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Extended Audio Sample Status Anxiety, by Alain de Botton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,966 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Alain de Botton Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Anyone who’s ever lost sleep over an unreturned phone call or the neighbor’s Lexus had better read Alain de Botton’s irresistibly clear-headed book—immediately. For in its pages, a master explicator of our civilization and its discontents turns his attention to the insatiable quest for status, a quest that has less to do with material comfort than with love.

“Every adult life could be said to be defined by two great love stories. The first—the story of our quest for sexual love—is well known and well charted…The second—the story of our quest for love from the world—is a more secret and shameful tale. And yet this second love story is no less intense than the first.”

This is a book about an almost universal anxiety that is rarely mentioned: an anxiety about what others think of us, about whether we’re judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser. This is a book about status anxiety. Bestselling author Alain de Botton asks—with lucidity and charm—where our worries about status come from and what, if anything, we can do to surmount them. With the help of philosophers, artists, and writers, he examines the origins of status anxiety before revealing ingenious ways in which people have been able to overcome their worries in the search for happiness. We learn about sandal-less philosophers and topless bohemians, about the benefits of putting skulls on our sideboards, and about looking at ancient ruins. The result is a book that is not only highly entertaining and thought-provoking but genuinely wise and helpful, too.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A smart and amusing inquiry…Thick with social history and as funny as [it is] acute.”

    Boston Globe

  • “His richest, funniest, most heartfelt work yet, packed with erudition and brimming with an elegant originality of mind…An informative joy to read.”

    Seattle Times

  • “His insights float on a kind light irony…The pleasures of his prose come from following the play of his mind, the vast erudition, the succinct paraphrases, and vivid, often lyrical physical descriptions.”

    Boston Phoenix

  • “Full of great...literary and philosophical references.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Well written, and makes a convincing argument for our current malaise…insightful work.”

    Bookmarks Magazine

  • “Lively and provocative.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Igor | 2/19/2014

    " Well structured wisdom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alan | 2/6/2014

    " I liked the historical investigation of status in human society. An exploration of causes and effects of status in society, the book highlights times in our history when status was paramount and when it was challenged. My favorite parts were at the end when Alain de Botton explains how status is challenged by places and events that give us a wide perspective, from canyons and cathedrals to death. This is where a thesis emerges: we need not be troubled by status because we can take a perspective that makes it meaningless. de Botton ends the book with a terrific discussion of Bohemia, the places like Paris, Greenwich Village, and San Francisco where people give status to art, music, poetry and philosophy to substitute for traditional status values like money, land, and political influence. We will always have status as long as there is society but we can choose to join groups that share our values and seek status within those. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Leilani | 2/3/2014

    " Very thought provoking about jobs/work/careers and why we care what others think. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Alicia | 1/20/2014

    " Be careful what you trade for status and be aware when you are doing it. "

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