Perhaps only Alain de Botton could uncover practical wisdom in the writings of some of the greatest thinkers of all time. But uncover he does, and the result is an unexpected book of both solace and humor. Dividing his work into six sections--each highlighting a different psychic ailment and the appropriate philosopher--de Botton offers consolation for unpopularity from Socrates, for not having enough money from Epicurus, for frustration for Seneca, for inadequacy from Montaigne, and for a broken heart from Schopenhauer (the darkest of thinkers and yet, paradoxically, the most cheering). Consolation for envy--and of course, the final word on consolation--comes Nietzsche: "Not everything which makes us feel better is good for us." This wonderfully engaging book, will, however, make us feel better in a good way, with equal measures of wit and wisdom.
Alain de Botton is the author of On Love, The Romantic Movement, Kiss and Tell, and How Proust Can Change Your Life (available in paperback from Vintage Books). His work has been translated into twenty languages. He lives in Washington, D.C., and London, where he is a director of the Graduate Philosophy Program at London University.
“Wonderfully original, quirky.... De Botton finds inspiration where others might fail to look.”–Newsday
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