Alain De Botton Quotes


Type: Author, television presenter

Born: 20 December 1969


Alain de Botton is a Swiss-born, British-based author and television presenter. His books and television programmes discuss various contemporary subjects and themes, emphasizing philosophy's relevance to everyday life. At 23, he 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).

Alain De Botton Quotes

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

One kind of good book should leave you asking: how did the author know that about me?

Most business meetings involve one party elaborately suppressing a wish to shout at the other: 'just give us the money'.

It is according to how we are able to answer the question of what we do (normally the first enquiry we will have to field in any new acquaintance) that the quality of our reception is likely to be decided.

A 'good job' can be both practically attractive while still not good enough to devote your entire life to.

Never too late to learn some embarrassingly basic, stupidly obvious things about oneself.

Pegging your contentment to the overall state of the world rather than of your own life: the basis of morality, or a sort of madness?

On account of its scale and complexity, the world will always outstrip the capacity of any single body to ask fertile questions of it.

One rarely falls in love without being as much attracted to what is interestingly wrong with someone as what is objectively healthy.

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

One's doing well if age improves even slightly one's capacity to hold on to that vital truism: "This too shall pass.

The media insists on taking what someone didn't mean to say as being far closer to the truth than what they did.

The moment we cry in a film is not when things are sad but when they turn out to be more beautiful than we expected them to be.

The price we have paid for expecting to be so much more than our ancestors is a perpetual anxiety that we are far from being all we might be.

The most boring and unproductive question one can ask of any religion is whether or not it is true.

Far from rejecting outright any hierarchy of success or failure, philosophy instead reconfigures the judging process, lending legitimacy to theidea that themainstream value system may unfairly consign some people to disgrace and others to respectability.

My mistake was to confuse a destiny to love with a destiny to love a specific person. It was the error of thinking that Chloe, rather than love, was inevitable.

The materialistic view of happiness of our age starkly revealed in our understanding of the word "luxury.

The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts.

Don't despair: despair suggests you are in total control and know what is coming. You don't - surrender to events with hope.

We study biology, physics, movements of glaciers... Where are the classes on envy, feeling wronged, despair, bitterness...

In a secularising world, art has replaced religion as a touchstone of our reverence and devotion.

Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone - and finding that that's ok with them.

You have to be quite heavily invested in someone to do them the honour of telling them you're annoyed with them.

Most of what makes a book 'good' is that we are reading it at the right moment for us.

Booksellers are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the numbers of books written because authors couldn't find anyone to talk to.

If one felt successful, there'd be so little incentive to be successful.

He was marked out by his relentless ability to find fault with others' mediocrity-suggesting that a certain type of intelligence may be at heart nothing more or less than a superior capacity for dissatisfaction.

The feeling one has no time to get anything done provides the pressure that guarantees one does get some things done.

A popular perception that political news is boring is no minor issue; for when news fails to harness the curiosity and attention of a mass audience through its presentational techniques, a society becomes dangerously unable to grapple with its own dilemmas and therefore to marshal the popular will to change and improve itself.

To look at the paper is to raise a seashell to one's ear and to be overwhelmed by the roar of humanity.

It is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic that we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things.

What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.

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

There is a danger of developing a blanket distaste for modern life which could have its attractions but lack the all-important images to help us identify them.

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

...Because beauty is typically the result of a few qualities working in concert, it can take more to guarantee the appeal of a bridge or a house than strength alone. (p 205)

Good sex isn’t just fun, it keeps us sane and happy. Having sex with someone makes us feel wanted, alive and potent

We owe it to the fields that our houses will not be the inferiors of the virgin land they have replaced. We owe it to the worms and the trees that the building we cover them with will stand as promises of the highest and most intelligent kinds of happiness.

Being put in our place by something larger, older, greater than ourselves is not a humiliation; it should be accepted as a relief from our insanely hopeful ambitions for our lives.

The Anxiety of Sunday afternoon: your unlived lives and infinite possibility pressing upon the constraints of reality.

It is in books, poems, paintings which often give us the confidence to take seriously feelings in ourselves that we might otherwise never have thought to acknowledge.

Art was the very antithesis of crass moralism.

Our sense of what is valuable will hence be radically distorted if we must perpetually condemn as tedious everything we lack, simply because we lack it.

Anyone who isn't embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn't learning enough.

The only people we can think of as normal are those we don't yet know very well.

Our minds are susceptible to the influence of external voices telling us what we require to be satisfied, voices that may drown out the faint sounds emitted by our souls and distract us from the careful, arduous task of accurately naming our priorities.

Whatever modern democracies may tell themselves about their commitment to free speech and to diversity of opinion, the values of a given society will uncannily match those of whichever organizations have the scale to pay for runs of thirty-second slots around the nightly news bulletin.

Paying tax should be framed as a glorious civic duty worthy of gratitude - not a punishment for making money.

A great writer picks up on those things that matter. It’s almost like their radar is attuned to the most significant moments.

It is difficult when reading the description of certain fictional characters not at the same time to imagine the real-life acquaintances who they most closely, if often unexpectedly, resemble.

One cannot read a novel without ascribing to the heroine the traits of the one we love.

The desire for high status is never stronger than in situations where "ordinary" life fails to answer a median need for dignity and comfort.

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

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

Maturity/experience: the beguiling texture of stones subjected to years of furious seas.

Importance of the random: keep brushing up against people, books, experiences we don't yet know what to do with.

Hoe machtig onze technologie en hoe complex onze ondernemingen ook mogen zijn, het opmerkelijkste kenmerk van onze moderne arbeid is uiteindelijk misschien wel iets wat in onszelf zit, een aspect van onze mentaliteit: de wijdverbreide overtuiging dat ons werk ons gelukkig moet maken.

Share Page

Alain De Botton Wiki

Alain De Botton At Amazon