Alain de Botton 3

Sometimes my biography is interpreted as the upbringing of a French aristocrat. It was very, very different. We were a family of mercantile, immigrant Jews.
Alain de Botton

I was told by my father nine times a day that you were going to get a job the minute you finish your studies.
Alain de Botton

Advertising is – quite often – alive to our real needs. It’s just the products on offer might not be the things that will help us satisfy them.
Alain de Botton

The solution as consumers is – perhaps surprisingly – to take adverts very, very seriously. We should ask ourselves what it is that we find lovely in them – the visions of friendship, togetherness, repose, or whatever. And then consider what would actually help us find these qualities in our lives.
Alain de Botton

Therapy and counseling can do wonderful things for people. But they have emerged so far as what are sometimes called ‘cottage industries’ – that is, as individuals or small groups offering generally quite expensive services to a few clients.
Alain de Botton

The central task for a business is to make a profit. The challenge is to make a profit by doing things which are genuinely good for people and good for societies.
Alain de Botton

Most of the time, we make discoveries about how difficult people are at the moment when the difficulties have actually hurt us; therefore, we are not likely to be forgiving or sympathetic.
Alain de Botton

In the early days of love sometimes, you will report an ecstatic feeling you have met someone who seems to understand you without you needing to speak.
Alain de Botton

Often we think love is a feeling: that you spontaneously experience it.
Alain de Botton

If you are pro love, you have to be a little bit disloyal to the romantic feelings that propel you in the early days.
Alain de Botton

There’s something called religion, and it was invented a long time ago by people who felt very out of control with their lives, who didn’t know… why the sun always rose over the mountains.
Alain de Botton

I tell my children what I think myself: That religion is not necessarily convincing, but it is still interesting and not to be laughed at or denigrated.
Alain de Botton

I see religion as a storehouse of lots of really good ideas that a secular world should look at, raid, and learn from.
Alain de Botton

The claims I’m making for art are simply the claims that we naturally make around music or around poetry. We’re much more relaxed around those art forms. We’re willing to ask, ‘How could this find a place in my heart?’
Alain de Botton

My theory is that many of the things that move us are things we long for but find hard to do.
Alain de Botton

Sweetness is the opposite of machismo, which is everywhere – and I really don’t get on with machismo. I’m interested in sensitivity and weakness and fear and anxiety because I think that, at the end of the day, behind our masks, that’s what we are.
Alain de Botton

Some of the reason why we marry the wrong people is that we don’t really understand ourselves.
Alain de Botton

Sometimes I say to people, ‘Do you think you’re easy to live with?’ People who are single. And the ones who say, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m pretty easy to live with; it’s just a question of finding the right person,’ massive alarm bell rings in my mind.
Alain de Botton

If you’re understood in maybe, I don’t know, 60% of your soul by your partner, that’s fantastic. Don’t expect that it’s going to be 100%. Of course you will be lonely.
Alain de Botton

You will often be in despair. You will sometimes think it’s the worst decision in your life. That’s fine. That’s not a sign your marriage has gone wrong. It’s a sign that it’s normal; it’s on track. And many of the hopes that took you into the marriage will have to die in order for the marriage to continue.
Alain de Botton

The death of marriage has been announced so often and would seem so normal, in a sense. So what’s surprising is the sheer longevity and tenacity of this institution.
Alain de Botton

I don’t want to say that our expectations of love are too high; it’s just that if we’re to meet them, we have to become a little more self-aware.
Alain de Botton

I love novels where not much ‘happens’ but where the interest is in the ideas and analyses of characters.
Alain de Botton

Everyone’s more vulnerable than they seem, and I think men are more vulnerable. Once you get close to a man, the whole thing’s a facade anyway. I think manhood is fragile.
Alain de Botton

The number one person who needs my books is me. I’m not some sort of disinterested guru who has worked life out and is handing things out to the poor people who might not have life worked out.
Alain de Botton

What I do know from my life is the phenomenon of saying, ‘This is too small a thing to argue about’, but then nevertheless finding oneself in that argument.
Alain de Botton

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