Inspiration, Quotes, Productivity and More

Alain de Botton Selected Quotes

Alain de Botton was born on December 1969 in Switzerland. At the age of 8, his family moved to England. He studied History at Cambridge University.

Alain de Botton has written several books such as How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Architecture of Happiness, The News: A user’s Manual and The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work among many others.

De Botton also runs a school in London called The School of Life, dedicated to a new vision of education.

Alain de Botton Quotes

I’m also interested in the modern suggestion that you can have a combination of love and sex in a marriage – which no previous society has ever believed.

Alain de Botton

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kant and Hegel are interesting thinkers. But I am happy to insist that they are also terrible writers.

Alain de Botton

In Greek, philo means love – or devotion – and sophia means wisdom. Philosophers are people devoted to wisdom….Being wise means attempting to live and die well, leading as good a life as possible within the troubled conditions of existence. The goal of wisdom is fulfilment.

Alain de Botton

You could perhaps say ‘happiness’ but ‘happiness’ is misleading, for it suggests continuous chirpiness and joy, whereas ‘fulfilment’ seems compatible with a lot of pain and suffering, which every decent life must by necessity have.

Alain de Botton

The traditional division between product or service innovation and marketing is now out of date, and many companies are seeing that investing in nice superficial ads without adapting the core product or service is not a good long term strategy; consumers are getting much more cynical about brands who just rely on advertising to sell a product that doesn’t really help improve our lives – at least in some small way.

Alain de Botton

If we look at brands like Patagonia or Vitsoe for example, who design their products in such a way that they are intended to last a lifetime, they are environmentally sustainable of course – but they are also emotionally sustainable too in the sense that they that gently nudge us away from an anxiety inducing acquisitiveness.

Alain de Botton

Popularity is hugely important because it means that an idea or a value is alive in the minds of large numbers of people.

Alain de Botton

Popular culture provides the repertoire of all the moves for reaching people: It’s funny, very honest about negative reactions, rude, and extremely interested in sex.

Alain de Botton

The greatest ambition is to make the truth popular. We need the most useful ideas to learn all the arts of populism. It may be idiotic and lamentable that this is what human nature tends to be like.

Alain de Botton

The lack of emotional intelligence circulating in society. I’m desperate to improve the transmission of wisdom. That’s my thing.

Alain de Botton

We make the equation that, if you love me, you are supposed to understand me even if I don’t explain what’s wrong.

Alain de Botton

Love gives us a ringside seat on somebody else’s flaws. You will spot things that need to be mentioned.

Alain de Botton

Often we think love is a feeling, that you spontaneously experience it. I think, ultimately, it is a skill that needs to be learned. We are not set up for that.

Alain de Botton

What Britain has done is the classic error of the person who has blamed the partner, the EU, for everything and is soon to discover many of the problems of life are going to continue even outside that relationship.

Alain de Botton

Academics and the whole academic superstructure see themselves as very much having a responsibility to people who lived hundreds of years ago, and they see their life as trying to recover what so and so actually said, and what so and so actually meant.

Alain de Botton

In Britain, because I live here, I can also run into problems of envy and competition. But all this is just in a day’s work for a writer. You can’t put stuff out there without someone calling you a complete fool. Oh, well.

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

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

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

Alain de Botton

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

Alain de Botton

It’s clear to me that there is no good reason for many philosophy books to sound as complicated as they do.

Alain de Botton

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