The Consolations of Philosophy, Paperback

The Consolations of Philosophy Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (5 ratings)


The Consolations of Philosophy is Alain de Botton's internationally bestselling guide to life.

Alain de Botton, bestselling author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, has set six of the finest minds in the history of philosophy to work on the problems of everyday life.

Here then are Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche on some of the things that bother us all: lack of money, the pain of love, inadequacy, anxiety; the fear of failure and the pressure to conform. "Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives." (Independent). "No doubt about it, philosophy is the new rock and roll and Alain de Botton is its Colonel Tom Parker...A pleasure to read. And good writing, like good philosophy, is always a consolation." (John Banville, Irish Times). "Few discussions on the great philosophers can have been so ingenious, imaginative book." (Humphrey Carpenter, Sunday Times). "Witty, thoughtful, entertaining...a stylish book, which manages to make philosophy both enjoyable and relevant." (Anthony Clare, Literary Review). "Gentle, helpful and humane...De Botton's instinct is surely right: if we are to bring philosophy to life we should look again at those thinkers who have sought to be not clever or paradoxical, but simply wise. " (Roger Scruton, Mail on Sunday).


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272 pages, Ill.
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of Western philosophy
  • ISBN: 9780140276619



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

This is a delight. The philosophy is light-weight (which is a plus), and occasionally dubious, but always enjoyable. I particularly liked the chapter on Consolation for Not Having Enough Money.

Review by

De Botton has been described as saying "ah but is it...?" to a lot of modern ideas. Here he offers sound advice for some common problems, advice taken from the life and work of various prominent philosophers. I discovered I'm an Epicurean while reading this, pass the pickled dolphin!

Review by

I've read a great many books this year, but none have made me so extraordinarily happy as Alain De Botton's little guide to philosophy.De Botton has assembled a group of six philosophers, linked through time by shared interests and fascinations and a certain philosophical lineage, and uses their work to help us in each of six consolations: for unpopularity; for not having enough money; for frustration; for inadequacy; for a broken heart; and for difficulties.De Botton chooses his philosophers, and their quotables, very wisely, and everything is as clear to follow and as enjoyable as Montaigne himself would have wanted. As well as being very erudite, De Botton's prose is light and humourous, and leads the reader comfortably along; still, there is a lot of time to pause for thought, and I allowed myself twice as long to read this slim volume as I would have done any other book.

Review by

I'm guessing a lot of people probably hate this book for all the reasons I don't. The first is that it's more like a self-help guide book than a discussion of philosophical ideas and the second is its simplicity. Alain de Botton takes well known thinkers and their thinky thoughts summing up complex ideas in a small short book. Some may feel that it's a book too short for such big ideas, but I really liked this style of fly-by philosophizing. I like the way ideas are framed for the reader to ruminate, find perspective and finally, perhaps consolation. It's a wonderful and fun book.

Review by

This book manages to make the thoughts of the great philosophers seem breathtakingly banal. And does so in a condescending tone. Avoid at all costs.