Skip to content

Alain De Botton – November 10, 2015

11/10/15 Alain De Botton
  • Novelist turned practical philosopher
    • Focused on emotional health through philosophy
  • First world problems are a real thing, and a result of advanced civilization. Concerns around relationships, workplace satisfaction, etc.
  • Was taught early on that happiness will be found through another. That she would bring personal fulfillment.
  • Taught that you will work very stupidly hard until you magically find creativity and financial success.
  • Essay – How Proust can change your life.
    • Spent immense time simplifying the book into easy language.
  • Felt pressured to prove himself from a very young age.
  • All high culture has a richness beyond just entertainment, it has a depth that affects your life.
  • The best writers give a presence of the author in the room.
  • Initially, philosophy set out to be a therapy for the soul.
  • “the great challenge of our own age is to take the good ideas and make them available to a wide public.”
  • Out in the streets, the great ideas are harder to find.
  • We come from collective societies where our own achievement was only a tiny part of our sense of self.
    • Taking that defining of self from bigger things (religion, nation, family) puts a massive burden on people today, without giving them the guidance on how to navigate it.
    • It’s a healthy  first step to realize that we are under this pressure.
  • Status anxiety begins to diminish the more you know what your path is. The paths of others matter less to you.
  • Successful person – taken hold of and fathomed their talents, while reconciling themselves to their weaknesses.
  • We don’t put in a pedestal the people of ordinary genius in the business of living. But they are truly successful.
  • The word success has been contaminated with extraordinary tales, where in fact it’s about being at peace. People who we deem as successful often lack the inner peace.
  • Having success isn’t just about getting what you want, it’s learning to appreciate what you have.
  • Documentary: 7 up