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The Consolations of Philosophy (Vintage International) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 3. April 2001

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Flushed with the success of How Proust Can Change Your Life, philosophical agony uncle Alain de Botton once more matches his precocious talents to addressing the anxieties of modern life with Consolations of Philosophy. Dubbed the "Naked Philosopher", de Botton's cherubic charms match his grey matter, and this book, which has already inspired a Channel 4 series, sees him continue his one-man mission to sugar the pill of learning with his brilliant mixture of wit, wisdom and whimsy. So humans have six gurus and six concerns: Socrates on unpopularity, Epicurus on lack of money, Seneca on frustrations, Montaigne on inadequacy, Schopenhauer on a broken heart and Nietzsche on the necessity of difficulties. And then there is a seventh: de Botton himself, artfully infusing others' palliative musings with souffléd epigrams of his own, and marshalling his arguments with an insouciance that belies considerable skill. De Botton was already appealing to the likes of Wittgenstein, Aristotle and Montaigne for romantic guidance in his novels, Kiss and Tell, Essays in Love and The Romantic Movement, and with How Proust Can Change Your Life, he finally dropped the pretence of plot and concentrated on the digressions, albeit with a slightly eager charm. Where that book was dazzling, the glow of Consolations of Philosophy burns more deeply, displaying a more sober and polished application of his undoubted mental prowess, without losing his distinctive playfulness. He brings to the essay form something of what Milan Kundera brings to the novel and, like him, while still respecting the boundaries he oversteps, he hopscotches genres with spring heels. It is Montaigne whom de Botton most admires and, indeed, most resembles in style--he says of the 16th-century Frenchman: "in Montaigne's scheme of intelligence, what matters in a book is usefulness and appropriateness to life" and it's a recipe he himself assiduously and rewardingly follows. Jamie Oliver take note, dry crusts have rarely been made so appetising and digestible. --David Vincent -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Pressestimmen

“Wonderfully original, quirky.... De Botton finds inspiration where others might fail to look.”–Newsday

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Format: Taschenbuch
The author shows how philosophy supplied Socrates with convictions in which he was able to have rational confidence when faced with adversity. In Socrates' time, the opinion of the majority was equated with truth. He thus suffered the sad fate to be good and yet judged evil. We should therefore strive to listen to the dictates of the reason and not the dictates of public opinion.
The philosophy of Epicures places an emphasis on the importance of sexual pleasure and he promises that philosophy will guide us to superior cures and true happiness. Friendship and freedom are the two most important items on the Epicurean acquisition list.
Seneca conceived of philosophy as a discipline to assist human beings in overcoming conflicts between their wishes and reality. He saw that we must reconcile ourselves to the necessary imperfectability of existence. We will cease to be angry once we cease to be too hopeful.
Cicero claims that scholarship furnishes us with true means of living well and happily, to spend our lives without discontent and without vexation.
Montaigne saw that we have to accept our body with all its flaws: it smells, aches, ages, throbs and pulses.
Booksellers are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the number of books that were written because authors couldn't find anyone to talk to. Actually every difficult work presents us with the choice whether to judge the author inept for not being clear, or ourselves stupid for not understanding the ideas.
For Schopenhauer, a man of genius can hardly be sociable, for what dialogues could indeed be so intelligent and entertaining as his own monologues? For him, art and philosophy help us to turn pain into knowledge. "The prudent man strives for freedom from pain, not pleasure."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
For most people, including myself, phylosophy is a field that is perceived to require such a strong humanistic education, that one does not really try to start seriously reading a book of a known phylosopher (besides just reading some quotes out of context). This book by Alan de Botton is one of the most motivating ways to understand life, thinking and circumstances that led selected phylosophers come up with their views. Very easy to read, written for helping the non expert reader understanding and not - as it often happens with books in this fields - written from experts for experts to prove each other the finesse of their insights.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Oh, thank goodness for brick-n-mortar book stores! Had I notbeen able to inspect this book, I might have spent at Amazon basedonly on the above reviews.
I opened the book at the beginning and read several pages and put it back on the shelf with a puzzled shrug. Later, recalling these glowing reviews, I went back and read more. And put it back with a frown. And, baffled at the absence of the wit and wisdom others claim to have found, I circled back yet a third time and read part of another chapter.
Folks, you are all able to see some clothing on this emporer that escapes my gaze entirely. This is a bad book. It is dull. It is shallow. Its attempts at humor are forced and intrusive. What is worse than attempted whimsy that falls flat? And this book's whimsy is a flat souffle indeed.
This book reduces the richness of the thought of several great minds to the thinnest of platitudes -- and it surrounds those platitudes with page after page of the author's self-centered ditherings and irrelevant graphics.
There certainly is a market for a book that makes the thought of any philosophers accessible and relevant. This one is not that book. It is a disservice to the philosophers and to its readers.
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Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Alain isn't coming to the point. Is it a novel or is it a textbook?
Witty, thoughtful, entertaining ...a stylish book, which manages to make philosophy both enjoyable and relevant...I don't agree
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Von Ein Kunde am 21. Juli 2000
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
When a man who has just suffered a serious problem (eg. his house burnt down) is interviewed on the news, and he remains calm and composed ("At least I got out alive, things could be worse"), the reporter describes him as being philosophical.
De Botton takes being philosophical to another level, demonstrating that even philosophers can be "philosophical". He takes six philosophers and culls from their writings (in the case of Socrates, Plato's) ways to handle difficulties in life.
He offers:
Socrates on being unpopular ("We shouldn't care all that much about what the populace will say of us, but about what the expert on matters of justice and injustice will say"); Epicurus on not having enough money ("when measured by the natural purpose of life, poverty is greath wealth; limitless wealth, great poverty"); Seneca on frustration ("Unseasonable weather upsets the health; and we must fall ill...we cannot change this order of things...it is to this law (of Nature) that our souls must adjust themselves, this they should follow, this they should obey...That which you cannot reform, it is best to endure"); Montaigne on inadequacy ("We are richer than we think, each one of us"); Schopenhauer on a broken heart ("In the course of his own life and in its misfortunes, he will look less at his own individual lot than at the lot of mankind as a whole, and accordingly will conduct himself...more as a knower than a sufferer"); Nietzsche on difficulties. Nietzsche, at least on a simplistic level, seems to have dealt with difficulties by going insane. This doesn't seem, to me, to provide much consolation. His writings may offer some consolation, but one also can't ignore the life that he lived.
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