The Architecture of Happiness

de botton.jpgWe’re probably going to be seeing a lot of Alain de Botton in the coming months, as he’s out and about promoting his new book ‘The Architecture of Happiness’.

I’m a huge fan of de Botton, whose books such as ‘The Consolations of Philosophy’ have won widespread critical acclaim for making philosophy accessible and relevant to modern life.

But I felt he went off the boil with his last book Status Anxiety and after reading Jonathan Glancey’s review of his new book in The Guardian, I’m worried he may not have found a return to form.

However, I am going to read the new book (partly because I’m researching a feature on the role of psychology in Britain’s current building boom) so if there are any magazine or newspaper editors out there who’d like me to review it, please do get in touch ;-)

Also, while we’re discussing de Botton, I should point you to his Times review of Cordelia Fine’s book ‘A mind of its own’, in which he discusses whether the experimental approach to understanding the human psyche – that is, psychology – really is the right one:

“Expecting to study the mysteries of the mind, [psychology] students soon realise that they have set off down a far less glamorous and unusual path, for their field requires them not so much to explore new insights as to test old and quite simple ones according to a rigorous and patient scientific method. Psychology emerges as, depending on your point of view, either a gloriously or horrifyingly pedantic discipline”.


PS. I virtually bumped into de Botton at Edinburgh airport once, but I’m (a) not that good with faces and (b) shy, so I persuaded my girlfriend to go and ask him if he was who I thought he was. Anyway, apparently he was utterly charming and self-effacing.

UPDATE: Alain de Botton appeared on Monday’s edition of Start the Week on BBC Radio 4. And he’s got his own TV series on Channel 4/ More 4.

Link to Alain de Botton’s website, which includes full details of all his books, plus reviews, audio clips and much more.
Link to Guardian review of his new book.
Link to article on Britain’s building boom.
Link to de Botton’s review of ‘A mind of its own’.

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