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Status Anxiety Paperback – 13 Jan 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (13 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141014865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141014869
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alain de Botton is the author of Essays in Love (1993), The Romantic Movement (1994), Kiss and Tell (1995), How Proust can Change your Life (1997), The Consolations of Philosophy (2000) The Art of Travel (2002), Status Anxiety (2004) and most recently, The Architecture of Happiness (2006).



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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful By David on 13 Sep 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a feel-good book for anyone who thinks a bit about society and their place in it. Alain de Boton is like an incredibly well-read and eloquent participant in a discussion taking place in your head, confirming and developing so many thoughts and ideas that you've always had but are unlikely to have had the chance to ever analyse properly.
Importantly, the book steers clear of direct instruction on how you should respond to society, and for me it was the regularly evoked chains of thought that provided the greatest moments of realisation and satisfaction.
Taken at face value and read quickly, this book would still be a very interesting read, but it becomes a truly excellent one when used as an informed launch-pad for your own judgements, thoughts and ideas.
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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Cp Cavell-clarke on 18 Mar 2004
Format: Hardcover
Having loved Alain De Botton's previous books I approached Satatus Anxiety with some trepidation. Would it live up to it's author's own standards. The answer is a resounding yes. Status Anxiety is as well researched and as witty book as you could read.
In fact Alain de Botton might be the greatest labour saving device since the personal computer. He's read all the books we know we should have, and with a cheeky anecdotal style he makes sense of our lives while leaving the sense of his sources un-diminished. In The Consolations of Philosophy, he digested and explained the great philosophers, giving us an executive summary for coping with our jealousies and the anxiety of being human. Status Anxiety, finds De Botton analysing the ox-coveting curtain-twitcher in all of us. Ours is an age where we spend it like Beckham even if we can't quite earn it, Status Anxiety goes some way to revealing why. Alain de Botton, every home should have one.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By ejtooth on 3 Feb 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is divided into two sections: the first defining the problem the second possible solutions
The first section is a compelling analysis of the human condition and how our (modern) world plays upon our predisposition and fears. The second section, while equally well reasoned took me to where I could see dry land but left me stranded on a sand bar. It offers no new solutions but only the consolations of philosophy politics religion or non-conformity. In short de Botton concedes that we are captive to our often punishing assessment of ourselves as handed to us by society and faced with that, perhaps the best we can do is to change the way we consider that assessment - to change one value system for another more humane.
Having said that, these solutions are solutions and certainly well worth considering, however I suspect that the type of person who buys this book may have covered much of this ground already.
I don't wish to appear negative about a book that I valued and will certainly recommend and it is perhaps to his credit as a scholar, that he is honest enough not to peddle any simple solutions - but - part of me wished he had sold me something and not just set out the stall.

I found the book clear well reasoned well written and understandable. It is also a good read - this was a book that I read in a couple of days. It is obvious that Alain de Botton has an enviable understanding of his subject and it was a pleasure for a lazy reader to be guided through such a wide tapestry of thinkers - I have in the past tried to read some of these authors but have been defeated by their verbiage. All in all a very good read and a valuable tool to make you assess the way you live your life and react to the world and other people
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "gpk2002" on 10 Jun 2004
Format: Hardcover
Status Anxiety puts forward a proposition about society that is genuinely compelling and quite convincing. The book follows a logical structure starting with a discussion of the causes of status anxiety and finishes with some inspiring solutions. The text is generally clear and straightforward, although disappointingly has a tendency at times to ramble into unnecessarily philosophical language - destroying the clarity of thought meticulously built up over several pages.
Stick with it though, and you will find yourself thinking more deeply about what status is and whether it is really worth having.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Mar 2004
Format: Hardcover
The beauty of The Art of Travel was the way that de Botton intertwined the travel experiences of characters from the last 3000 years of civilisation with his own, present-day experiences. He uses similar figures from history to illustrate and ease our anxieties about status, but fails to link history to modern-day situations in the same engaging way. Apart from the fact that this makes the narrative rather flat, one is unfortunately left with the impression that perhaps de Botton does not experience these anxieties clearly himself. He comes across as the detached intellectual without a true grasp of the realities of modern life.
Never-the-less, interesting subject matter that made me realise that unless you divorce happiness from status, happiness will be a very elusive state of mind.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Moonymoon on 9 Jan 2006
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the TV programme which preceded this book, it was nice to see alternative ideas to the depressing aggressive consumerism which domniates TV presented. The book would serve as a very good introduction to thinking about these alternative ideas, but it is a superficial skim through. It is written in a lively, tongue-in-cheek style which is what gets Alain de Botton comissioned in the first place, but if you want something meatier, go to some of the many writers and artists he quotes liberally from.
The book only deals with status attached to wealth and materialism and ignores the complexities of social status. In the chapter on bohemia, for example, he doesn't address the way that being 'cultured' and part of an artistic community is often itself used as a badge of status to mark superiority. Artists are often perceived as having, or certainly claim to have, a greater sensitivity and insight to the common herd. As an academic I'm sure he knows how many people acquire knowledge and ideas as trophies to lord it over the less well educated. He doesn't explore the hierarchies inherent in these alternative communities, and the ways in which they include and exclude.
It is deceptively easy to make philosophy accessible, and Alain de Botton does an admirable job. This book is great if you are looking for an introduction, but go elsewhere if these ideas are not new to you. Good selection of pictures too - especially the cartoons.
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