Through his witty and literate books — and his new School of Life — Alain de Botton helps others find fulfillment in the everyday.

Why you should listen

It started in 1997, when Alain de Botton turned away from writing novels and instead wrote a touching extended essay titled How Proust Can Change Your Life, which became an unlikely blockbuster in the "self-help"category. His subsequent books take on some of the fundamental worries of modern life (am I happy? where exactly do I stand?), informed by his deep reading in philosophy and by a novelist's eye for small, perfect moments. His newest book is The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.

In 2008, de Botton helped start the School of Life in London, a social enterprise determined to make learning and therapy relevant in today's uptight culture. His goal is (through any of his mediums) to help clients learn "how to live wisely and well."

What others say

“He writes with an elegance philosophers might envy ... We're painlessly instructed while we read for fun.” — SF Chronicle

Alain de Botton’s TED talks

Alain de Botton on the TED Blog
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Culture

Atheism 2.0: Alain de Botton on TED.com

January 17, 2012

What aspects of religion should atheists (respectfully) adopt? Alain de Botton suggests a “religion for atheists” — call it Atheism 2.0 — that incorporates religious forms and traditions to satisfy our human need for connection, ritual and transcendence. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2011, July 2011, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Duration: 19:20.) Watch Alain de Botton’s talk on TED.com, […]

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The week in comments

August 1, 2009

It reads like everyone was inspired by the talks this week (including two more released from TEDGlobal 2009), which feature philosopher Alain de Botton on success, scientist Elaine Morgan on aquatic apes and artist/software engineer Golan Levin on his interactive art. Lets get to the comments: On Elaine Morgan’s talk: We evolved from aquatic apes: […]

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Quotes from Alain de Botton

It’s perhaps easier now than ever before to make a good living; it’s perhaps harder than ever before to stay calm, to be free of career anxiety.
Alain de Botton
TEDGlobal 2009 • 3.5M views Jul 2009
Inspiring, Persuasive
The problem is if you really believe in a society where those who merit to get to the top, get to the top, you’ll also, by implication … believe in a society where those who deserve to get to the bottom also get to the bottom and stay there.
Alain de Botton
TEDGlobal 2009 • 3.5M views Jul 2009
Inspiring, Persuasive