3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Another wander about through the "subject",
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This review is from: How to Be Alone (School of Life) (Paperback)
The author has admitted that in her previous book "The Book of Silence" she had never decided whether she was in fact writing about silence or being alone; the result was a book many liked, for its fine writing about her personal experiences, but often felt let down by her omissions on the subject and her rambling on about semi-scientific theories about silence.
This book, less well written than her first book, is part of a series from The School of Life ([...]). Alain de Botton is the founder of this School of Life and if you like his style of whimsy, catholic musings and profusion of references and sometimes shaky theories and conclusions from the facts he uses then this book might seem to fit.
This book does have things to say when it is directly about the author but too much is cut and paste of ideas and the conclusions she draws from her rush through western history are baffling and history seems forced to fit into her personal view. When she talks of other "loners" she mentions some excellent sources, Thorreau, Admiral Byrd and also exceptional book about a Buddhist nun and her 12 years of solitude in the Himalayas, "Cave in the Snow", the last one really is worth reading. The originals are so much better than this book that my recommendation would be to read them and leave this.
I would not be quite as terse as the previous reviewer, "Found it to be a collection of unconnected ramblings. Not sure what it is trying to be." but there is not much I could say other than once you have read the first thirty or so pages, which suspiciously look to be a faux section for a possible magazine article, then that is it, apart from the original sources, some whimsical reflections, journalistic speak and a weak conclusion.
I hope the rest of the series of books is more intellectually robust and actually do answer in a detailed, rigorous and creative way the "How to's "of life.
but often uneasily came to ask the question,