- Audio CD
- Publisher: Brilliance Corporation; Unabridged edition (2 Jun. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1423392892
- ISBN-13: 978-1423392897
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.5 x 17.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,604,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work Audio CD – Audiobook, 2 Jun 2009
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More About the Author
To some degree, what the reader takes way from Alain de Botton's The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work will be influenced by what that particular reader brings to it. If you are looking for a serious and exhaustive analysis of work and how it affects both our psychological equilibrium and general sense of well-being, you may be disappointed; although de Botton draws on a variety of examples (some straightforward and illuminating, others eccentric and whimsical), his strategy here is more subtle and allusive, not something which can be demonstrated by adducing a carefully marshalled tranche of facts. Secondly, of course, anyone familiar with the author's approach will hardly be expecting a linear demonstration of a thesis, as might be gathered from his delightful How Proust Can Change Your Life. Alain de Botton is offering something at once insightful and idiosyncratic: a practical guide to a better quality of life through an off-kilter approach to the subject of work. In the earlier book, we were offered a (not entirely serious) method of extrapolating from the brilliant (and famously difficult) French writer a host of unconventional insights into dealing with our own personal emotional and intellectual fulfilment. Here, the notion of work is addressed with a similarly light/serious touch, following a variety of processes (such as the trajectory of a fish from the ocean to its final destination on the shelves of a supermarket) to examine the multiplicity of possible approaches to work.
The real insights here, however, relate to the way in which work (as de Botton sees it) is both a validation of the true purpose of our existence – and the most assertive way to 'rage against the dying of the light' – in other words, to keep at bay the daunting realisation of what a brief flicker of existence we have. It's a book that is both affirmative and (in its eccentric fashion) quietly persuasive. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Clever, provocative and fresh as a daisy (Literary Review on The Architecture of Happiness )
Full of splendid ideas, often happily and beautifully expressed . . . an engaging and intelligent book (Independent on The Architecture of Happiness ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
One chapter for example is all about biscuits, even a dunker like myself would find reading a whole chapter about biscuits a terrible bore, but Botton doesn't try to persuade the reader to feign interest in the chapter, or even in biscuits as a whole, rather the writing style is as seductive as allowing expensive chocolate to slowly melt in the mouth so the taste buds savour every moment. When reading the biscuit chapter I was switched off to the content in favour of the seductive haze of the words, the descriptive values, the whole structure from sentence to paragraph allowed me to sail through the chapter and indeed the entire book' feeling completely relaxed and entirely enveloped in his work.
You should read this book not only because of the great philosophical insights to be gained, but also for the distinct pleasure of reading quality literature and raising us from the so much trashy literature that litters the shelves of once reputable dealers who now just want to cash in on the latest pop. culture books.
A fantastic read, highly recommended!
At the same time, though, in some ways it left me feeling as unfulfilled as many of lives that he describes. (Perhaps that's the point?) The sorrows outweigh heavily the pleasures, although that's no doubt more a reflection of the subject matter than the author. My main disappointment was the lack of analysis. The book's conclusions seem to be that:
(i) the mundane, absurdly specialised and trivial things we do are no different from what we always did insofar as they provide us with the material means to survive; and
(ii) if we didn't occupy ourselves with work, we'd have bigger things to worry about, namely the onmipresence of death and the pointlessness of our existence.
I agree with Alain on both counts, but was hoping for much more. The other small disappointments for me were the fact that ADB seems not to have been able to resist the temptation to scorn some of his subjects and also his obvious detachment from the world he was describing. Both of these issues caused me to ask myself for the first time quite who is ADB? My extensive research (i.e. a quick look at Wikipedia) tells me that ADB is fortunate enough to have a substantial family legacy waiting in the wings should he need it and that has slightly coloured my view of this book as a whole.
On the whole though, another enjoyable and thought-provoking read. Keep up the good work Alain...
Many of the people the author encounters are treated with a good deal of sympathy and one feels his observations to be largely accurate based on his personal impressions of them. I grew to feel admiration, respect and envy for people who are emphatically engaged in their professions and passionate about the importance of their labour. However, at some points de Botton's prose lapse almost too far into a novelistic approach so that individuals he meets are fitted into the author's schematic understanding of certain workers' reality.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really enjoying this book. It's the first of his I have read and it's something a bit different. I love the detail with which he describes unusual subjects and his observations... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Madge
I think often that the secret is with de Botton is that he is simple without being simplistic. He consistently manages to relate his ideas in a clear and unpretentious manner. Read morePublished 11 months ago by keen reader
This book has very little philosophy in it. It just describes various people's jobs. This philosophy light approach does not in any way make what little philosophy there is more... Read morePublished 12 months ago by S.A.
While at times an interesting and thought-provoking read, I struggled throughout to understand how the title of the book related to a lot of the wandering experiences and thoughts... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Trish Frizzell
If you have ever worked, or considered working, this is a wonderful way to remember why you did it (apart from the money). Read morePublished 19 months ago by Nina Martin
It's a nice piece of work but shows to much evidence of someone who's taken a cursory glance at someone else's story, vaguely picking up on what their lives are like and then leave... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Me