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115 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Simple Reminder Of Simple Truths
I like this book very much and have read it several times. It's not really about Proust, it is about looking at the world like Proust. It is a simple reminder of the sort things we miss in life when we are immersed in the hurry-scurry of the rat-race. So if I'm a bit fed-up, I take up this book and learn to take a breath, while seeing the world afresh. I find the section...
Published on 3 Oct 2004 by Mr. S. J. Wade

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A pain in De Botton.
Monsieur De Botton is a darling of the chattering classes in that he allows people to talk over dinner tables about books he has read for them.
However, this did not prepare me for the breathtaking vanity of this bourgeoise rent-a-philosopher.
On page 26 of my paperback edition I was stunned to see a half-page photo of the author's girlfriend, her name coupled...
Published 11 months ago by Devil's Advocate


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115 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Simple Reminder Of Simple Truths, 3 Oct 2004
By 
Mr. S. J. Wade "thebardofb6" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I like this book very much and have read it several times. It's not really about Proust, it is about looking at the world like Proust. It is a simple reminder of the sort things we miss in life when we are immersed in the hurry-scurry of the rat-race. So if I'm a bit fed-up, I take up this book and learn to take a breath, while seeing the world afresh. I find the section on the portayal of everyday things in art, particularly inspiring and up-lifting. Its about appreciating the things that were always there but we fail to see. I recommend it highly.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to appreciate the simple things, 9 Aug 2007
By 
Reading anything by de Botton I feel a serenity descend upon me. His writing seems to have a soothing effect and this book was no different.

In "How Proust can change your life" he takes the wisdom to be found in the novels of Proust and shows how they can help us to live better lives. Or perhaps to make us aware that we live better lives than we think.

There are sections on how to love life, read for yourself, take your time, suffer succesfully, express your emotions, be a good friend, open your eyes, be happy in love and put books down.

I loved this book and it has made me feel I can read Proust and appreciate it properly. Swann's Way is next for me and I am looking forward to it with anticipation. But whether you intend to read Proust or not this book is well worth reading.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An erudite meditation on Marcel Proust's life - and its lessons, 28 Jan 2008
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Are you tired of self-help manuals? Is that because the authors often seem to need help themselves? Or they all spout the same buzzwords and clichés? Or they are banal and boring? It sounds as if you are all self-help-manualed-out. Perhaps you need something different. Try Marcel Proust, revered master of exquisite expression and luminous prose. In Search of Lost Time, also called Remembrance of Things Past, Proust's one-and-a-quarter-million-word magnum opus, does not contain a trite sentence or conventional thought. You can learn much about living from such a profound genius, including how to spend your time, how to see and feel things, and why, sometimes, it is best just to stay in bed. Alain de Botton is your witty, often hilarious guide, providing valuable life lessons from Proust's writings and thoughts. getAbstract finds this ingenious, utterly original treatment thoroughly enjoyable. Wishing you the same.
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173 of 182 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is it really so bad?, 23 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Let me start by saying that I sleep well at night and don't pretend to have the vaguest clue about some of the great writers of literature. Now that I've established my honesty and credibility, maybe I can say a few words about this book. Personally, I think the author wouldn't be such a bad fellow to know. I like the way he segmented the book and described relevant portions of Proust. I am a soldier and spend a lot of time in the field; currently in a part of the world which is undergoing an uneasy truce. I read whatever I can get my hands on and am tired of the muscle and skin magazines, car magazines, etc., which is the normal fare. When a book like this comes along, which is fairly easy to read and digest and more importantly, makes me want to attempt the real thing, then I don't think it's such a bad book and certainly not deserving of one or two stars. As for re-evaluating life's experiences, I hope that I can sit back one day and use a "Proustian" view to re-examine my current experiences; something which I have not been able to do as I've only been able to react. That is probably the biggest lesson and the irony of the whole Proust phenomenon, that is, from his bed, he observes with the utmost clarity, the most minute activities of a day, while the rest of us are busy living and missing out on these subtleties and insights into ourselves.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars de Botton on top form, 21 Jun 2007
By 
Mr. S. Miller "Page Turner" (Glasgow, UK) - See all my reviews
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There is a section in this fantastic, unique work in which de Botton describes Proust's fanatical devotion to John Ruskin, the English art critic, an admiration which verged on infatuation. This book reveals that de Botton feels much the same way about Proust. Happily, the reader is left in absolutely no doubt as to why the author feels that way so insightful are the observations and so pertinent are the excerpts from "In Search of Lost Time". In fact, those without the time to read Proust's masterpiece (that is, almost everyone) will find no better synthesis of that great novel, and no more persuasive illustration of Proust's brilliance.

The whole experience is truly life-changing and, whilst the title does not reveal this, de Botton himself deserves some of the credit for that too.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect understanding of Proust, 25 Sep 2001
By 
Ian Rogers (UK) - See all my reviews
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The author gives you Proust boiled down to its richest essence (and rich it is!) but without the usual idolising of the mere words that Proust wrote. Once you've read this book you'll have an understanding of how to see life like Proust without letting the trees get in the way of seeing the forest.
This book also has the most perfect last line I've ever read...
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 18 Jan 2000
By 
Phillip Wells (Bermuda) - See all my reviews
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A sublime book, short and exceptionally easy to read. Yet despite that, de Botton's commentary on Proust's observations on life is well-observed, funny and true. Proust snobs may sniffily suggest this book has no insights to offer that you wouldn't be better getting from In Search Of Lost Time itself, but I would have never found the perseverance to get through the first volume of Proust's novel had I not read this book first. It prepares you for what to expect (the long, rambling sentences with innumerable subordinate clauses) and signals points of interest to watch out for along the way (for instance, the madeleine). After completing volume 1, I was still unsure about whether I wanted to persevere with the other 5 volumes, but re-reading de Botton's gem rekindled my enthusiasm and I'm now half-way through volume 2.
If you ever wanted to read Proust but have never been able to summon up the courage (or if you wondered where the plot for the movie 'Last Night' came from), read this. You'll love it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop and look and appreciate, 17 Feb 1999
By A Customer
I found myself smiling as I read this book. It has a tickly quality that amuses and delights. It should contain instructions on how often to read it, because as Proust persists in saying, we are blinded to the delights of our world by familiarity and habituation. Although it cannot change your life, it can give you a holiday from the habit of not appreciating the one you have. You are very clever Alain De Botton.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A pain in De Botton., 16 Aug 2013
By 
Devil's Advocate (Over your shoulder!) - See all my reviews
Monsieur De Botton is a darling of the chattering classes in that he allows people to talk over dinner tables about books he has read for them.
However, this did not prepare me for the breathtaking vanity of this bourgeoise rent-a-philosopher.
On page 26 of my paperback edition I was stunned to see a half-page photo of the author's girlfriend, her name coupled incomprehensibly with Proust's Albertine. Here is the suburban sage reminding his readers that he too is a bit of a stud and not vraiement a Proustian recluse.
The audacity of this self-conceit made me restrain myself from flinging the book across the room.
The rest of the text meanders along irritating by turns (can Proust tell us if it is good to wear black? - facetious titter: a full recipe for chocolate mousse - oh how we all did laugh...) etc. etc.
He unwittingly reserves his greatest wisdom for the last line:
"Even the finest (substitute: tritest) books deserve to be thrown aside". QED.
What a prat. And I don't mean Proust.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the only book on Proust to read, 9 May 2001
By A Customer
There's been a rush of Proust books of late, all claiming to lay bare the real secrets of the great author. To my mind, this is the only one that really matters, because it's the only that seems to have been written out of genuine love and passion, rather than some academic need to impress or get a better post at a university. It's a look at the philosophy and outlook on life of a truly profound writer.
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