Alain de Botton

What is fascinating about marriage is why anyone wants to get married.
Alain de Botton

The thing is that love gives us a ringside seat on somebody else’s flaws, so of course you’re gonna spot some things that kinda need to be mentioned. But often the romantic view is to say, ‘If you loved me, you wouldn’t criticise me.’ Actually, true love is often about trying to teach someone how to be the best version of themselves.
Alain de Botton

On paper, being good sounds great but a lot depends on the atmosphere of the workplace or community we live in. We tend to become good or bad depending on the cues sent out within a particular space.
Alain de Botton

What is fascinating about marriage is why anyone wants to get married.
Alain de Botton

A city like London is sociable in a sense that there are people gathering in bars and restaurants, concerts and lectures. Yet you can partake of all these experiences and never say hello to anyone new. And one of the things that all religions do is take groups of strangers into a space and say it is OK to talk to each other.
Alain de Botton

I learnt to stop fantasising about the perfect job or the perfect relationship because that can actually be an excuse for not living.
Alain de Botton

It’s almost a blessing when we meet people who naturally want to do the sort of things that are in high demand in society. What a gift to do that, as opposed to other people who would say, ‘I want to be a novelist but actually I have to be an accountant.’
Alain de Botton

The philosophy I love is very selective. It is really just the bit that is involved in a search for wisdom, and this means a short roll call of names; Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epicurus, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche.
Alain de Botton

I am conscious of trying to stretch the boundaries of non-fiction writing. It’s always surprised me how little attention many non-fiction writers pay to the formal aspects of their work.
Alain de Botton

The Arab-Israeli conflict is also in many ways a conflict about status: it’s a war between two peoples who feel deeply humiliated by the other, who want the other to respect them. Battles over status can be even more intractable than those over land or water or oil.
Alain de Botton

My greatest joy comes from creativity: from feeling that I have been able to identify a certain aspect of human nature and crystallise a phenomenon in words.
Alain de Botton

The arrogance that says analysing the relationship between reasons and causes is more important than writing a philosophy of shyness or sadness or friendship drives me nuts. I can’t accept that.
Alain de Botton

As an atheist, I think there are lots of things religions get up to which are of value to non-believers – and one of those things is trying to be a bit better than we normally manage to be.
Alain de Botton

What bothers me is that there is so much emphasis on food, rather than gathering and meeting – so that there is all this effort in creating the right food, whereas the food is only a small part of whether the encounter is successful or not.
Alain de Botton

I passionately believe that’s it’s not just what you say that counts, it’s also how you say it – that the success of your argument critically depends on your manner of presenting it.
Alain de Botton

Pick up any newspaper or magazine, open the TV, and you’ll be bombarded with suggestions of how to have a successful life. Some of these suggestions are deeply unhelpful to our own projects and priorities – and we should take care.
Alain de Botton

Status anxiety definitely exists at a political level. Many Iraqis were annoyed with the US essentially for reasons of status: for not showing them respect, for humiliating them.
Alain de Botton

We are certainly influenced by role models, and if we are surrounded by images of beautiful rich people, we will start to think that to be beautiful and rich is very important – just as in the Middle Ages, people were surrounded by images of religious piety.
Alain de Botton

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.
Alain de Botton

I assemble my ideas in pieces on a computer file, then gradually find a place for them on a piece of scaffolding I erect.
Alain de Botton

I am always anxious.
Alain de Botton

I think people want to get married to end their emotional uncertainty. In a way, they want to end powerful feelings, or certainly the negative ones.
Alain de Botton

It’s very hard to respect people on holiday – everybody looks so silly at the beach, it makes you hate humanity – but when you see people at their work they elicit respect, whether it’s a mechanic, a stonemason or an accountant.
Alain de Botton

There are few more effective ways to promote tolerance between suspicious neighbours than to force them to eat supper together.
Alain de Botton

As for despair, it comes about when I have been a fool and hate myself and despair of my personality. I am prone to gloom, but not depression as such.
Alain de Botton

Le Corbusier is an outstanding writer. His ideas achieved their impact in large measure because he could write so convincingly. His style is utterly clear, brusque, funny and polemical in the best way.
Alain de Botton

I was uncomfortable writing fiction. My love was the personal essay, rather than the novel.
Alain de Botton

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