One thing’s for sure – if you love philosophy, you have a slew of philosophers to choose from when you’re trying to understand how life works, or how it’s supposed to work! The title of this book written by Alain de Botton is a reference to the book The Consolation of Philosophy by the philosopher Boethius, a Roman statesman who wrote the book in the year 524.
In his book, Boethius shows philosophy as an allegorical figure who helps him while he’s in prison and about to be put to death. In de Botton’s book, he quotes and interprets numerous philosophers to help people through various life situations.
Problems Happen to Everyone
If you’ve never before considered using philosophy to get you through a challenge in life, now is the time to consider doing just that. Everyone has problems and stressors in their life, and de Botton’s book attempts to help people through some of life’s most common problems by using quotes from philosophers that provide practical advice and assistance for many of these problems, including:
- Being broke
- Having a broken heart
Who does de Botton quote in his book? Some names you’ll recognize include Socrates, Nietzsche, Epicurus, and Schopenhauer, to name a few. But this isn’t just a book filled with quotes by well-known philosophers. It is also a book that brings many popular philosophies to new light, in part because he gives them the charm and freshness you simply don’t get from other authors of philosophy-related tomes.
Written lightheartedly and with some humor as well, even people who got bored in their college philosophy classes will get a lot out of de Botton’s book. It is just so well-written that you’ll learn something from it whether you want to or not. In fact, you’ll likely go back to it again in the future because it is such an informational and fun book to keep in your collection.
What Others Think of the Book
Just a few of the publications that have heaped praise on this book include The New York Review of Books, The Spectator, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Literary Review, The Irish Times, and The Mail on Sunday, among others.
What do I like best about The Consolations of Philosophy? The thoughts expressed by the author are succinct enough so that they don’t drag on, yet include enough detail for the reader to get a lot out of them, regardless of which problem area you’re currently dealing with. In short, the writing is simple, but you can tell the writer’s mind is not.
In fact, my decision to get a BA in Philosophy from the University of London was partly shaped by this book – that’s how good it is. You’ll learn from this book whether you want to or not, and whether you’re trying to attain happiness, love, self-esteem, or self-confidence, the quotes from philosophers expressed in this book will go a long way to helping you improve your lot in life simply by changing some of your thought processes.
From hardship to anger and a slew of other up-and-down emotions, this book will get you through some tough times, and it does so in a way that simply makes you feel good about yourself once you finish reading it.
Useful and Entertaining
Even if you aren’t looking for answers to a specific problem, this book can help you increase your self-confidence and just feel better about yourself. I believe it helps people feel more control over their lives, in part because it applies proven strategies of long ago to current problems that all of us will experience at one time or another. It is an interesting and entertaining read that is filled with useful information that you’ll likely use more than once in your life.
The Consolations of Philosophy takes old principles and applies them to new situations, and lo and behold – they work! They are practical solutions to real everyday problems, and de Botton writes so well that even if you’ve never taken a philosophy course in your life, you’ll instantly understand what he’s trying to say. You’ll also respond to what he’s saying and learn how to apply his suggestions to your everyday life, and this is perhaps the book’s biggest benefit of all.
Best of all, the book is available in numerous bookstores, both online and off, and it is available in an audible addition as well. De Botton also does a set of YouTube video which explore the philosophers in his book. Watch it below.
Can one simple book change your life? Maybe not all of them can, but this one certainly has the potential to do just that. It may not make you want to enroll in college and get a degree in philosophy, but it will certainly influence you and become an integral part of your personality, not to mention a way to feel better about yourself as you head into the future.
De Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy applies to our reality and will definitely expand your perspective on life. It might even, like it did for me, encourage you to read more philosophy which will further assist you in understanding and combating so many of life’s problems.
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As a huge fan of de Botton and philosophy in general, I’ve got the paperback and the audio book and recommend them both. It all depends on what type of learner you are.
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