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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
How Proust Can Change Your Life
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on 1 January 2015
This is a fine delve in to the work of Proust and his life and how reinterpretation of it may be relevant for our own lives.
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on 26 January 2016
Alan to Botton is my favourite phylosopher
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on 20 March 2016
Heard on Tim Ferriss podcast, very provoking book. For introspection.
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on 20 January 2017
Both brilliant writters, what can you say
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on 5 September 2012
What can I say about the master of procrustination and detailing the bleeding obvious in several chapters!
Un fair, I hear you moan. I know. Your're right.

Alain DeBotton's witty and concise critique of Proust in bibliographic format is up beat, insightful and funny! He refers to Proust as a sickly young man who showed immense sensitivity for his Parisian life style, his friends and especially his mother! Apparently, he literally couldn't take a dump without detailing every satisfactory and unsatisfactory movement to "mamon". When he went away on holidays, letter after letter, would detail how much he could or couln't eat, how much he could or couldn't sleep and the regularity of his bowel movements. Like wise mamon would relpy to her son, demanding more details concerning these matters. Weight, size, shape and shade became fundamental details of her son's well being.
Still, I guess, any mother or father worth their salt maintains a similarly watchful eye on the in and out trays of their off springs digestive system.

DeBotton, reviews different aspects of Proustian philiosophy: how to be a good friend, how to express emotion, how to take your time and so on. Each section being neatly summed up by DeBotton for its merits and de-merits. It was refreshing to see the author unafraid to refute Proust's views and offer an alternative. The last chapter is very powerful, to me anyway: how to put books down. Here both the subject and the author agree. Books are great, they enlighten, they impress, they reassure and they offer a dim light for errant souls. And here, in this last comment, lies the best part of DeBotton's book and the Proustian perspective. Should you read literture by the yard, find your head in permanant tilt in a nose bag of books and intoxicate yourself on the heady mix of word and expression; you'll only scratch the surface of the self. That is, yourself. As the author says, "even the finest books deserve to be thrown aside"

In short, worth a read and a good read at that, but no one, Proust or anyone else for that matter, can change your life.
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on 3 June 2017
I read and re-read this book. Every home should have one. If you haven't had time to read Proust you couldn't ask for a better crib. De Botton writes entertainingly with a wry wit that is very engaging. I had read ALRDTP decades ago and returned to it with a fresh approach and enjoyed it much more 3rd time around.
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on 4 July 2011
This book is a tasty appetiser for anyone considering reading a bit of (or a lot of) Proust. Teasing out several themes representative of Proust's refections, De Botton elegantly combines novel excerpts, vignettes from Proust's life, and a perceptive and amusing commentary on both.

We're told how Proust said he would spend his final weeks if given notice of impending doom; how rich, deep, complex and worth savouring he found life; how strongly he advocated continually learning from misfortune.

We learn how vividly he identified fictional characters with real ones; how alert he was to the artistic skill of highlighting what the audience knew but had never articulated; and how passionate he was for originality, hence authenticity, versus imitation and cliché.

De Botton describes Proust's emphatic distinction between the amount of truth to be found in books and the amount to be found in relationships; and his delight in the edification of books in combination with continuing to think for ourselves.

He goes on to illustrate the ways Proust emphasised the importance of appreciating what you have, rather than what you might have; the value of the humble compared to the exalted; the greater reward we find in things we have had to yearn for; and how readily familiarity breeds contempt.

We are left in no doubt that Proust can change our life for the better.
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on 18 May 2017
Book in good condition with a plastic cover to protect the paperback. Great buy.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 January 2008
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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on 21 June 2007
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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