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Summary

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.

Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche are studied for the light their work can shine on certain great universal problems - poverty, inadequacy, lovelessness, and so on. They stand as examples of the practical utility of philosophy.

©2000 Alain de Botton (P)2013 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic reviews

"Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives." ( Independent)
"No doubt about it, philosophy is the new rock and roll and Alain de Botton is its Colonel Tom Parker.... A pleasure to read. And good writing, like good philosophy, is always a consolation." (John Banville, Irish Times)
"Few discussions on the great philosophers can have been so entertaining...an ingenious, imaginative book." (Humphrey Carpenter, Sunday Times)

What listeners say about The Consolations of Philosophy

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Hugely entertaining!!

Would recommend to anyone who has an interest in philosophy. The chapters on Montaigne stand out particularly! A great beginners guide!

5 people found this helpful

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Well written and highly enjoyable.

Really good introduction to the core ideas of these philosophers. Perfect for beginners in philosophy.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A bit disappointed

I thought this would be a recipe for a fantastic listen. I have an interest in philosophy, and have enjoyed many of Alain's Ted Talks. Unfortunately I found the whole thing a bit disappointing.

I found the writing style difficult to engage with, and it all just dragged on a bit. It didn't feel like it flowed particularly well.

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  • Dr
  • 19-10-20

Wonderful food for thought

Although not written in the same style as religion for atheists, a book I really enjoyed reading, this is a wonderful book that by telling the life stories of philosophers such as Epicurus, Socrates, Seneca, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and others explores their ideas about happiness, anger, fear, friendship, freedom, religion, alcohol and many other things.

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Valiant attempt

Rather than a reflection on the book, I've simply come to think that philosophy isn't well adapted for engagement outside the classroom.