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The Architecture of Happiness
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About the Author

Alain de Botton is the author of Essays in Love, The Romantic Movement, Kiss and Tell, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel, Status Anxiety, The Architecture of Happiness, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, A Week at the Airport, Religion for Atheists, The News: A User's Manual, and latest novel The Course of Love, among many others. Alain is a bestselling author in 30 countries. He lives in London, where he runs The School of Life and Living Architecture.

Reviews

After The Consolations of Philosophy: how architectual style sets the mood. With a six-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

With this entertaining and stimulating book, de Botton (How Proust Can Change Your Life) examines the ways architecture speaks to us, evoking associations that, if we are alive to them, can put us in touch with our true selves and influence how we conduct our lives. Because of this, he contends, it's the architect's task to design buildings that contribute to happiness by embodying ennobling values. While he makes no claim to be able to define true beauty in architecture, he suggests some of the virtues a building should have (illustrated by pictures on almost every spread): order combined with complexity; balance between contrasting elements; elegance that appears effortless; a coherent relationship among the parts; and self-knowledge, which entails an understanding of human psychology, something that architects all too often overlook. To underscore his argument, de Botton includes many apt examples of buildings that either incorporate or ignore these qualities, discussing them in ways that make obvious their virtues or failings. The strength of his book is that it encourages us to open our eyes and really look at the buildings in which we live and work. A three-part series of the same title will air on PBS this fall. (Oct. 3) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"How did we ever manage without de Botton?"
-- "Sunday Times "(U.K.)
"Congenial, refreshing, original, and mercifully succinct, de Botton may well achieve the impossible by making philosophy popular."
-- "Kirkus Reviews"
"Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives."
-- "Independent"
"In this simple, entertaining and brilliant book, Alain de Botton explores how architecture speaks to us and why it affects all aspects of human life. His great strength is to explain things we always knew but never understood."
--Christopher Hume, Architecture Critic, "Toronto Star"
"How did we ever manage without de Botton?"
-- "Sunday Times "(U.K.)
"[de Botton] deals with questions of style, ideas of beauty, notions about why certain structures appeal to us. The author argues that we love beautiful buildings because they solidify ideas we have about ourselves and our world. They put into concrete form our aspirations; they compensate for our human weaknesses; in short, they make us happy. Virtually every page contains a sentence any essayist would be proud to have written. A lyrical and generously illustrated monograph about the intimate relationship between our buildings and ourselves."
-- "Kirkus Reviews"
"Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives."
-- "Independent"
The next time I'm at a party, and the conversation turns to "serious topics," like what the stock market did today, I think I'll suggest we talk about something more important: architecture. I'll ask the investment banker why he bought the house he did and insist he answer the question. And then I'll start quoting Alain de Botton.
--"The National Post"
If this book were a building, it would be a contemporary reading room, I think, with big windows, and clean, built-in bookshelves with a fold-out step ladder just right for fetching slim volumes from the top shelf. The elegant clarity and brisk humour of his style, accompanied by pages of photos, opens your eyes to the rich possibility of thinking about your home, and your city, in a new way.
--"The Toronto Star"
"De Botton's books are the literary equivalent of the Slow Food movement. They demand to be lingered over, not because the concepts are difficult but because they are rich and deep. Be prepared to put down your book frequently and turn his last few sentences over in your mind, testing his theses against the rooms and buildings you know well."
--"The Globe and Mail"
"In this simple, entertaining and brilliant book, Alain de Botton explores how architecture speaks to us and why it affects all aspects of human life. His great strength is to explain things we always knew but never understood."
--Christopher Hume, Architecture Critic, "Toronto Star"
"How did we ever manage without de Botton?"
-- "Sunday Times "(U.K.)
" de Botton deals with questions of style, ideas of beauty, notions about why certain structures appeal to us. The author argues that we love beautiful buildings because they solidifyideas we have about ourselves and our world. They put into concrete form our aspirations; they compensate for our human weaknesses; in short, they make us happy. Virtually every page contains a sentence any essayist would be proud to have written. A lyrical and generously illustrated monograph about the intimate relationship between our buildings and ourselves."
-- "Kirkus Reviews"
"Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives."
-- "Independent"
"De Botton is a lively guide, and his eclectic choices of buildings and locations evince his conclusion, that "we should be as unintimidated by architectural mediocrity as we are by unjust laws."
--"The New Yorker"
The next time I'm at a party, and the conversation turns to "serious topics," like what the stock market did today, I think I'll suggest we talk about something more important: architecture. I'll ask the investment banker why he bought the house he did and insist he answer the question. And then I'll start quoting Alain de Botton.
--"The National Post"
If this book were a building, it would be a contemporary reading room, I think, with big windows, and clean, built-in bookshelves with a fold-out step ladder just right for fetching slim volumes from the top shelf. The elegant clarity and brisk humour of his style, accompanied by pages of photos, opens your eyes to the rich possibility of thinking about your home, and your city, in a new way.
--"The Toronto Star"
"De Botton's books are the literary equivalent of the Slow Food movement. They demand to be lingered over, not because the concepts are difficult but because they are rich and deep. Be prepared to put down your book frequently and turn his last few sentences over in your mind, testing his theses against the rooms and buildings you know well."
--"The Globe and Mail"
"In this simple, entertaining and brilliant book, Alain de Botton explores how architecture speaks to us and why it affects all aspects of human life. His great strength is to explain things we always knew but never understood."
--Christopher Hume, Architecture Critic, "Toronto Star"
"How did we ever manage without deBotton?"
-- "Sunday Times "(U.K.)
" de Botton deals with questions of style, ideas of beauty, notions about why certain structures appeal to us. The author argues that we love beautiful buildings because they solidify ideas we have about ourselves and our world. They put into concrete form our aspirations; they compensate for our human weaknesses; in short, they make us happy. Virtually every page contains a sentence any essayist would be proud to have written. A lyrical and generously illustrated monograph about the intimate relationship between our buildings and ourselves."
-- "Kirkus Reviews"
"Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives."
-- "Independent"
" De Botton is a lively guide, and his eclectic choices of buildings and locations evince his conclusion, that " we should be as unintimidated by architectural mediocrity as we are by unjust laws."
-- "The New Yorker"
The next time I'm at a party, and the conversation turns to " serious topics, " like what the stock market did today, I think I'll suggest we talk about something more important: architecture. I'll ask the investment banker why he bought the house he did and insist he answer the question. And then I'll start quoting Alain de Botton.
-- "The National Post"
If this book were a building, it would be a contemporary reading room, I think, with big windows, and clean, built-in bookshelves with a fold-out step ladder just right for fetching slim volumes from the top shelf. The elegant clarity and brisk humour of his style, accompanied by pages of photos, opens your eyes to the rich possibility of thinking about your home, and your city, in a new way.
-- "The Toronto Star"
" De Botton's books are the literary equivalent of the Slow Food movement. They demand to be lingered over, not because the concepts are difficult but because they are rich and deep. Be prepared to put down your book frequently and turn his last few sentences over in your mind, testing his theses against the rooms and buildings you know well."
-- "The Globe and Mail"
" In this simple, entertaining and brilliant book, Alain de Botton explores how architecture speaks to us and why it affects all aspects of human life. His great strength is to explain things we always knew but neverunderstood."
-- Christopher Hume, Architecture Critic, "Toronto Star"
" How did we ever manage without de Botton?"
-- "Sunday Times "(U.K.)
" [de Botton] deals with questions of style, ideas of beauty, notions about why certain structures appeal to us. The author argues that we love beautiful buildings because they solidify ideas we have about ourselves and our world. They put into concrete form our aspirations; they compensate for our human weaknesses; in short, they make us happy. Virtually every page contains a sentence any essayist would be proud to have written. A lyrical and generously illustrated monograph about the intimate relationship between our buildings and ourselves."
-- "Kirkus Reviews"
" Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives."
-- "Independent"

"From the Hardcover edition."

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