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Alain de Botton Speaker

Alain de Botton

Speaker on Creativity, Passion, Art & Love
Country: UK

Alain de Botton is a Swiss born author residing in London with a love for topics such as travel, architecture, love and literature. He is chairman of The School of Life, and has written numerous international bestsellers, travelled, researched and inspired people. His work has reached bestseller status in 30 countries and he continues to educate people on the art of travel, the importance of architecture and the pleasures of work.

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Book now at: +44 (0)20 3744 5675 (UK)
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Alain de Botton was born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1969 and now lives in London. He is an author of essayistic books that have been described as a ‘philosophy of everyday life.’  He has covered topics such as love, travel, architecture and literature. His books have been read and reached bestseller status in 30 countries. Alain also started and helps to run a school in London called The School of Life, dedicated to a new vision of education. Alain’s latest book was published in April 2009 and is titled The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.

Alain’s love for writing started at a young age. His first book, Essays in Love [titled On Love in the US], was published when he was twenty-three. It minutely analysed the process of falling in and out of love, in a style that mixed elements of a novel together with reflections and analyses normally found in a piece of non-fiction. It’s a book of which many readers are still very fond and to date it has sold two million copies worldwide.

When Alain published the book, How Proust can change your Life he reached a truly global audience. The book was extremely successful in the United States, where the mixture of an ironic ‘self-help’ envelope and an analysis of one of the most revered but unread books in the Western canon struck a chord. It was followed by The Consolations of Philosophy, to which it was in many ways an accompaniment. Though sometimes described as popularisations, these two books were at heart attempts to develop original ideas (about, for example, friendship, art, envy, desire and inadequacy) with the assistance of the thoughts from other thinkers – an approach that would have been familiar to writers like Seneca or Montaigne and that disappeared only with the growing professionalisation of scholarship in the 19th century.

After these releases, Alain returned to a more lyrical, personal style of writing. In The Art of Travel, he looked at themes relevant to the psychology of travel: how we imagine places before we have seen them, how we remember beautiful things, what happens to us when we look at deserts, or stay in hotels or go to the countryside. In Status Anxiety, he examined an almost universal anxiety that is rarely mentioned directly: the anxiety about what others think of us; about whether we’re judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser. Finally, in The Architecture of Happiness, Alain discussed questions of beauty and ugliness in architecture. Much of the book was written at de Botton’s home in West London, just near Shepherd’s Bush roundabout, one of the uglier man-made places, which nevertheless provided crucial examples of just how important it is to get architecture right.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work saw Alain travelling across the world for two years with a photographer in tow, looking at people in their workplaces and reflecting on the great themes of work: why do we do it? How can it be more bearable? What is a meaningful life? The book is at once lyrical and gripping like a novel can be, and yet also packed with ideas and analysis.

In the summer of 2009, Alain was appointed Heathrow’s first Writer-in-Residence and wrote a unique book about his experiences, A Week at the Airport

In 2012, Alain launched his book, Religion for Atheists, which looks at what committed atheists (like the author) might learn from religion, focusing not on doctrines, but on ritual, architecture, art, morality, community and pilgrimage. In addition, Alain continues his work with the architectural organisation he has founded, Living Architecture, which aims to give everyone access to the work of some of the greatest architects in the world.

    Keynote Topics

    • Find Your Creative Fire!
    • A Kinder and Gentler Philosophy for Success
    • The Art of Travel
    • The Beauty and Ugliness of Architecture
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