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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,693 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: 9781455183814
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Alain de Botton has performed a stunning feat: he has transformed arcane philosophy into something accessible and entertaining, useful and kind. Drawing on the work of six of the world’s most brilliant thinkers, de Botton has arranged a panoply of wisdom to guide us through our most common problems.

From the frustration of misplacing your keys to the sadness of losing a loved one, the writings of Seneca can offer consolation. For the agony of not having enough money, Epicurus has a solution that everyone can afford. If your life is beset by difficulty after difficulty, wise advice may be found in the words of Nietzsche. The Consolations of Philosophy is smart, lucid, and pleasing, a rare sort of book that wonderfully fulfills the promise of its title.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There is a need for someone to bring that joyful activity of mind we call philosophy to the wider reading public. And de Botton…writes with verve.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Thanks to the author’s characteristically whimsical and lucid style, the book does offer more than a refresher course in basic philosophy. Consolations, like Proust before it, is downright delightful to read.”

    Time Out New York

  • “A fine introduction to the world of philosophy.”

    Newsweek

  • “Thank heavens for Alain de Botton…[He] breezily, humorously, incisively…puts his readers at ease, without a hint of condescension.”

    Seattle Times/Post Intelligencer

  • “De Botton, genial, accurate, humane guide to the thinkers at hand, has written a rich and useful book.”

    Washington Post Book Review

  • “The quietly ironic style and eclectic approach will gratify many postmodern readers…an enjoyable read with ‘a few consoling and practical things’ to say.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clayton | 2/20/2014

    " I'm going to rush out and buy Montaigne's "Essays" now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Georgia | 2/18/2014

    " Funny and smart all at the same time. I learned a lot and had no idea. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Vivien Fung | 2/18/2014

    " Alain de Botton uses a light touch and frequent images to explain how philosophy can be a consolation to a number of modern frustrations, organised by chapters and straightforward headings. Pretty interesting, but becomes a bit dull halfway through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeffrey | 2/8/2014

    " Wow! Alain at his very best! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William | 1/20/2014

    " Especially liked the chapter on love a la Shopenhauer "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anandha | 1/9/2014

    " Excellent english and some very profound thoughts. watch Alain on TED talks. The book reflects similar ideas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Xavier Shay | 12/26/2013

    " Solid round up of a lot of ancient philosophy. Nothing that new if you've studied them before, but a good summary/refresher. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 12/4/2013

    " An excellent gallop through some interesting thinkers and their relevance to the issues of today. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Megan Carpenter | 11/28/2013

    " Great overview of many types of philosophy, as well as that of the people who founded each type. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jean Grant | 9/6/2013

    " This is a marvelous book, easy to read and I learned an immense amount from it. A great pleasure. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sunny | 6/9/2013

    " This book uses plain language to explain philosophy idealism from famous philosophers descriptively. It provides six consolations for six of man's harness situation. Both inspiring and enjoying, it can service as a good introductive book to philosophic world combined with author's personal feelings. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark Young | 4/16/2013

    " Nice overview in lay terms of some of the major tenets of philosophy and how they inform our understanding of modern life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandon Dean | 1/5/2013

    " this is a real interesting book. it chronicles the lives and main thesis of 6 prominent philosophers. it's surprisingly engaging, witty and informative. if you've had anything less than a good experience with philosophy in the past, i'd recommend this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bronwen | 9/12/2012

    " An excellent introduction to philosophy: it's not a dusty, boring topic that should be confined to old men with long beards, but a facinating way of looking at life. Highly recommended. After reading this book you will feel like all the world is in perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Douglas Dalrymple | 9/9/2012

    " The intersection of self-help and Philosophy 101 - but entertaining. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 9/4/2012

    " I read this several years ago but remember being blown away. Makes learning about major philosophers accessible and enjoyable. I think I had a crush on Botton himself after reading this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chaepyong Song | 8/29/2012

    " Interesting, but he could have gone deeper. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Jo | 4/21/2012

    " Quirky. Informative but written with a wry voice. I've liked most everything I've read by Alain de Botton. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Oliver Kim | 12/4/2011

    " Interesting, but the primary purpose of philosophy is not consolation (making you feel better). Philosophy is about taking a long, hard look at the world and trying to come up with some basic truths. Whether those truths are consoling or not is up to you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rhett | 10/28/2011

    " Very powerful piece of literature. It completely changed my view of the world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hdmsisk | 6/29/2011

    " An excellent overview of philosophy that is both smart and funny. Do not get this confused with an obtuse philosophy book by the same title but different author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peter | 6/26/2011

    " a bit light and fluffy but an enjoyable read
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 5/27/2011

    " Enjoyable and thought-provoking, with a nice sense of humour. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adil | 5/8/2011

    " Very enjoyable, intelligent and easy to read. This one is banging. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anywavewilldo | 5/3/2011

    " I am partially consoled already - liking the stoics "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anandha | 4/27/2011

    " Excellent english and some very profound thoughts. watch Alain on TED talks. The book reflects similar ideas. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alyssa | 4/24/2011

    " it was very informational, but its not my style of reading for pleasure. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nicola | 4/6/2011

    " Three stars - only because the entire premise of the book was undermined in the final paragraph. Otherwise, much too postmodern. "

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

    " How interesting. Philosophy chopped up and presented in a nice neat little packet. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann Marie | 1/15/2011

    " 3.5 stars. Love de Botton, and this is a fun, accessible but still really interesting introduction to 6 philosophers and what they can teach us (or,how they can "console" us.) Who knew that no one would marry Nietzsche and that he went insane at 44?) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 1/13/2011

    " Alain de Botton shows how philosophy can provide wisdom and solice for being human. Lack of money, frustration, broken hearts, unpopularity and inadequacy are addressed with consolations from thinkers in the past. "

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About the Author
Author Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton is the author of numerous nonfiction books, including The Consolations of Philosophy and Status Anxiety. His work has been translated into twenty languages. He lives in Washington, DC, and London, where he is an associate research fellow of the philosophy program of the University of London, School of Advanced Study.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight 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.