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PhilosophyGround >> Alain de Botton book review


4/24/05 5:25 PM
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Cherrypicker
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Edited: 24-Apr-05
Member Since: 01/07/2003
Posts: 2226
 
Here is a quick and dirty review of "The Consolations of Philosophy" by Alain de Botton. If you are not familiar with de Botton's work I should tell you that his books are excellent. He is insightful, articulate, intelligent, and humourous. His writing has flow to it that I like, and he is never boring. He has a knack of taking a subject and seeing it from all angles which is something I like. This book chronicles six philosophers, and distills some of their teachings and personal lives in a way that the reader can use for insight on how to improve their lives, understand themselves, and the world better. At a minimum the amount of history learned from this book will be worth it. The book is broken down into six sections with a specific philosopher highlighted for each section. I am only going to review the first section as it would take way too much time to write a full review. 1. Consolations for Unpopularity - Socrates 2. Consolations for Not having enough money. - Epicurus 3. Consolations for Frustration - Seneca 4. Consolations for Inadaquacy - Montaigne 5. Consolations for Broken Heart - Schopenhauer 6. Consolations for Difficulties - Nietzsche Consolations for Unpopularity. De botton starts off talking about his own fears of unpopularity, and looks at society in general (ancient and present day), and outlines how we follow along what is "normal." He then proceeds to write about what Athens was like at this time, and provides some background into Socrates life. Socates would walk up to someone in the street and start talking with them about important topics. He was well known, and drove many people nuts by doing this because he could pin you down verbally, and reveal to you that your life is unexamined. de Botton provides examples of Socrates conversations with people like important military figures to illuminate his method. After explaining what Socrates was like a small section highlites how everyday people can use logic in their lives by using the Socratic method which is outlined. This section ends with the trial and death of Socrates. Charges are brought against him, and he basically knows he is doomed, but he calmly accepts his fate. I don't want to give this part away as it is the climax of the chapter. After reading this part you will understand how de Botton uses Socrates life to demonstate how we can cling to what is right even in adversity. Not by being a pitiful martyr but by understanding. If you like good stimulating writing. This book is for you.
4/25/05 2:22 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 25-Apr-05
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 11903
Thanks for the review Cherrypicker!
4/26/05 12:12 AM
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Cherrypicker
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Edited: 26-Apr-05
Member Since: 01/07/2003
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Your welcome. Have you ever read any of his writing Fudo?
4/26/05 10:55 AM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 26-Apr-05
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 11933
No, I haven´t. too much to read, to little time. :-(
4/26/05 7:31 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 26-Apr-05
Member Since: 06/13/2004
Posts: 415
I own every single one of Alain De Botton's books. I have yet to read "Kiss and Tell", but other than that I have read them all. He is my favorite author. I even have an autographed copy of "How Proust Can Change Your Life."
4/27/05 3:43 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 03-May-05 08:29 PM
Member Since: 06/13/2004
Posts: 416
4/27/05 10:57 PM
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Cherrypicker
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Edited: 27-Apr-05
Member Since: 01/07/2003
Posts: 2249
Cool. You are only the second person I know who has read his work. He is my favourite author to. The Proust book is next on my de botton list. Did you like it?
5/3/05 8:32 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 03-May-05
Member Since: 06/13/2004
Posts: 417
Yea the Proust books is good. I bought it used off amazon and on the inside cover it has written in pen.. To Jim, Alain De Botton So I can't guarantee that it is his legitimate autograph. My name isn't Jim btw, but its weird that whoever Jim is he would just give up an autographed copy like that. Which other ones have you read? I enjoyed his romantic novel "On Love" probably the most.
10/6/05 5:02 PM
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sanguine cynic
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Edited: 06-Oct-05
Member Since: 06/13/2004
Posts: 787
Yea it could be said to be an intro to philosophy book. However it doesn't touch on any subjects instead of existential really. thirdleg, Where have you heard him called a fraud? What is he fraudulent of?
10/13/06 3:18 PM
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bleier
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Edited: 13-Oct-06
Member Since: 05/13/2005
Posts: 110
PBS did a 6 part TV series featuring A DB based on his book. It was excellent and I often use it for teaching.
5/3/07 8:59 PM
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salsero
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Edited: 03-May-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 948
TTT

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