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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 25 July 2017
One of my favourite books
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on 20 May 2017
the reading is nearly perfect. I like it. thanks for the chance to listen to it for free!
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on 8 May 2014
A thoroughly enjoyable canter through a subject that I had never really given much thought to before. I love his style of writing. It's easy to read but thought provoking and engaging.
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on 18 June 2012
Alain de Botton has put together an interesting read (bought for Kindle Touch), and it certainly brings a strong sense of perspective with respect to status in its various forms and social circles. I personally found it to be an easy, witty read, although at times became a little tedious with almost laboured points. The book takes the reader through the anxieties attached to gaining status, and then attempts to remedy these, which it effectively achieves.

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.
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on 3 August 2016
The thing with philosophy is a lot of the material is old. Human nature and suffering is the same throughout history mind you. But being a modern reader this book is perfect for getting all the good parts of philosophy in 1 rounded & down to earth place as it's modernised in a way we can understand. It's this mans impression and practical everyday use of older philosophers with his own personality & ideals equally throughout. My favourite philosopher ever. I came here from school of life. I think he has a beautiful mind and has put a nail on the head of what the human experience is all about and proactive productive friendly brain thoughts on how to implement the use of his and other philosophy. I love his way with words it's very empathetic & connects well with the reader. Intelligent & new, yet easy to read. His work has been such a help and I wish it was a book that everyone could read :)
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on 28 March 2015
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 to illustrate some highly illuminating and relevant points. This book is also teeming with plenty photographs and diagrams to enhance the experience. If only more teachers were as lively and refreshing as this when I was at school.
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on 3 February 2005
This book is divided into two sections: the first defining the problem the second possible solutions
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
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on 27 February 2014
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. It has helped me to understand myself and others better. I was left dissatisfied because I hoped, perhaps unrealistically, that the author would articulate an alternative to bourgeois capitalism, or suggest something more tangible for overcoming status anxiety. Instead he proposes that we seek for alternative for spaces where we can be appreciated in accordance with our own values. Fair enough, I suppose.
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on 26 February 2014
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.
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on 20 June 2013
Very interesting read. Should be read by those who are worried by what people may think of them and should be read by those who know those type of people. It provides valuable insight into the causes of this anxiety.
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