This book would have opened doors for me in adolescence and reopens them now (parents of adolescents, go buy it, read it, and then pass it on to your children and know you've done a good thing). If you're an adult with some background in classic philosophy (however foggy or fresh), it will serve to remind you why you're passionately energized by some philosophy, confused by some, and maddened by the rest. It will send you back to your own bookshelves to reread those heavily marked passages in the original texts that motivate you to address your problems and justify your life. If you're an adult or an adolescent unfamiliar with classic philosophy, it just may start the whole process of studying it for you, a process which is harder and much more painful than reading this book (Nietzsche would thus approve, Chapter Six assures us). But de Botton's book doesn't just hold a simple mirror up to the greats, by the way, it holds a mirror up to you as the reader too, reminding you just which of the six common human ailments you regularly display and why - unpopularity, not enough money, frustration, inadequacy, a broken heart, or difficulty and bad luck. Lots of cute and interesting graphics and photos too. It's all simple and good and does no harm, in the best sense of all these things.