We are never really taught how to make sense of the torrent of news we face every day, writes Alain de Botton (author of the best-selling The Architecture of Happiness), but this has a huge impact on our sense of what matters and of how we should lead our lives. In his dazzling new book, de Botton takes twenty-five archetypal news stories - including an airplane crash, a murder, a celebrity interview and a political scandal - and submits them to unusually intense analysis with a view to helping us navigate our news-soaked age.
"Not his best"
In ancient Greece or Rome, philosophers were seen as natural authorities on the most pressing questions. However, since then, the idea of finding wisdom from philosophy has come to seem bizarre. Enter a university department today and ask to study wisdom, and you will politely but firmly be shown the door. The Consolations of Philosophy sets out to refute the notion that good philosophy must be irrelevant and gathers together six great philosophers who were convinced of the power of philosophical insight to work a practical effect on our lives.
We all worry about what others think of us. We all long to succeed and fear failure. We all suffer - to a greater or lesser degree, usually privately and with embarrassment - from status anxiety. For the first time, Alain de Botton gives a name to his universal condition and sets out to investigate both its origins and possible solutions. He looks at history, philosophy, economics, art, and politics - and reveals the many ingenious ways that great minds have overcome their worries. The result is a book that is not only entertaining and thought-provoking - but genuinely wise and helpful as well.
The boring debate between fundamentalist believers and non-believers is finally moved on by Alain de Botton's inspiring new book, which boldly argues that the supernatural claims of religion are of course entirely false - and yet that religions still have important things to teach the secular world.
One of the great, but often unmentioned, causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kind of walls, chairs, buildings, and streets we're surrounded by. And yet a concern for architecture and design is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. The Architecture of Happiness starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be - and argues that it is architecture's task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.
View your sex life in a different light and learn how it can make you happier. Sex is the most intimately human experience there is. It is can also be the most confusing. Our desire to be together conflicts with our desire to avoid vulnerability and appear 'normal', leaving us detached, desensitised or embarrassed. Covering topics including adultery, lust, pornography and impotence, Alain de Botton argues that 21st century sex will always be a balancing act of trust versus risk, and of primal desire versus studied civility.
"Alain knows us"
Aside from love, few actvities seem to promise us as much happiness as going traveling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs, and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel, few people seem to talk about why we should go and how we can become more fulfilled by doing so.
In his extraordinary new book, Alain de Botton explores the importance of buildings in our lives, pondering our attachment to our homes and considering such questions as: Why do people disagree about taste? Can beautiful surroundings make us good?
For anyone who ever wondered what Marcel Proust had in mind when he wrote the one-and-a-quarter-million words of In Search of Lost Time (while bedridden no less), Alain de Botton has the answer. For, in this stylish, erudite and frequently hilarious book, de Botton dips deeply into Proust's life and work - his fiction, letter, and conversations - and distils from them that rare self-help manual: one that is actually helpful.
"Life before finishing Proust"
We all worry about what others think of us. We all long to succeed and fear failure. We all suffer, to a greater or lesser degree, usually privately and with embarrassment, from status anxiety. For the first time, Alain de Botton gives a name to this universal condition and sets out to investigate both its origins and possible solutions. He looks at history, philosophy, economics, art, and politics, and reveals the many ingenious ways that great minds have overcome their worries.
"Talking about taboos"
Essays in Love is a stunningly original love story. Taking in Aristotle, Wittgenstein, history, religion and Groucho Marx, Alain de Botton charts the progress of a love affair from the first kiss to argument and reconciliation, from intimacy and tenderness to the onset of anxiety and heartbreak.
"Not for the lonely ..."
Alain de Botton believes that philosophy can help people enjoy happier lives. And in his numerous best sellers, from Status Anxiety to The Art of Travel, his unique blend of erudition and self-help has reached an audience eager to listen. In On Seeing and Noticing, Alain de Botton takes everyday concerns such as expressing sadness or being romantic and dispenses advice and observations based on the works of some of history's greatest writers, artists and thinkers.
We spend most of our waking lives at work - in occupations often chosen by our unthinking 16-year-old selves. And yet we rarely ask ourselves how we got there or what it might mean for us. Equally intrigued by work's pleasures and its pains, Alain de Botton heads into the office, the factory, the fishing fleet, and the logistics centre, ears and eyes open to the beauty, interest, and sheer strangeness of the modern workplace. Why do we do it? What makes it pleasurable? And why do we daily exhaust not only ourselves but also the planet?
"good subject matter loses it's way!!"
Alain de Botton was given unprecedented, unrestricted access to wander around Heathrow, one of the world's biggest airports, having been appointed its Writer-in-Residence. He spoke with everyone from airline staff and senior executives to travellers passing through, and based on these conversations he produced this extraordinary account of life at an airport and what it says about modern existence.
Few activities seem to promise us as much happiness as going travelling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs, and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel to, we seldom ask why we go and how we might become more fulfilled by doing so.
In The Romantic Movement, Alain de Botton explores the progress of a love affair from first meeting to breaking up, intercut with musings on the nature of art of love. The relationship between Alice, an advertising executive, and Eric, a banker, is examined at every stage, supplemented by quizzes and commentary by a chorus of great philosophers, from Descartes to Plato to Aretha Franklin. The Romantic Movement will charm listeners and lovers alike with wit, insight, and intelligence.
Dr. Samuel Johnson observed that everyone's life is a subject worthy of the biographer's art. Accused by a former girlfriend of being unable to empathise, the narrator of Kiss & Tell takes Johnson's idea to heart and decides to write about the next person who walks into his life. He meets Isabel Rogers, a production assistant at a small stationery company in London, apparently an ordinary woman. But as the biographer's understanding of Isabel deepens, she becomes remarkable.
The Penguin Remixed competition invited musicians and DJs to sample, mix, and mash excerpts of some of the best audiobooks around. Launched in May 2005, the contest attracted hundreds of entries and the public voted in the thousands for the tracks they wanted to see on the Penguin Remixed album.
Sonny's on the run. Sonny is a model prisoner. He listens to the confessions of other inmates, and absolves them of their sins. He's been lied to his whole life. But then one prisoner's confession changes everything. He knows something about Sonny's disgraced father. Sonny wants revenge. He needs to break out of prison and make those responsible pay for their crimes. Whatever the cost.
This is Part One of Book 1 of the A Song of Ice and Fire Series. This first volume in the hugely popular and highly acclaimed epic fantasy series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is unabridged and split into two parts. Now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, starring Sean Bean. Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
"A truly brilliant fantasy novel"
Jennifer Saunders' comic creations have brought joy to millions. From Comic Strip to Comic Relief, from Bolly-swilling Edina in Ab Fab to her takes on Madonna or Mamma Mia, her characters are household names. But it's Jennifer herself who has a place in all our hearts. This is her funny, moving, and frankly bonkers memoir, filled with laughter, friends, and occasional heartache - but never misery. Bonkers is full of riotous adventures.
Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed - no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen.
"Hilter Springer Show"
It's a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she's ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart 18 years ago. Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light....
For 16-year-old Tris, the world changes in a heartbeat when she is forced to make a terrible choice. Turning her back on her family, Tris ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs. Shocked by the brutality of her new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her. The hardest choices may yet lie ahead.... A debut novel that will leave you breathless.
When nine-year-old Liesel arrives outside the boxlike house of her new foster parents at 33 Himmel Street, she refuses to get out of the car. Liesel has been separated from her parents, "Kommunists", forever, and at the burial of her little brother, she steals a gravedigger's instruction manual, which she can't read. It is the beginning of her illustrious career.
Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.
Jack and Michael Whitehall perform their laugh-out-loud autobiography Him & Me as a unique dual-voiced comedy audiobook, filled with ad-libs, asides, and comic dialogue to create a uniquely funny listen. Jack and Michael open up the rich and plentiful family lore archives on topics such as Jack's nanny's enormous feet, Michael's lifetime touchline ban from Jack's prep-school and the Whitehall collection of downright weird and eccentric relatives.
"The most fun you can have with your clothes on!"
This is Part Two of Book 1 of the A Song of Ice and Fire Series. This first volume in the hugely popular and highly acclaimed epic fantasy series A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is unabridged and split into two parts. Now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, starring Sean Bean. Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime.
"Excellent story, narrator still irks"
Leading consultant psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters knows more than anyone how impulsive behaviour or nagging self-doubt can impact negatively on our professional and personal lives. In this, his first book, Steve shares his phenomenally successful mind-management programme that has been used to help elite athletes and senior managers alike to conquer their fears and operate with greater control, focus and confidence.
"Life changing- a must for stress heads"
With two jobs and two children, Jess Thomas does her best day after day. But it's hard on your own. And sometimes you take risks you shouldn't. Because you have to.... Jess' gifted, quirky daughter Tanzie is brilliant with numbers, but without a helping hand she'll never get the chance to shine. And Nicky, Jess' teenage stepson, can't fight the bullies alone. Sometimes Jess feels like they're sinking.... Into their lives comes Ed Nicholls, a man whose life is in chaos, and who is running from a deeply uncertain future. But he has time on his hands. He knows what it's like to be lonely. And he wants to help....
"A compelling, uplifting listen"
Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. 'I nearly missed you, Doctor August,' she says.
Aged 13, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.
"Narrator Hand Picked By Tartt- Outstanding!"
Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future. Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever...because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.
"Absorbing dystopian fiction"