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Summary

A thought-provoking essay that teaches us that confidence is not a gift from the gods, but a skill that can be learned. 

We spend vast amounts of time acquiring confidence in narrow technical fields: quadratic equations or bioengineering; economics or pole vaulting. But we overlook the primordial need to acquire a more free-ranging variety of confidence - one that can serve us across a range of tasks: speaking to strangers at parties, asking someone to marry us, suggesting a fellow passenger turn down their music, changing the world. 

This is a guidebook to confidence, why we lack it and how we can acquire more of it in our lives. On Confidence walks us gently and wryly around the key issues that stop us from making more of our potential.

©2020 The School of Life (P)2020 The School of Life

What listeners say about On Confidence

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A refreshing, holistic, funny and essential perspective on confidence

I personally needed to hear everything that Alain De Botton has written on confidence. He debunks the myths and stories we have been told as a collective and in our individual family systems; he draws on fascinating historical references while making them relevant to the 21st century and he makes you laugh out loud! An essential listen for anyone lacking in confidence.

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  • Graceny Jimenez
  • 15-08-20

Poignant and timeless

The School of Life and Alain de Botton can be the best friends we never had during these trying times (review written August 2020). This book is only an hour long, but a great listen to and from long commutes. If you're familiar with their YouTube films it can feel bit redundant. But if like me, you tend to forget things quickly, the familiarity the content is part of its charm.

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  • Brian
  • 14-05-21

self improvement 🧠💡

I feel like I understand what confidence means! it says I need at least 15 words to write this review 🤣🤣

1 person found this helpful

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  • pebblesinwater
  • 27-12-20

Excellent

Yes, it’s short, but it’s also packed with wisdom and insight well worth one credit. As a matter of fact, I have thoroughly appreciated all of Alain’s other writings on Audible as well!

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  • Master Fable
  • 06-12-20

inspiring, challenging, affirming

What an incredible listen, Alan is able to pierce the thin veil of cultural custom and reveal the absurdities and assumptions we make as people in the 21st century. His simplicity and precision is like that of an artist whom truly knows his medium. His presentation style is accessible, profound and enlivening. At only an hour and a half this is an incredibly powerful book that anyone should listen to and continue to revisit as these simple pros of behavior and understanding can slip out of our awareness leaving ourselves and others lesser for it.

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  • Bonnie L
  • 23-10-20

It heals

Like other books and videos produced by the School of Life, it heals. The perspectives of the author made me realise the wounds I carried since childhood. And with this new self-understanding, it shed lights upon many challenges I face as an adult. They aren’t as grim and as hopeless as I thought. With the right effort, we can start to make them well. And this is a huge relief.

Alain de Botton, as always, presents the ideas with the most passionate, comforting and reassuring voice.

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  • Allison Hamm
  • 18-09-21

Favorite this

This book is an exquisite relief from either the shrinking of insecurity or false bravado of a “name it and claim it” kind of confidence. In both content and performance, it offers a substantive and galvanizing perspective of what confidence really is, and why it matters in living a fulfilled and wholesome life. Listen to it every month.