Status Anxiety Audio CD – Audiobook, Abridged
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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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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
Importantly, the book steers clear of direct instruction on how you should respond to society, and for me it was the regularly evoked chains of thought that provided the greatest moments of realisation and satisfaction.
Taken at face value and read quickly, this book would still be a very interesting read, but it becomes a truly excellent one when used as an informed launch-pad for your own judgements, thoughts and ideas.
In fact Alain de Botton might be the greatest labour saving device since the personal computer. He's read all the books we know we should have, and with a cheeky anecdotal style he makes sense of our lives while leaving the sense of his sources un-diminished. In The Consolations of Philosophy, he digested and explained the great philosophers, giving us an executive summary for coping with our jealousies and the anxiety of being human. Status Anxiety, finds De Botton analysing the ox-coveting curtain-twitcher in all of us. Ours is an age where we spend it like Beckham even if we can't quite earn it, Status Anxiety goes some way to revealing why. Alain de Botton, every home should have one.
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
The book only deals with status attached to wealth and materialism and ignores the complexities of social status. In the chapter on bohemia, for example, he doesn't address the way that being 'cultured' and part of an artistic community is often itself used as a badge of status to mark superiority. Artists are often perceived as having, or certainly claim to have, a greater sensitivity and insight to the common herd. As an academic I'm sure he knows how many people acquire knowledge and ideas as trophies to lord it over the less well educated. He doesn't explore the hierarchies inherent in these alternative communities, and the ways in which they include and exclude.
It is deceptively easy to make philosophy accessible, and Alain de Botton does an admirable job. This book is great if you are looking for an introduction, but go elsewhere if these ideas are not new to you. Good selection of pictures too - especially the cartoons.
Stick with it though, and you will find yourself thinking more deeply about what status is and whether it is really worth having.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My favourite Alain de Botton book. This along with how Proust can change your life are his 2 best.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer 32
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 16 months ago by keen reader
A thoroughly enjoyable canter through a subject that I had never really given much thought to before. I love his style of writing. Read morePublished on 8 May 2014 by Mrs E. A. A. Rolph
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
De Botton has that gift of showing you things you'll think ought to have been blindingly obvious. Sardonic and elegant, and a very addictive style.Published on 26 Feb. 2014 by Craig Campbell