15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
brilliant, original, mischievous + funny - essential reading, 6 Feb 2014
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. We all know there is something of the philosopher about de Botton but there is also something of the investigative reporter: he is interested not just in the slick vapidity of the news flow itself but also the sweaty rush of the newsroom where the news is decided by people who often know nothing of the place or the event they are covering. I don't often write reviews on amazon but I so enjoyed this that I couldn't resist reviewing it here. De Botton's News is brilliant, original, mischievious and funny - this is essential reading for anyone who is living in the 21st Century and wishes to enjoy it and even survive it.