Alain de Botton 4

Used to do a lot of falling in love with people, almost in the street, and imagining that there would be no obstacle to a happy love story other than finding the ‘right person’.
Alain de Botton

I’m one of those introverted people who simply feels a lot better after spending time alone thinking through ideas and emotions. This is a sign, I’ve come to think, of a kind of emotional disturbance – a reaction to inner fragility. I wish I were more able to just act and do, rather than constantly have to retreat and examine and think.
Alain de Botton

The greatest compliment I get about my writing is when people say, ‘How did you know so much about me?’ And of course, the answer is very simple: ‘I just observed myself without sentimentality.’
Alain de Botton

Emotional life is – alongside work – one of the great challenges of existence and is a theme that I keep returning to.
Alain de Botton

I’m not an academic philosopher, and don’t agree with the way the universities approach the subject. I’m a philosopher only in the very loose sense of someone interested in wisdom and well-being attained through reason. But I’m as interested in psychoanalysis and art as I am in philosophy.
Alain de Botton

Parents don’t reveal how often they have bitten their tongue, fought back the tears, or been too tired to take off their clothes after a day of childcare. The parent loves, but they do not expect the favour to be returned in any significant way.
Alain de Botton

Parent and child may both love, but – unbeknown to the child – each party is on a different end of the axis. This is why, in adulthood, when we first long for ‘love’, what we mean is that we want to ‘be loved’ as we were once loved by a parent.
Alain de Botton

Parents become very good at not hearing the explicit words and listening instead to what the child means but doesn’t yet know how to say: ‘I’m lonely, in pain, frightened’ – distress which then unfairly comes out as an attack on the safest, kindest, most reliable thing in the child’s world: the parent.
Alain de Botton

The romantic person instinctively sees marriage in terms of emotions, but what a couple actually gets up to together over a lifetime has much more in common with the workings of a small business. They must draw up work rosters, clean, chauffeur, cook, fix, throw away, mind, hire, fire, reconcile, and budget.
Alain de Botton

The idea of a book that can make a change to your life, that can affect your perspective, is a beautiful and great ambition: one that Seneca, Nietzsche and Tolstoy would have sympathised with.
Alain de Botton

I fell in love with Norman Mailer’s ‘Of a Fire on the Moon’, a description of the 1969 moon landing and the society that had produced NASA – and was inspired by him to begin a kind of anthropology of modern life.
Alain de Botton

I’ve tried to write about Heathrow before and been escorted off the premises.
Alain de Botton

The problem with airports is that we go there when we need to catch a plane – and because it’s so difficult to find the way to the gate, we tend not to look around at our surroundings.
Alain de Botton

Trying to be a sort of intellectual in the public arena is very irritating to people. They think, ‘Why is this bugger on television?’
Alain de Botton

It’s great to get an ‘F’, but you also want to give the sense that there’s something outside achievement. I’ve seen a lot of so-called high-achievers who don’t feel they’ve achieved much.
Alain de Botton

I guess my overall life plan is to think about issues that concern me and try to use culture generally to make sense of them. I’m more worried that I’m going to die before I’ve had time.
Alain de Botton

What annoys me about most self-help books is that they have no tragic sense. They have no sense that life is fundamentally incomplete rather than accidentally incomplete.
Alain de Botton

The humanities have been forced to disguise, both from themselves and their students, why their subjects really matter, for the sake of attracting money and prestige in a world obsessed by the achievements of science.
Alain de Botton

We are properly ready for marriage when we are strong enough to embrace a life of frustration.
Alain de Botton

To a shameful extent, the charm of marriage boils down to how unpleasant it is to be alone.
Alain de Botton

What we typically call love is only the start of love. Our understanding of love has been hijacked and beguiled by its first distractingly moving moments.
Alain de Botton

Small issues are really just large ones that haven’t been accorded the requisite attention.
Alain de Botton

Travel is a lot like love.
Alain de Botton

I do think that travel can be part of a journey of inner maturation, but you’ve got to do it right.
Alain de Botton

Fantasies can be great, but we shouldn’t make the wedding a fantasy, because the wedding is the gateway to married life. It shouldn’t be a moment of illusion; it should be a moment of preparation.
Alain de Botton

We tend to think of philosophies as produced by professional philosophers. Traditionally, this has meant people who have written dissertations on obscure subjects or who spend most of their day in libraries. But every human is, in an important sense, a carrier of an implicit philosophy – evident in their choices, pronouncements and commitments.
Alain de Botton

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