Alain de Botton
Alain de Botton was born in 1969 in Zurich. He lived in Switzerland until he was eight years old, whereupon his family moved to England and English became his first language. He went up to Cambridge University, and between 1991 and 1992 completed a master’s degree in philosophy at King’s College London, following which he chose to writing over a PhD in French philosophy at Harvard University.
Right from the outset, beginning with »Essays in Love« (1993), his very first book which became an international bestseller, Botton used an approach described as a »philosophy of everyday life«, which he developed further in subsequent works. Also unusual is the way in which the process of falling in and out of love is meticulously examined, in a style that mixes elements of a novel with the kinds of analyses only usually found in professional literature. In 1997 de Botton produced a theory-driven yet practically oriented »how-to guide« titled »How Proust Can Change Your Life«, which was followed by a »user manual« on »The Consolations of Philosophy« in 2000, that serves as »a guide to wisdom« and »to the practical utility of everyday problems«. His next two works also clearly demonstrated the author’s skill as a »streetwise psychologist and expert familiar with these subjects«, as well as being a »sensitive and stylistically sound narrator« (literaturkritik.de). In 2004 he diagnosed modern society as suffering from »Status Anxiety«, making a case for a sensible attitude toward ambition and having goals, so as not to miss out on life while seeking recognition from others. In 2012, de Botton continued to examine the influence of ideologies with »Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion«. His most recent novel, »The Course of Love« (2016), which builds on »Essays in Love« explores how love changes during the course of a long-term relationship.
In 2008 de Botton co-founded the School of Life, which aims to help us live a fulfilling life by offering a range of courses and approaches on the things we most care about – without being dogmatic. De Botton also gives talks, is invited on radio shows to present his ideas, and has produced TV documentaries based on his work with his production company Seneca. As the creative director of Living Architecture, de Botton oversees building projects by contemporary architects which put into practice the theoretical ideas published in his book »The Architecture of Happiness« (2006). »The finished houses are rented by the public for holidays – and thereby help to spread ideas of what constitutes good design.« Alain de Botton lives in London.