- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Penguin; 01 edition (13 Jan. 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141014865
- ISBN-13: 978-0141014869
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Status Anxiety Paperback – 13 Jan 2005
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De Botton analyses modern society with great charm, learning and humour. His remedies come as a welcome relief when most books offering solutions to the stresses of life recommend the lotus position (Daily Mail)
Measured, amused, compassionate . . . de Botton is a surefooted discoverer of the pungent but less well-known quote (Daily Telegraph)
A purveyor of serious but playful manuals for living (GQ)
Turned me into a fan, for its range, insight, wit and sheer usefulness (Daily Express)
From the Inside Flap
Anyone who's ever lost sleep over an unreturned phone call or the neighbor's Lexus had better read Alain de Botton's irresistibly clear-headed new book, immediately. For in its pages, a master explicator of our civilization and its discontents turns his attention to the insatiable quest for status, a quest that has less to do with material comfort than with love. To demonstrate his thesis, de Botton ranges through Western history and thought from St. Augustine to Andrew Carnegie and Machiavelli to Anthony Robbins.
Whether it's assessing the class-consciousness of Christianity or the convulsions of consumer capitalism, dueling or home-furnishing, Status Anxiety is infallibly entertaining. And when it examines the virtues of informed misanthropy, art appreciation, or walking a lobster on a leash, it is not only wise but helpful. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
HOWEVER. For the kindle BEWARE that the conversion of the book to Kindle is appalling. Literally appalling. Here's a list:
- Probably 90% of the pictures in the book are not in the Kindle version
- All of the pictures are referred to in de Botton's text, not in passing but as keystone to several paragraphs; you absolutely need the pictures.
- There are half pages of text frequently (not missing text, just poor formatting)
- Tables of figures and values are completely skewed, so it's difficult to ascertain which values are appropriate to which columns.
So I had basically paid for a book, and received maybe 90% of a book. I had to get a refund from Amazon (with which I bought Shooting an Elephant - George Orwell's essays; an awesome read), as I would never be able to revisit it and it was useless to keep.
Ultimately, I would certainly recommend it to my friends, but I would definitely avoid the Kindle edition. There are simply too many references to missing pictures.
The first section is a compelling analysis of the human condition and how our (modern) world plays upon our predisposition and fears. The second section, while equally well reasoned took me to where I could see dry land but left me stranded on a sand bar. It offers no new solutions but only the consolations of philosophy politics religion or non-conformity. In short de Botton concedes that we are captive to our often punishing assessment of ourselves as handed to us by society and faced with that, perhaps the best we can do is to change the way we consider that assessment - to change one value system for another more humane.
Having said that, these solutions are solutions and certainly well worth considering, however I suspect that the type of person who buys this book may have covered much of this ground already.
I don't wish to appear negative about a book that I valued and will certainly recommend and it is perhaps to his credit as a scholar, that he is honest enough not to peddle any simple solutions - but - part of me wished he had sold me something and not just set out the stall.
I found the book clear well reasoned well written and understandable. It is also a good read - this was a book that I read in a couple of days. It is obvious that Alain de Botton has an enviable understanding of his subject and it was a pleasure for a lazy reader to be guided through such a wide tapestry of thinkers - I have in the past tried to read some of these authors but have been defeated by their verbiage. All in all a very good read and a valuable tool to make you assess the way you live your life and react to the world and other people
In Status Anxiety Alain de Botton takes a look at the tendency we all have to judge ourselves against others or what we perceive to be the view and judgments of others. In the first part of the book he carefully shows the many ways this anxiety takes form, some subtle some not. He shows how the development of Western Society has exacerbated and contributed to the development of status anxiety, while trying to improve the lot of all.
The next section of the book discusses the various ways we can overcome this anxiety, by changing your viewpoint. He gives different ways of looking at life in order to free one from the restrictions on status anxiety can induce.
Along the way Alain introduces us to a wide range of ideas and history. This is done in a highly readable and enjoyable way. I have enjoyed several of Alain de Botton's books and rate this close to "The Consolations of Philosophy", my personal favourite. If you enjoy his works, this will not disappoint. If you are new to him, it is an excellent starting place.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was first introduced to Alain de Botton when he was interviewed on 'The Tim Ferris Show' and thought he was very erudite and well-informed. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Joseph
My favourite Alain de Botton book. This along with how Proust can change your life are his 2 best.Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer 32
A very fine book, although it would have been good to learn about the underlying drivers of our anxieties (eg status uncertainty in chimpanzees for instance).Published on 28 May 2015 by Amazon Customer
This is de Botton at the height of his insightful and engaging powers. Another wonderfully accessible read that brings on the like of Orwell, Schopenhauer, Rousseau and Adam Smith... Read morePublished on 28 Mar. 2015 by keen reader
This book put into words my anxiety and dissatisfaction regarding some areas of my life where I feel that I do not measure up to the status ideal. Read morePublished on 27 Feb. 2014 by MONICA