sympathetic. The text is peppered with photos, and as I've now seen several of his lectures online, I can hear his voice as I read, which makes reading this book very similar to watching one of his PowerPoint presentations.

Well, enough on De Botton's style. The substance of this book is an introduction to philosophy of sorts. But much more painless than Sophie's World, which I could force myself to finish. He begins with the assertion that philosophers, both ancient and modern, have much to offer us in our real, day-to-day lives. He then presents us with the life and work of six philosophers, each to console us for some particular ill in life -- for example, Epicurus to console us for not having enough money.

Each chapter was fascinating and insightful, rich with De Botton's sense of humor (which I enjoy, I'm sure not everyone does). I want to know more about each of the philosophers, but in the meantime I feel the morsel I've had of each is enough to direct my mind into some better thoughts, perhaps leading to a more satisfied life.

I adored it, and will be seeking more of De Botton's work in the future. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
Looks at attitudes of 6 philosophers
  stevholt | Nov 19, 2017 |
History of the early evolution of philosophy. Really easy reading and I found it fascinating.
( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
This is an accessible and well-written introduction to philosophy (not all of them are). Instead of going the textbook route, Alain de Botton mixes short biographies of major philosophers with well-organized explanations of their works to show how philosophy can be used to deal with common problems. Covering only six philosophers in under 300 pages means that there's only space for the essence of each approach, which keeps the reader from being swamped. For instance, there's a lot in Stoicism about physics, cosmology, virtue, and so on. But de Botton's focus is on what in Seneca's life and writings can help us learn to cope with frustration, and so those topics aren't mentioned. And the whole book is saved from turning into a historical work by de Botton's use of modern examples like falling in love with a fellow passenger on a train or a story of a sudden airplane crash. Most pages in this book have at least one photograph, directly tied to whatever is being discussed at that point. I thought this made the book even more interesting, although I'm wondering how some ereaders will handle it, and if the audiobook version has to make allowances for that.

Generally, I recommend this book both as an introduction to Western philosophy and as a practical demonstration of using philosophy to improve lives. ( )
  Silvernfire | Aug 31, 2013 |
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A few years ago, during a bitter New York winter, with an afternoon to spare before catching a flight to London, I found myself in a deserted gallery on the upper level of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140276610, 0141038373

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