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.