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on 16 March 2017
Wonderful introduction into six big names in philosophy. I love this book and have bought it several times and given as gifts. Also have the audio, and revisit it regularly. Especially loved the Seneca, Epicurus and, most of all, the Montaigne chapters. Great book and solid advice contained within.
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on 13 June 2001
I've read with interest the other reviews of this book. Personally, a friend recommended it to me, and sure enough as promised, it has been a most riveting read. De Botton has created a philosophy book ripe for the frustration and disenchantment of the 21st Century. While some reviewers criticise his academic prowess, they are missing the point. This book allows practically anyone to make sense of some basic philosophical ideas, and use the information to adjust their perspectives and become more contented, even better people. In that sense, it may well join readers' collections alongside the Celestine Prophecy and The Road Less Travelled. Funny that the best self-help book I've ever read makes no claim to that genre.
21 people found this helpful
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on 24 March 2011
I felt this book was really informative about the philosophers and philosophy covered in it. I know next to nothing about philosophy, and found this book was an ideal place to start finding out something about it! It was accessible and interesting; I didn't switch off from it at any stage. It takes a practical approach, never disappearing into the realms of the abstract as I feared it might before I started it, so that it never feels less than relevant to real life. In fact, as the title suggests, it does offer really valuable thoughts on how to approach different situations in contemporary life.
One person found this helpful
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on 12 April 2000
I must admit that I approached this book with a certain amount of trepidation. And whilst it is well-written, my concerns were mostly confirmed. Is this a book on self-help or an introduction to philosophy? If the former, it is hard to recommend. In the end we are only taught how to move the goal-posts (something governments do) so that instead of getting thrashed 10-0, we lose only by the odd goal. Surely, we should rather be playing for a more ambitious team. And If we are to look at historical figures for wisdom and advice, we would do better to look elsewhere. You don't have to be a Christian or a Buddhist (I am neither) to recognise (and draw inspiration from) the ambition and radicalism in the teachings of Jesus and Buddha. If this book is meant as an introduction to philosophy, whilst it introduces some lesser-known figures, it is too bitty and readers would do better to read books like 'Introducing Philosophy' or 'Introducing Ethics'. Perhaps, ultimately, it is the title that really gives the game away. The 'consolation of' rather than the 'overcoming of' life's problems.
9 people found this helpful
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on 5 July 2005
I loved this book. Having struggled through many a weighty tome to try to understand what the great DWEMs (Dead White European Males) had to say, I usually got frustrated and basically gave up. This book is different, it explains the essence of Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca Montaigne etc and translates what their respective thinking means to modern life. If you want to be a pseud and name drop socially don't read this book. BUT if you want a practical guide to living your life, being content with the irritations in your life and just being happy READ
8 people found this helpful
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on 9 October 2000
Alain de Botton Rocks ! He has written a hilarious book offering consolation to all those who consider themselves frustrated, sexually inadequate, unhappy and unpopular. The Consolations of Philosophy is simply the coolest book on the market and kept me smiling for weeks. Read it.
One person found this helpful
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on 10 July 2009
This is a sympathetic,relevant and practical guide for living in any era. The problems and anxieties that we are heir to are universal and the author shows that philosophy can provide balm for pretty much all maladies.
It is a work to read again and again.
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on 28 October 2013
The Book is in good condition it arrived very quickly no problems with delivery or the condition of the book looking forward to reading the book
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on 27 November 2008
The Consolations of Philosophy is a brief little book with lessons from famous philosophers. De Botton's idea is that the point of philosophy is to make us feel better. I'm sure that philosophy's purpose can entail much more than that, but it's a nice idea for a book nevertheless. It is divided into sections giving us brief descriptions of the theories of six philosophers. Beginning with Socrates and ending with Nietzsche, we are given consolation for unpopularity, not having enough money, frustration, inadequacy, a broken hearts and difficulties.

The tone is mostly that of a self-help book but I think that there is a little more to it than that. The short biographies of the philosophers are interesting in themselves. De Botton does a good job of bringing the different historical figures to life. This would be a good starting point were you to be interested in the history of philosophy. De Botton connects the philosophers together and explains a little about how they influenced or disagreed with each other. Bringing the philosophers to life in this way is important, as it is not just their teachings that are intended to help us, but also the examples they set in the way they lived their lives.

The book is jam packed with interesting pictures. Some of these are really helpful in helping us to understand the theories and how they apply to our lives. I particularly liked the graphs explaining Epicurus's ideas on happiness. There are however, far too many pictures. Sometimes they seem rather superfluous and annoying; I know what a remote control looks like, thank you.

The first two sections of the book are the best. The lessons De Botton takes from Socrates and Epicurus seem to me to be very pertinent. After that the book loses its way somewhat descending into a meandering account of how Montaigne can console us for various inadequacies. Still the book continues to be interesting and does get better again towards the end.

Overall I enjoyed this book. It has helped me and has had me reflecting on my own life through the lens of different philosophies.
17 people found this helpful
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on 11 January 2010
In 1997, a colleague, recommended The Consolations of Philosophy. I have just got round to reading it. Some 12 years later! Since then, the colleague has become a cherished friend, and I have learnt to trust his recommendations and easy natured wisdom. And Consolations certainly has much wisdom to impart. Perhaps sometimes, one has to be ready for a book before it is ready to be read."

The Consolations of Philosophy
One person found this helpful
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