Alain de Botton

Born on 20 Dec 1969
Writer / Philosopher


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The Feeling of the Sublime (11)

For thousands of years, it had been nature - and its supposed creator - that had had a monopoly on awe. It had been the icecaps, the deserts, the volcanoes and the glaciers that had given us a sense ...
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

Anxiety Awareness (12)

Life seems to be a process of replacing one anxiety with another and substituting one desire for another - which is not to say that we should never strive to overcome any of our anxieties or fulfil a...
Status Anxiety

Looking at Others in the Wrong Way (13)

The unsympathetic assessments we make of others are usually the result of nothing more sinister than our habit of looking at them in the wrong way, through lenses clouded by distraction, exhaustion a...
Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion

Somebody and Nobody (14)

People who hold important positions in society are commonly labelled "somebodies," and their inverse "nobodies" - both of which are, of course, nonsensical descriptors, for we are all, by necessity, ...
Status Anxiety

A Meaningful Job (15)

When does a job feel meaningful? Whenever it allows us to generate delight or reduce suffering in others. Though we are often taught to think of ourselves as inherently selfish, the longing to act me...
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

Desperate Need for Love (16)

In the oasis complex, the thirsty man images he sees water, palm trees, and shade not because he has evidence for the belief, but because he has a need for it. Desperate needs bring about a hallucina...
On Love

A Helpful Vision of Ourselves (17)

We depend on our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We look to our buildings to hold us, like a kind of psychological mould, to a helpful v...
The Architecture of Happiness

Cynicism and Love (18)

If cynicism and love lie at opposite ends of a spectrum, do we not sometimes fall in love in order to escape the debilitating cynicism to which we are prone? Is there not in every coup de foudre a ce...
On Love

Home Need (19)

We need a home in the psychological sense as much as we need one in the physical: to compensate for a vulnerability. We need a refuge to shore up our states of mind, because so much of the world is o...
The Architecture of Happiness

What We Seek (20)

While a common reaction to seeing a thing of beauty is to want to buy it, our real desire may be not so much to own what we find beautiful as to lay permanent claim to the inner qualities it embodies...
The Architecture of Happiness
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."