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The News: A User's Manual Hardcover – 6 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (6 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 024114647X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241146477
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 18.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,282 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).


Product Description

Review

"Short and pithy essays drill down beneath the news item to the general absurdity of life and observations of how the media is constantly feeding us information without real context. Interspersed throughout are references to art, literature, and culture and their more enduring messages in contrast to the impression left by the news of a desperate lack of humanity. This is a thought-provoking look at the impact of news on culture and individuals." --Vanessa Bush, "Booklist""Known for his wide-ranging curiosity and penchant for philosophical musing, the author of "How Proust Can Change Your Life, Religion for Atheists", and "The Art of Travel" has turned his attention to the news. This branch of the media that incorporates everything from war to celebrities getting pizza is almost omnipresent in our lives, and de Botton here examines how that affects us and how much longer the news can get bigger." --"The Millions", Most Anticipated: The Great 2014 Book Preview"de Botton examines excerpts of contemporary news, mixing them with philosophical observations about the impact the news has on us, why we rely on it so heavily, and how it impacts the way in which we see the world." --"Huffington Post" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Alain de Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1969. He is a philosopher and bestselling author in 30 countries and has written on subjects including love, travel, architecture and literature.

Alain's debut novel, Essays in Love (US title On Love), was published when he was just twenty-three, and it went on to sell two million copies worldwide. Since then he has become best known for his nonfiction work, which includes his global hit How Proust Can Change Your Life and the equally successful Consolations of Philosophy, which approaches the problems of everyday life through the wisdom of six of history's finest philosophers. Other works include The Art of Travel, a lyrical and personal look at the psychology of travel, Status Anxiety, examining universal but rarely discussed anxieties around how others see us, and The Architecture of Happiness, discussing questions of beauty and ugliness in architecture. The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work explores the secret world of ordinary workplaces, from biscuit factories and tuna fishing boats to career counselling services and accountancy firms, asking fundamental questions about how we work and why. Religion for Atheists, looks at what committed atheists might take from the traditions of religion: ritual, architecture, art, morality, community and pilgrimage. Art as Therapy, co-written with art historian John Armstrong, explores how art can help us answer both the intimate and the everyday questions we all ask ourselves, and The News: A User's Manual urges readers to think differently about the media and how it manipulates our mentalities.

Alain lives in London and spends much of his time running The School of Life, an organisation he founded in order to promote a new vision of education. He is also a founder of Living Architecture, which aims to give everyone access to the work of some of the greatest architects in the world. In April 2016, Alain will publish his first novel in almost twenty years: The Course of Love. This novel returns to many of the themes Alain first discussed in Essays in Love.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By stones1986 on 6 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
After reading The Consolidations of Philosophy and Religion for Atheists, I was really looking forward to this book. Sadly some of the chapters are a bit weak. We occasionally get lost in his fetish with art, which I sometimes find a bit annoying. But there was some great chapters on the “power of photography” and how we rarely here about “ordinary day-to-day lives of people around the world”. Sadly the news does have a strange fetish with bad news, and it’s pretty rare to come across good news. (Maybe a good news section on page 2 might be a good idea?) It’s also interesting how the news tries to hold powerful people to account. It’s worth a read, but it’s defiantly one of his weaker books. There was even times when I was bored reading, (which is usually very rare for an Alain De Botton book). I think the book could possibly have been a bit shorter, or could have been a large chapter as part of a larger “Philosophy of modern media book”.. That said you can’t really trust what anyone really writes these days…. So read the book and come to YOUR own conclusion.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sandcastle24 on 22 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some years ago, on the advice of a motivational guru, I was advised to stop watching the news as it would only depress me. By and large I have followed his advice, finding that if news is necessary to me it will somehow find me. I heard Alain de Boton being interviewed about this book on the radio, and thought it sounded very interesting. I don't think I've highlighted so many excerpts on my Kindle app for any book before. So many insights which I agreed with. I shall enjoy dipping into The Philosopher's Mail for interpretation of news stories in future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nick Humphreys on 12 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The whole idea of analysing what the news is, and what it means to us is very interesting, but some of the conclusions to draw from that felt a bit weak and the style of examples became quite repetitive. Definitely worth a look though.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Coco Kemp-Welch on 6 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought this was a clever, insightful and at times surprisingly funny guide to the modern media. De Botton looks at things differently and helps de-construct this messy world and challenges our pre-conceptions about it. And not in a boring "media studies" way. No doubt reviewers from the media will not like being on the receiving end of his intelligence and humour but ignore them, this is a fascinating and clever read.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By sj sebag-montefiore on 6 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
News a Users Manual is part of Alain de Botton's sublime philosophical survey of the modern world and how to exist in it and even be amused by it. He's done workplaces and art and love and now he is doing the News. I am addicted to the news like everyone else and yet I find this blizzard of information exhausting and confusing and often somewhat painful; and there is far too much of it and alot of it is unnecessary. So its a wonderful idea to write a guide, a users manual to understanding, analysing and navigating this constant flow, avalanche, this blizzard, this cannonade of information that bombards us at all times. but this book is much more than that. I have read the de Botton books since he started - first the novels of love then the Proustian and philosophical books - and I always relish his voice and his original approach. I am an author myself and I know a lot about how the news is made but I have found so many ideas and concepts and facts in this book that I hadn't known before or more often approaches I hadn't thought of. And so I especially relished not just the cleverness of the writing, the bon motes but its exceptional originality - no one else does it like this. This is a guide to modern living and I think the fun of this is that de Botton is gradually writing a body of work that should be published in one big volume on how to live in the 21st century. As always with de Botton, it is witty, its playful, its very unpolitically correct, its full of wisdom, whimsy and unusual facts but also its full of common sense and wry knowledge of the world. To read de Botton the only thing you need is a sense of humour - the sense of fun is never absent and there is usually a smile behind even his most grave pronouncements.Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sean Gilligan on 14 Feb. 2015
Format: Hardcover
For a while I've been feeling disillusioned with the news, even formerly reliable sources like The BBC. It seems increasingly to be a noxious brew of empty political rhetoric, tacky infotainment, disaster porn and sexual hysteria. So I was looking forward to this book, which promised an analysis of the news and its discontents, with a prescription for their remedy. How disappointing then to find rather shallow observations that any bright A-level student could have made, a style that meandered about without seeming to have a destination, and conclusions that seemed to amount to "don't take too much news" and "concentrate on good news stories". Not the hard-hitting, thought-provoking epistemological examination of the place of news media in our society desired by somebody who wants to be reliably informed about what goes on in the world without being overwhelmed. I find Alain de Botton a mixed blessing; he popularises the idea that philosophical thinking can be applied to everyday life, but he doesn't apply it particularly well, or thoroughly. There's a great book to be written about this subject, but I'm afraid this wasn't it.
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