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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Introduction narrated by Alain de Botton

The Sunday Times best seller. 

The essential guide to how to live wisely and well in the 21st century - from Alain de Botton, the best-selling author of The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel and The Course of Love.

This is an audiobook about everything you were never taught at school. It's about how to understand your emotions, find and sustain love, succeed in your career, fail well and overcome shame and guilt. It's also about letting go of the myth of a perfect life in order to achieve genuine emotional maturity. Written in a hugely accessible, warm and humane style, The School of Life is the ultimate guide to the emotionally fulfilled lives we all long for - and deserve. 

This audiobook brings together 10 years of essential and transformative research on emotional intelligence, with practical topics including: 

  • how to understand yourself
  • how to master the dilemmas of relationships
  • how to become more effective at work 
  • how to endure failure
  • how to grow more serene and resilient
©2019 Alain de Botton (P)2019 Penguin Random House UK

Critic reviews

"What he has managed to do is remarkable: to help us think better so that we may live better lives." (Irish Times

"A serious and optimistic set of practical ideas that could improve and alter the way we live." (Jeanette Winterson, The Times)

"Alain de Botton likes to take big, complex subjects and write about them with thoughtful and deceptive innocence." (Observer

What listeners say about The School of Life

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More Alain needed....

I bought this as I love the works of Alain, but in particular I adore his voice, which is on the sample recording. I was therefore wholly disappointed that this was not actually narrated by him, as his voice is utterly charming and reassuring. Should have just bought the book and imagined it. :-(

24 people found this helpful

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The most imporant book ever written

--- I realise what a statement that is. Some people may even take offence, but none is intended. Alain de Botton and The School of Life have managed to produce a work that explains "How our minds work". It is titled "Emotional Intelligence". Reading this has laid my mind at peace on so many levels it is simply wondrous. Our knowledge of our emotional inner selves is so poor it beggars belief. How come the contents of this book have not been openly, publically taught to us before? It's simple; we still don't talk about our deepest fears and issues. Our emotional wellbeing is not a topic for open discussion; the stigma is still too much for most of us, as they point out. " it remains markedly strange to imagine that it might be possible - or even necessary - to be educated in our own emotional functioning, for example, that we might need to learn(rather than just know) how to avoid sulking or how to interpret our griefs, how to choose a partner or make oneself understood by a colleague." The book is simply brilliant at breaking down how WE ALL work. This is not a self-help book in my view; it is The self-help book! It is the first time I have ever come across a book that clearly explains how to think about YOUR personal life, how similar we all are and how to make sense of the myriad thoughts, fears, concerns, obsessions and failings with which we are all preoccupied. "Our emotions, if left unexamined and unschooled, are liable to lead us into some profoundly counter-productive situations in regard to our love choices, our careers, our friendships and the management of our own moods." Everyone should read this. To understand your parents. To understand why you are the way you are. To understand everyone else To help children have a better life To make the world a better place. I wish I had been taught this in school. Why isn't this taught in school? Being honest I didn't read the book, I listened to it on Audible, which I recommend as having it read to you makes most complex texts a lot easier to digest I find. --- #schooloflife #emotionalintelligence #importantbooks #education

6 people found this helpful

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Why???

My first question when reading this book was, why on earth has no one told me this before? This is all the more bewildering as I am a trained psychiatrist. This book deals head-on with the most complex and universal issues of our lives, such as love, disappointment, expectations. It is truly amazing that these things do not figure on our school curriculum. At the end there is perhaps an over-reliance on finding wisdom in the arts, especially the visual arts. I think that can feel alienating to some, but this book remains, by far and away, the best attempt I have read on guidance to living a wise life. I’m grateful for what it has added to my life, and perhaps even to my patients’ lives.

5 people found this helpful

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It's okay

A book aimed at improving the emotional intelligence and self-knowledge of the already materially comfortable (which is no bad thing, as even when our basic needs are met we still seem to be miserable). The early chapters on self gave me stuff to reflect on. The conservative politics of the Work chapter didn't do it for me. His answer to crap jobs and inequality is not to unionize and demand better. Instead, he wants moreart that lionizes the poor, so that the culture will start to afford the poor more dignity.

2 people found this helpful

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Well explained and well referenced!

This book will help the listener accept, at least in part, some of the chaos we live within. We’re all a bit of a nitwit, and Alain de Botton explains how that’s a good thing. 10/10 would listen again.

1 person found this helpful

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No emotional education

This book on emotional education comes down to this: pessimism and the valuing of accepting your lot in a life of misery. Some message. This book does what liberal 20th/21st century thinkers all do: it knows that life is dissatisfaction, makes no attempt to really, deeply understand why, and then offers absolutely no message of hope or optimism or betterment. It simply offers a limp, stagnant, toothless acceptance of a nihilistic worldview. This isn’t emotional or philosophical or religious, this is simply banality wrapped as profundity. A hugely disappointing and pessimistic take on what it is to be human. There is also nothing profound, original or deep here either. It is just what you’d expect from an atomised, extremely rich and rootless member of the liberal intelligentsia. For a REAL emotional education I’d recommend the work of B Alan Wallace, Matthieu Ricard, Osho and others who combine respect for western science with Buddhism and Buddhist mindfulness meditation.

9 people found this helpful

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Insightful

It was good, just a little too superficial for me. A lot of themes and points are discussed, but only the surface is scratched. But I did already know a lot of these concepts from different books and a lot of therapy, so if you're new to self reflection and personal growth, this will be a really good place to start.

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should be on the national curriculum

an amazing eye opening read, will read again and highly recommend to everyone I know

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Should be part of the curriculum

I can't believe I've got to my mid 30s before reading this book! It is a cornucopia of invaluable wisdom and insights which could really benefit readers of all ages, however, in a world where there is so much pressure, and such reduced opportinities for human interaction and social development, I truly believe this should be part of the school curriculum. We are taught little-to-nothing in our education system about emotional intelligence, disappointment and the realities of life, this could offer a solid foundation for young people to build on. I cannot remember ever putting down a book and wanting to immediately start it again. The narration was excellent and the tongue in cheek humour - writing and delivery - made me laugh throughout. If you have time to listen to one book, let it be this one.

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Wonderful!

On of the best books I’ve read in 2020. A book filled with hope and great insights about day-to-day life.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-08-20

Required listening

I loved this book. The content is very enlightening and the delivery entertaining. Highly recommended

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-05-20

A wonderfully smart and understated read

This is essentially like sitting down to somebody really lovely warm charming and interesting at a dinner party and simply wanting to listen. There is no need to say or add anything, – it is all good sense, and quite warm and wonderful. There is lots of the development of thoughts and themes in Mr de Botton’s various other titles, but good to hear them revisited and explained again.

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  • M.Inés Bustamante
  • 16-01-20

Descubrimiento

Excelente obra. Me ha dado una vision renovada para comprender la vida de una manera mas humana. Quisiera seguir de cerca al autor. Espero pronto este disponible en español

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  • milene
  • 10-10-19

amazing

best book I've ever read about life, Button is a genius at showing reality in simple, clear ways