The Consolations of Philosophy: Summary and book reviews of The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton, plus links to an excerpt from The Consolations of Philosophy and a biography of Alain de Botton.
The Consolations of Philosophy
by Alain de Botton
Hardcover: Apr 2000,
Paperback: Apr 2001,
From the author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, a delightful, truly consoling work that proves that philosophy can be a supreme source of help for our most painful everyday problems.
Perhaps only Alain de Botton could uncover practical wisdom in the writings of some of the greatest thinkers of all time. But uncover he does, and the result is an unexpected book of both solace and humor. Dividing his work into six sections -- each highlighting a different psychic ailment and the appropriate philosopher -- de Botton offers consolation for unpopularity from Socrates, for not having enough money from Epicurus, for frustration from Seneca, for inadequacy from Montaigne, and for a broken heart from Schopenhauer (the darkest of thinkers and yet, paradoxically, the most cheering). Consolation for envy -- and, of course, the final word on consolation -- comes from Nietzsche: "Not everything which makes us feel better is good for us."
This wonderfully engaging book will, however, make us feel better in a good way, with equal measures of wit and wisdom.
Time Out New York
[T]hanks to the author's characteristically whimsical and lucid style, the book does offer more than a refresher course in basic philosophy. Consolations like Proust before it, is downright delightful to read.
The quietly ironic style and eclectic approach will gratify many postmodern readers..... At his best (e.g., on Socrates), de Botton offers lucid popularization--an enjoyable read with a few consoling and practical things to say.
Congenial, refreshing, original and mercifully succinct de Botton may well achieve the impossible by making philosophy popular.
The New York Times Book Review - Jonathan Lear
There is a need for someone to bring that joyful activity of mind we call philosophy to the wider reading public. And de Botton ... writes with verve.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
Not bad. You feel good at the end, but somehow the lessons don't quite seem to stick or fall short of really consoling a person with all the nuances of life. Its general, but I suppose the style makes it that way.
Rated of 5
by Emily Pound
a must read!
Rated of 5
This is if not the best one of the best books I have ever read. I stongly suggest it. De Botton is clever in his way of intertwining philosophy with every day stuggles. Pick this book up you will not be able to put it down.
A novel about a man's search for meaning that illuminates our deepest concerns: love and death, marriage and family, and the mysterious tug of beauty on the human heart.
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