Alain de Botton – The School of Life

Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton – The School of Life – Contents

  • Alain de Botton Biography
  • Alain de Botton – Big Idea: The School of Life
  • Interesting Facts and Insights about Alain de Botton
  • Career Advice Quotes by Alain de Botton
  • Business Advice Quotes by Alain de Botton
  • Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Alain de Botton
  • Alain de Botton Inspirational Quotes
  • Books by Alain de Botton
  • Questions about Alain de Botton
  • Alain de Botton – Videos

Alain de Botton Biography

Alain de Botton is a philosopher and author. His books focus on contemporary subjects and themes, emphasizing philosophy’s relevance to everyday life. He co-founded The School of Life in 2008 and he travels extensively to lecture.

Alain de Botton published “Essays in Love” (1993), which went on to sell two million copies. Other bestsellers include “How Proust Can Change Your Life” (1997), “Status Anxiety” (2004), and “The Architecture of Happiness” (2006). He also has his own production company, Seneca Productions, which makes television documentaries based upon his works.


Alain de Botton – Big Idea: The School of Life

In 2008, Alain de Botton founded The School of Life, as an educational company that offers advice on life issues. The school operates in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Seoul, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, São Paulo, Berlin, Zurich, and Melbourne.

The School of Life offers emotional education focusing in particular on the issues of Work and Relationships. The school provides programs covering finding fulfilling work, mastering relationships, achieving calm, and understanding, and changing the world.


Interesting Facts and Insights about Alain de Botton

  • Born: Alain de Botton was born in 1969, in Zürich, Switzerland.
  • Father: Alain de Botton’s father was Gilbert de Botton (1935 – 2000), who was an Israeli financial pioneer who pioneered models of asset management. He was fluent in nine languages and was a prominent art collector.
  • Parents: Alain de Botton’s Swiss-born mother was Ashkenazi. His father was from a Sephardic Jewish family.
  • Switzerland: Alain de Botton spent the first twelve years of his life in Switzerland, where he was brought up speaking French and German.
  • Dragon School: De Botton, then attended the Dragon School in England, where English became his primary language.
  • Harrow: De Botton was later sent to boarding school at Harrow School, a public school in England.
  • Cambridge: De Botton read History at the University of Cambridge.
  • MPhil: De Botton completed an MPhil in Philosophy at King’s College, London, in 1992.
  • Ph.D.: De Botton began studying for a Ph.D. in French philosophy at Harvard University, but gave up this research to write books.
  • On Love: De Botton’s first novel, “Essays in Love,” titled “On Love” in the U.S., was published in 1993. The book deals with the process of falling in and out of love.
  • Non-Fiction: De Botton published his first non-fiction book, “How Proust Can Change Your Life,” based on the life and works of Marcel Proust, in 1997. It became a bestseller.
  • Newspapers: De Botton used to write articles for several English newspapers.
  • Lecturing: De Botton travels extensively to lecture, teach and present at conferences. He has given lectures at TED conferences and Oxford University.
  • Radio: De Botton has presented a series of talks for BBC Radio in 2011.
  • TV: De Botton has his own production company, Seneca Productions, which makes television documentaries based upon his works.
  • The School of Life: Alain de Botton founded The School of Life in 2008.
  • Home: De Botton lives in London with his family.
  • Nationality: De Botton is both Swiss and British.

“Anxiety is the handmaiden of contemporary ambition.”

– Alain de Botton

Career Advice Quotes by Alain de Botton

“One of the best protections against disappointment is to have a lot going on.”

“Feeling lost, crazy and desperate belongs to a good life as much as optimism, certainty, and reason.”

“A ‘good job’ can be both practically attractive while still not good enough to devote your entire life to.”

“Anxiety is the handmaiden of contemporary ambition.”

“Bitterness: anger that forgot where it came from.”

“Not everything which happens to us occurs with reference to something about us.”

“As victims of hurt, we frequently don’t bring up what ails us, because so many wounds look absurd in the light of day.”

“It’s as important to know how to give up on dreams/ambitions as it is to know how to generate them.”

“Dreams reveal we never quite get ‘over’ anything: it’s all still in there somewhere.”

“Work begins when the fear of doing nothing at all finally trumps the terror of doing it badly.”

“We may seek a fortune for no greater reason than to secure the respect and attention of people who would otherwise look straight through us.”

“Rather than struggling to become bigger fish, we might concentrate our energies on finding smaller ponds or smaller species to swim with, so our own size will trouble us less.”


Business Advice Quotes by Alain de Botton

“A good half of the art of living is resilience.”

“The mind does most of its best thinking when we aren’t there. The answers are there in the morning.”

“Judged against eternity, how little of what agitates us makes any difference.”

“Not everything which makes us feel better is good for us. Not everything which hurts may be bad.”

“When a restaurant is too popular, it starts to harm the reason you are there.”

“One of the most welcome aspects of office work is that you do not need to be fully yourself.”

“Don’t despair: despair suggests you are in total control and know what is coming. You don’t – surrender to events with hope.”

“Year-end financial statements express a truth about office life which is no less irrefutable yet also, in the end, no less irrelevant or irritating than an evolutionary biologist’s proud reminder that the purpose of existence lies in the propagation of our genes.”

“We don’t really learn anything properly until there is a problem until we are in pain until something fails to go as we had hoped … We suffer, therefore we think.”

“It’s a huge psychological achievement to accept other humans in their bewildering mixture of good and bad, capacity to assist us and to frustrate us, kindness and meanness – and to see that, far more than we’re inclined to imagine in our furious or ecstatic moments, most people belong in that slightly sobering, slightly hopeful grey area that goes by the term ‘good enough.’


Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Alain de Botton

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”

“You have to be quite heavily invested in someone to do them the honor of telling them you’re annoyed with them.”

“One of the great recipes for a certain kind of happiness: a marked reluctance to imagine other people might deeply dislike you.”

“You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days.”

“It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement.”

“One’s doing well if age improves even slightly one’s capacity to hold on to that vital truism: ‘This too shall pass.’”

“To cope with the conflict between hope and reality, our culture should teach us good integration skills, prompting us to accept with a little more grace what is imperfect in ourselves – and then, by extension, in others.”

“By understanding and analyzing our feelings, we learn to see how emotions impact our behavior in unexpected, counterintuitive and sometimes dangerous ways. Philosophers were the first therapists.”


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“One of the best protections against disappointment is to have a lot going on.”

– Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton Inspirational Quotes

“It’s clear to me that there is no good reason for many philosophy books to sound as complicated as they do.”

“There’s a whole category of people who miss out by not allowing themselves to be weird enough.”

“If you want to turn a stranger into a friend, try telling them some of the ways in which you’ve failed.”

“Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone – and finding that that’s ok with them.”

“In a functioning democracy, the chief job of a politician is to be a teacher.”

“It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value.”

“Anxiety is an insight that we haven’t yet found a productive use for.”

“As adults, we try to develop the character traits that would have rescued our parents.”

“Being content is perhaps no less easy than playing the violin well: and requires no less practice.”

“Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.”

“The constant challenge of modern relationships: how to prove more interesting than the other’s smartphone.”

“The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.”

“Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than moving planes, ships or trains.”


Books by Alain de Botton

  • The Foundation of Love: A Man’s Story, by Alain de Botton, 1993
  • The Consolations of Philosophy, by Alain de Botton, 2000
  • The Architecture of Happiness, by Alain de Botton, 2006
  • The Art of Travel, by Alain de Botton, 2002
  • How Proust Can Change Your Life: Not a Novel, by Alain de Botton, 1997
  • Status Anxiety, by Alain de Botton, 2004
  • The Passage of Love, by Alain de Botton and Alex Miller, 2016
  • The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, by Alain de Botton, 2008
  • Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion, by Alain de Botton, 2011
  • The News: A User’s Manual, by Alain de Botton, 2014
  • How To Think More About Sex, by Alain de Botton, 2012
  • Art as therapy, by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong, 2013
  • A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary, by Alain de Botton, 2009
  • The Romantic Movement: Sex, Shopping, and the Novel, by Alain de Botton, 1994
  • Kiss & Tell: A Novel, by Alain de Botton, 1995
  • How to Take Your Time: From How Proust Can Change Your Life, by Alain de Botton, 1998
  • On Seeing and Noticing, by Alain de Botton, 2005

Questions about Alain de Botton


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Alain de Botton – Videos

Alain de Botton on Emotional Education

A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success – Alain de Botton


“There may be significant things to learn about people by looking at what annoys them most.”

– Alain de Botton

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