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Extended Audio Sample Status Anxiety Audiobook, by Alain de Botton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.72 out of 53.72 out of 53.72 out of 53.72 out of 53.72 out of 5 3.72 (36 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: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455183845
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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 Igor | 2/19/2014

    " Well structured wisdom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 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 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 Alicia | 1/20/2014

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

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathy | 1/20/2014

    " THis wasn't really what i was expecting. I listened to it on CD, and while i loved the narrators voice, it wasn't really for me. It was more a commentary on the class system. It did have interesting points though, but it's not like i was racing to see what happens next. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Martin | 1/19/2014

    " Some thought provoking moments, though it never really came to life for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ania | 1/18/2014

    " 3.5.it's not literature of course but informative in a well chosen way.i like Bottons gentle wisdom and ability to pull together anecdotes from various strands of experience.it made an impact. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark Gibbons | 1/16/2014

    " Revealed some profound insights to me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 peishan | 12/19/2013

    " Not his best work. Read 'Essays in Love' or 'The Art of Travel' instead. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 12/18/2013

    " Profound. This should be required reading for Americans. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abbigail | 12/16/2013

    " So brilliant I would read it again right now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 umberto | 11/17/2013

    " This book is readable, inspiring and, I think, interested readers can perceive new practical ideas or ways of looking at things regarding his/her own status and live with it with content and sense of humor. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jesue V | 10/31/2013

    " I love how he makes his (and other writers' ideas) so clear. I was impressed when I read Art of Travel and thoroughly enjoyed this one as well. I'm beginning to admire his very articulate way of writing and the way he makes you reassess your perspective on life. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/17/2013

    " Well-written and a fascinating topic. I was especially moved by the passage about Native Americans. Will read more by this author, soon. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Caitlin | 10/2/2013

    " Beautiful writing, as always from deBotton, but his ideas were ordinary. Nothing really special. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 6/27/2013

    " Found myself skipping around in this book... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sara | 5/1/2013

    " The first few chapters felt like a re-hash of other books about status and class. The middle sort of meandered. I lost patience and gave up at page 181. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abasi | 6/8/2012

    " Basically the same as the TV show. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 reed | 4/28/2012

    " Read 50 pages. The author is a bit full of himself and not really rigorous enough for the kind of deep thinking he's trying to pull off. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 10/9/2011

    " The first de Botton book I read - stumbled across it in a bookstore and absolutely loved it. He notices all those things about life and social interaction you thought you were the only one to ever notice. Enjoyable, witty read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pixie | 9/10/2011

    " Analytical, valid and above all truthful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Grant | 8/24/2011

    " Clever, insightful and easy reading, without being too simplistic. A fantastic book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amelia Shapiro | 6/5/2011

    " Fascinating look at the evolution and history of status and status-anxiety. A little slow reading, but worth it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paige | 5/21/2011

    " Too Western-centric in general for my taste. My favorite chapter was the last one, so at least I can say that I enjoyed the conclusion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sean | 5/3/2011

    " Alain de Botton is a charming and erudite writer. Just a joy to read, even though I didn't get much from the book since I've overcome or never had the status anxiety he laments and prescribes against. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 5/1/2011

    " I appreciate this author and the topics he takes on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anna | 4/6/2011

    " Interesting take on the problems/frustrations many of us face, as well as suggested solutions. Particularly liked the history. Food for thought & great conversation - recommend!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 3/9/2011

    " I liked it, but frankly I was too anxious that while I was reading it everyone I knew was getting ahead of me in terms of money, luxury goods, or overall happiness...

    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 3/3/2011

    " I read a book which included the consolations of philosophy and status anxiet, and I have to say the two bled together for me quite a bit. I don't know much about philosophy and I found this very accessible, which means it's probably pretty dumbed down, but I found it worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Constance | 1/21/2011

    " Although published seven years ago it's now the perfect time to reevaluate financial priorities; de Botton took me on a much needed journey of why I/we strive for status and ideas of how to change the patterns. Highly recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pixie | 1/17/2011

    " Analytical, valid and above all truthful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 12/29/2010

    " I don't usually enjoy reading non-fiction but this clever, thought provoking and entirely readable book was a delight. Alain de Botton does it again! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 11/13/2010

    " Found myself skipping around in this book... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen | 10/23/2010

    " This book has some great insights into how people feel devalued into today's 'success' based society. Interesting read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 10/4/2010

    " Well-written and a fascinating topic. I was especially moved by the passage about Native Americans. Will read more by this author, soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bwid | 9/29/2010

    " Made me feel better about myself and reflect on what is important. The consolations of art, reading, philosophy, religion, and bohemia reorganize materialistic values. "

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About the Author
Author Alain de BottonAlain de Botton is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including On Love, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel, and The Course of Love. He lives in London where he founded The School of Life, an organization devoted to fostering emotional health and intelligence. More can be found at AlainDeBotton.com.
About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with over forty Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.