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Bestselling author Alain de Botton considers how our private homes and public edifices influence how we feel, and how we could build dwellings in which we would stand a better chance of happiness.In this witty, erudite look at how we shape, and are shaped by, our surroundings, Alain de Botton applies Stendhal's motto that "Beauty is the promise of happiness" to the spaces we inhabit daily. Why should we pay attention to what architecture has to say to us? de Botton asks provocatively.With his trademark lucidity and humour, de Botton traces how human needs and desires have been served by styles of architecture, from stately Classical to minimalist Modern, arguing that the stylistic choices of a society can represent both its cherished ideals and the qualities it desperately lacks. On an individual level, de Botton has deep sympathy for our need to see our selves reflected in our surroundings; he demonstrates with great wisdom how buildings -- just like friends -- can serve as guardians of our identity. Worrying about the shape of our sofa or the colour of our walls might seem self-indulgent, but de Botton considers the hopes and fears we have for our homes at a new level of depth and insight. When shopping for furniture or remodelling the kitchen, we don't just consider functionality but also the major questions of aesthetics and the philosophy of art: What is beauty? Can beautiful surroundings make us good? Can beauty bring happiness? The buildings we find beautiful, de Botton concludes, are those that represent our ideas of a meaningful life. The Architecture of Happiness marks a return to what Alain does best -- taking on a subject whose allure is at once tantalizing and a little forbidding and offering to readers a completely beguiling and original exploration of the subject. As he did with Proust, philosophy, and travel, now he does with architecture.From the Hardcover edition.
Any Baedeker will tell uswherewe ought to travel, but only Alain de Botton will tell ushowandwhy. With the same intelligence and insouciant charm he brought toHow Proust Can Save Your Life,de Botton considers the pleasures of anticipation; the allure of the exotic, and the value of noticing everything from a seascape in Barbados to the takeoffs at Heathrow. Even as de Botton takes the reader along on his own peregrinations, he also cites such distinguished fellow-travelers as Baudelaire, Wordsworth, Van Gogh, the biologist Alexander von Humboldt, and the 18th-century eccentric Xavier de Maistre, who catalogued the wonders of his bedroom. The Art of Travelis a wise and utterly original book. Don't leave home without it. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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.
Alain de Botton combines two unlikely genres--literary biography and self-help manual--in the hilarious and unexpectedly practical How Proust Can Change Your Life.Who would have thought that Marcel Proust, one of the most important writers of our century, could provide us with such a rich source of insight into how best to live life? Proust understood that the essence and value of life was the sum of its everyday parts. As relevant today as they were at the turn of the century, Proust's life and work are transformed here into a no-nonsense guide to, among other things, enjoying your vacation, reviving a relationship, achieving original and unclichéd articulation, being a good host, recognizing love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on a first date. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust's essays, letters and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: witty, intelligent, pragmatic. He might well change your life.
From the author of The Architecture of Happiness, a thought-provoking look at the manic and peculiar position that news has achieved in our lives. What does the news do to our brains, our souls and our views of one another? We spend an inordinate amount of time checking on it. It molds how we view reality, we're increasingly addicted to it on our luminous gadgets, we check it every morning when we wake up and every evening before we sleep-and yet the news has rarely been the focus of an accessible, serious, saleable book-length study. Until now. Mixing snippets of current news with philosophical reflections, The News will blend the timeless with the contemporary, and bring the wisdom of thousands of years of culture to bear on our contemporary obsessions and neuroses. The News ranges across news categories-from politics to murders, from economics to celebrities, from the weather to paparazzi shows--in search of answers to the questions: "What do we want from this?" and "Is it doing us any good?" After The News, we'll never look at a celebrity story, the report on a tropical storm, or the sex scandal of a politician in quite the same way again.
The news is everywhere. We can't stop constantly checking it on our computer screens, but what is this doing to our minds? We are never really taught how to make sense of the torrent of news we face every day, writes Alain de Botton (author of the best-selling The Architecture of Happiness), but this has a huge impact on our sense of what matters and of how we should lead our lives. In his dazzling new book, de Botton takes twenty-five archetypal news stories--including an airplane crash, a murder, a celebrity interview and a political scandal--and submits them to unusually intense analysis with a view to helping us navigate our news-soaked age. He raises such questions as Why are disaster stories often so uplifting? What makes the love lives of celebrities so interesting? Why do we enjoy watching politicians being brought down? Why are upheavals in far-off lands often so boring? In The News: A User's Manual, de Botton has written the ultimate guide for our frenzied era, certain to bring calm, understanding and a measure of sanity to our daily (perhaps even hourly) interactions with the news machine.(With black-and-white illustrations throughout.)From the Hardcover edition.
De Botton is an author of both fiction and non-fiction who has employed a philosophical perspective in this volume to discuss "the joys and perils of the modern workplace. " Written for general readers, this volume examines a wide variety of occupations in the fields of art, finance, manufacturing, aviation and science to uncover what makes employment either fulfilling or "soul-destroying. " Black-and-white photographs by Richard Baker provide an interesting counterpoint to the text. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
What if religions are neither all true nor all nonsense? The long-running and often boring debate between fundamentalist believers and non-believers is finally moved forward by Alain de Botton's inspiring new book, which boldly argues that the supernatural claims of religion are entirely false--but that it still has some very important things to teach the secular world. Religion for Atheists suggests that rather than mocking religion, agnostics and atheists should instead steal from it--because the world's religions are packed with good ideas on how we might live and arrange our societies. Blending deep respect with total impiety, de Botton (a non-believer himself) proposes that we look to religion for insights into how to, among other concerns, build a sense of community, make our relationships last, overcome feelings of envy and inadequacy, inspire travel and reconnect with the natural world. For too long non-believers have faced a stark choice between either swallowing some peculiar doctrines or doing away with a range of consoling and beautiful rituals and ideas. At last, in Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton has fashioned a far more interesting and truly helpful alternative.
With characteristic originality, lucidity, and lan, de Botton addresses the anxieties that seem inextricably embedded in our pursuit of success and status, and explores what, if anything, we can do about them.
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