Alain de Botton Uses Wit And Wisdom To Explore Philosophical Concepts


Alain de Botton is a modern day writer and philosopher whose work emphasizes philosophical aspects of every day life.

Rather than offering self improvement tips, his books encourage readers to contemplate upon life's issues. His first book, "Essays In Love" has sold over two million copies and inspired a movie.

Alain de Botton has written several books, both fiction and non-fiction, including some best sellers.

 The Background

Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton was born in Zurich on December 20, 1969 into a Sephardic Jewish family. His father was a wealthy man who was fluent in 12 languages. He had a grandmother who became famous for being an Israeli intelligence officer and was even described as Israel's Mata Hari.
Alain de Botton was educated in England where he attended boarding school in Oxford and college in Cambridge. He also attended Harvard for a while when working on a degree in French Philosophy.

He published his first book at the age of 23 and immediately found success when "Essays on Love" became a best seller. After that, to the dismay of his father, he left his studies behind and focused on his writing.

You will find that many of the books mentioned below are also available as Kindle E-books and as audibles.

Books By Alain de Botton

  • "Essays on Love" was first published in 1993. In countries outside the United States, the book was titled, "Essays in Love." It is available as a book and audio book. This work by Alain de Botton is a unique philosophical study of romantic love. It is written as a blend of fictional romance and non-fictional reflection and analysis. In 2010, this book was adapted into the movie "My Last Five Romances" by director Julian Kemp.

If you click on the image to the left it will open a new tab/window on, where users have given this book 4 stars out of 5

  • "How Proust Can Change Your Life" was published in 1997 and is available as a book and audio book. This non-fiction work by Alain de Botton was a best seller in the UK and US. This is one of the more unique self help books on the market as it is comprised of philosophical reflections by Alain de Botton along with his analysis of the massive book "In Search of Lost Time" by Marcel Proust. "In Search of Lost Time" is one of the longest books in world literature and is said to have had a major impact on the literary world. Alain de Botton shows readers how to apply segments of the book to their personal lives in order to live more fully.

  • "The Consolations of Philosophy" was published in 2000 and is available as a book and audio book. This work was inspired by "Consolation of Philosophy," a book by the ancient philosopher Boethius. In the book by Boethius, philosophy appears to him as an allegorical figure. In the book by Alain de Botton, philosophical insights are offered on various aspects of everyday woes. These insights can be used as a type of self help advice and they were inspired by writings of some of the great thinkers throughout history such as Seneca, Nietzsche, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, Epicurus, and Socrates.


  • "The Art of Travel" was published in 2004 and is available as a Kindle ebook and book. In this work, Alain de Botton considers the writings of some famous travelers such as Wordsworth, Van Gogh, and Baudelaire. He also delves into the psychology of travel such as how we anticipate the experience, how we remember beautiful sights, the allure of exotic locations, how magnificent sights affect us, and how the mundane can hold meaning.

  • "Status Anxiety" was published in 2005 and is available as an ebook, book, and audio book. The self help advice in this book targets readers who worry about what other people think of them. Alain de Botton discuses how other people judge us and how it makes us feel.

  • "The Architecture of Happiness" was published in 2006 and is available as a book and audio book. In this work, Alain de Botton takes a look at architecture and how it influences individuals and societies, even though we are not aware of it. He also describes how human traits are reflected in the architecture we construct. Because of the success and impact of this book, Alain de Botton was named as the inspiration for a new architectural project called Living Architecture in the UK and he was appointed a position as an honorary fellow to the Royal Institute of British Architects.

  • "The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work" was published in 2008 and is available as an audio book, ebook, and traditional book. In this book, Alain de Botton turns his wit and wisdom towards the work place and offers inspirational self help advice to those seeking meaning from their jobs. He takes a look at various jobs and analyzes what makes them fulfilling or soul-crushing.

  • "A Week At The Airport" was published in 2009. This book came about when Alain de Botton won a competition for writer-in-residence at the Heathrow Airport. Along with a photographer, Alain de Botton spent a week at a desk in Terminal 5. He wrote about the people he saw coming and going over that time and compiled the stories into a book complete with photographs.

  • "Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion" was published in 2012 and is available as a book, audio book, and ebook. Alain de Botton explains that even atheists can benefit from the teachings based in religion even if they don't believe in the supernatural stories. Rather than throwing out the teachings and making belief an all-or-nothing situation, Alain de Botton teaches important lessons can be learned about building better relationships, communities, and individual lives by applying some of the self improvement advice found in religious teachings.

Other Work By Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton is a columnist and lecturer. He also owns his own production company called Seneca Productions, and creates documentaries for television that are derived from his works. He has also conducted numerous radio talks and interviews.

Alain de Botton is also a co-founder of The School of Life in London. This unique school offers self improvement classes that help people lead better lives.

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