On Love
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On Love

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  6,347 ratings  ·  552 reviews
"The longing for a destiny is nowhere stronger than in our romantic life" we are told at the outset of Alain de Botton's On Love, a hip, charming, and devastatingly witty rumination on the thrills and pitfalls of romantic love.

The narrator is smitten by Chloe on a Paris-London flight, and by the time they've reached the luggage carousel, he knows he is in love. He loves h...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published January 6th 2006 by Grove Press (first published 1993)
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K.D. Absolutely
Feb 13, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
”Mahal mo ba ako dahil kailangan mo ako o kailangan mo ako dahil mahal mo ako?” (“Do you love me because you need me or do you need me because you love me?”) is what the character of Claudine Barretto asks the character of Piolo Pasqual in Olivia M. Lamasan’s 2004 movie Milan . This is my favorite Tagalog love story movie and this question is one of those that Alain de Botton (born 1969) tried to answer in his book On Love: A Novel (2006), also earlier published as Essays on Love in 1993.

This th...more
Imagine one of your close friends - let's call him AB - has recently embarked on an intense and tumultuous relationship.
You like hearing his take on things. Since AB is introspective and curious, he is able to describe his experiences to you in fascinating detail. Since he studied philosophy, he can relate his insights to you in a wider frame of thought.

That's the tone of this book. It's not pretentious, or mushy, or a how-to. Just a quiet, devastating examination of how we act when in love.

Jan 13, 2012 Caris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I first discovered Alain de Botton in the film 500 Days of Summer. There’s a scene in the movie where the protagonist is riding a train a while after his romantic entanglement comes to an end. As he reads de Botton’s book, The Architecture of Happiness, he happens to run into the woman, that friendly black mark on his heart, which leads to the final stage of their relationship.

I wasn’t sure what I was looking for when I read The Architecture of Happiness, but it wasn’t what I got. It wasn’t so m...more
Todd Nemet
Since reading The Consolations Of Philosophy and Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton, I've been on the look out for more of his books.

In Chicago on business a few weeks ago, I managed to find a copy of On Love used for about $7 (and a rare copy of The True Believer by Eric Hoffer for $3, not to brag or anything). Check out After-Words Bookstore on E. Illinois if you get a chance.

[Aside: It's really hard to locate books by Mr. de Botton in a used bookstore. First of all he could be filed under "D"...more
Also posted on my blog: i'mbookedindefinitely

I have been having different slices of the same loaf. And I plan to continue on finishing the platter until kingdom come. After reading Fromm's Art of Loving, Alain de Botton's On Love was consequently partaken of.

At the outset, Art of Loving must be considered as a league of its own. The theorizing Fromm achieved was incomparable in that love, like any other concept in the social sciences, could be easily demystified, unraveled and explained by the...more
I love "On Love." I hate to describe this gem as something as typical as 'delightful', but it would be a completely accurate description. It was easy to read, but in no way simple. He manages to so perfectly capture the quarks and beautiful, nonsensical aspects of human nature that this book can do non other to affirm the joy of being alive. Botton's witticisms are spot-on and his linguistic juxtapositions are poignant and incredibly good humored. And yet, the novel manages to be touching whilst...more
In fact, I bought this book on my birthday and read it three years ago. It's quite readable since the author wrote in numbered essays under each Chapter with various lengths, e.g. Chapter 1 Romantic Fatalism, there are 18 essays, Chapter 2 Idealization - 14, Chapter 3 The Subtext of Seduction - 16, etc. till the end, that is, Chapter 24 Love Lessons. You may try reading any chapter you like to test your love hypothesis and see come what may.

Here are some of my favorite lines:

1. Cupid's arrow eas...more
Quân Khuê
thường khi yêu thì không luận còn khi luận thì không yêu, đằng này, vừa yêu lại vừa luận, rõ là chỉ có đồ quái gở mới làm được trò này. Alain de Botton không phải Bottom là một tay quái gở như thế.

sách thích hợp để đọc vào những ngày mưa và những ngày thứ tư, những ngày nắng và những ngày thứ ba, trong rạp xi-nê, trong công viên, trên bãi biển hoặc trong phòng ngủ, hay bất cứ lúc nào muốn lãng mạn một tí, tỏ ra sâu sắc một tí, hay đơn giản để thưởng thức cái giọng đểu đểu một tí :)
Feb 22, 2010 Brad rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers
Should be a prerequisite for anyone intending to use their heart/and or genitals.

This book is fantastic preparation for a life of the heart.

It's also hilarious.

Du Button has a marvelous gift for economy; Especially wonderful considering that his books have pictures.

'On Love' details the romantic life of a young architect, jumping into his first real relationship. It follows the course of things from a chance encounter on an airplane, all the way through the grim suicide attempts and bleak philo...more
On Love charts a love affair between the narrator and Chloe, a woman he meets on a British Airways carrier from Paris to England. After “an exchange of biography,” the usual digression begins: romance, intimacy, heartbreak and rebirth (or progression, depending on which way you look at it).

Sharp and witty, de Botton is the kind of person you hope to be seated next to at a dinner party. While in the throes of love’s grip, watching his beloved in a grocery store, he tells us: “For a moment, I fant...more
I just finished this book an hour ago...and I needed this book. I picked it up at the library...it wasn't even in any order, it was just lying in the wrong section...rejected. I'm not saying I felt an empathetic tug towards (Frued, get out!), but it is brightly colored, so I blame my crow like behaviour and the recent "get back together happiness" I was then experiencing. Basically, it "studies" love through a boy meet girl story with the protagonist as the well educated boy. It's wonderful! Upo...more
Sarah Yates
"There is nothing in this world but mad love..." --Mary Oliver

On Love in some ways evoked a far subtler version of Sophie's World -- philosophical instruction under the guise of a well-written novel. As the narrator acknowledges at certain points, while the lover feels unique in all the world, love is actually the most universal experience, and the purpose of the narrative is certainly to explore the universality of the experience, while couching his points in a specific story. The story's arc a...more
On Love By Alain de Botton
On Love is the story of the narrator meeting the love of his life, Chloe, on an airplane and their relationship that follows. Filled with insights and details about love, On Love is definitely not the average love story. De Botton moves back and forth between the specifics of the narrator’s love for Chloe and their story, and his own perspective on love.
I love how deep this book is. It seems as if there is a new, thought-provoking quote in each paragraph. De Botton is...more
Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they fall out of love. Between these major beats, Alain de Botton traverses enough philosophical ground to make that old story entirely his own. It's a love story, of course, but it's intellectual more than it is romantic. It's not about some guy's fortunate/unfortunate heart, it's about a brain (with an impressive classical education) trying to come to terms with said heart.

And it's fun. And almost too quotable. I don't rush to mark up many of my books, but th...more
I completely identified with the slightly neurotic, philosophically minded main character, who is constantly analyzing his feelings, his girlfriend, and their relationship through literature and ideas. The occasional diagram or illustraton thrown into the middle of one of his musings was a nice touch; I understand the impulse to try and scientifically formulate something so totally nebulous as love, just to try and get a handle on it and maybe avoid being thrown.

I was hoping for a different end...more
Nije mi se svidjelo. Previše pametovanja! Pomislit ćete - filozofski pogled na ljubav pa što bi on htio? Odgovor glasi: pojma nemam, ali ne ovo što sam pročitao.
Sama ta zadaća spoznaje ljubavi njenom razumskom analizom mi nikako ne sjeda. Naravno da autor ima pravo kada kaže da bi iz svojih iskustava trebali učiti i to činiti na nekoj zdravorazumskoj osnovi, ali to s ljubavlju jednostavno ne ide. U biti, možemo mozgati o ljubavi do smaka svijeta a nećemo njome ovladati. I nećemo biti išta pamet...more
Vanessa Cavallaro
I really enjoy authors who play with prose and experiment with the traditional storytelling style. On Love, Alain de Botton's debut novel, is written in a numerical list format, each number it's own prose-poem in a way, each building on the one before.

Alain be Botton mixes philosophy and theory into a very real and human tale of love and relationships. Prose is cut in with various diagrams and visual aids, which I loved. His story is told in a very detached way, which caused me to have mixed fe...more
Andreea Andrei
"Desi ne-am implinit nevoia de a iubi, nu intotdeauna ne implinim nevoia de a dori."
Neelakshi Chakraborty
A philosophical take on love.This book will appeal to anyone who has ever been in love, or been confused about what being in love entails. Interspersed with little nuggets of wisdom, and following the trajectory of a real-life romance, this book talks about the dilemmas, anxieties, pleasures and pains of being in love.

Sample this:

"While Chloe talked, I watched her hands fiddling with the belt of her beige woolen coat ( a pair of freckles were collected below the index finger) and realized( as if...more
Maria Ella
If I had this book as a boyfriend, everyday would be a mindfuck. Alain de Botton sure did put a LOT of thought in writing it, and I'm just in awe in how much he can talk about different philosophical and sociological views about such a vague and unstable topic like love. It does not thrive in plot or characterization or setting, even, in my opinion, but I suppose that is besides the point, because the insights were definitely more interesting than the used examples which were the protagonists. T...more
A few weeks back, I thought I should open some old boxes and check what books which are there inside. One should never do this, because one is never sure what is going to come out of an old box. One can get lost in a different world for a long, long time. But unfortunately I didn’t follow my own advice and I took the first box and opened it. And out jumped dozens of books. All of them were unread and all of them were good. I didn’t know what to do then. If I take all the books out of the box and...more
Charlie Zoops
Several years ago I had given this book to someone I loved. Soon after reading a few chapters, she came to dislike its content. Taking on an analytical and objective approach to the idea of loving was something that went against her notion of love as an ambiguous form of emotional spontaneity, which she felt deserved to be left sacred. Whether or not she liked the book wasn't very important, but what I came to love was this defense for love, because it was preserving something she believed was v...more
Upon receiving this book from a friend, I was told "...he said that it changed his life. I didn't really like it, but you can check it out."

So somewhere between not really liking this and changing-my-life, On Love isn't too bad. De Botton, having read his treatise on "Work" and "Travel," has a way of articulating broad, often nebulous concepts with real clarity; there are ideas and concepts about the topics that he tackles that I know on some level or another, but have never been able to verbali...more
This book should not be taken as a fictional novel, but rather take it as a philosophical approach on love through fictional medium.

That said, story element of this book isn't very gripping. It is the same old girl meets guy, they fall in love, they fall out of love. Nothing really special comes up between the story (Story wise.) However, the analysis of the events are the true gem of this book.
Asking very profound questions on each stages of love. My most favorite chapter was the ("I" confirm...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
The author is boring and keeps rambling over nothing. I thought I would read a book that would enrich me in my love life, and instead I found a book that is trying too hard to get philosophical on love, out of all topics. Imagine reading a book on Love and the author wants to complicate matters and he proceeds to talk about "romantic fatalism". Imagine reading a book on Love and the author wants to force his Atheism on you and he imagines himself to be a second Nietzsche and, all of a sudden, a...more
Good to read if you've been recently dumped.

Thick with philosophy, although the book is technically fiction, it could serve very well as a text for a class on the philosophy of love. The narrator begins with his initial meeting with Chloe through the arc of his relationship with her while analyzing the absurdities of falling in & out love along the way. That I kept thinking, "Yes...true..I did that..that's happened...yes" made me wonder if I'm just similar to the characters or if falling in...more
A charming, pleasurable read for the hyper-literate. Alain de Botton wrote this when he was in his early 20s, but while reading it I thought he was a lot older. The writing is very smooth, clever, and soothing to read, with just enough "ah ha!" philosophizing to keep me flipping the page. It can get a bit overly chatty-analytical, and by the second half I started to loose stamina, but I think the concept of interlacing these analyses within the plotline of his relationship is brilliant. Lastly,...more
Jan 21, 2009 Micha rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mo, Tod, Zoe, Dennis,
Recommended to Micha by: Dennis
Shelves: books-2008
I found this book on my boyfriend's shelf and decided, since I am somewhat newly in love, I should read it. I felt a bit like an archeologist doing a kind of self-survey for the duration of this book - luckily though I did not think it was time to end the relationship by the end of the novel.
I think this novel has a lot of depth and character. I didn't much care for our protagonist, but I found myself compelled to listen to what he might have to say. I would definitely recommend this to someon...more
Cosmo for thinkers...?

When I read books, I'm really not one of those that go, "Wow! That book changed my life FOREVER!"

I like reading books that agree with me, I read them and I nod and slap them on their shoulder heartily and shout at the top of my lungs, "HAHA! You too!"

It makes me feel better.


I like this book. Even though it's a bit of pop psychology, but it's well-done. I really can't say I enjoy over-theorizing things, unless they absolutely have to be theorized. And well, anyway, t...more
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Alain de Botton is a writer and television producer who lives in London and aims to make philosophy relevant to everyday life. He can be contacted by email directly via www.alaindebotton.com

He is a writer of essayistic books, which refer both to his own experiences and ideas- and those of artists, philosophers and thinkers. It's a style of writing that has been termed a 'philosophy of everyday lif...more
More about Alain de Botton...
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“We are all more intelligent than we are capable, and awareness of the insanity of love has never saved anyone from the disease.” 142 likes
“Every fall into love involves the triumph of hope over self-knowledge. We fall in love hoping we won't find in another what we know is in ourselves, all the cowardice, weakness, laziness, dishonesty, compromise, and stupidity. We throw a cordon of love around the chosen one and decide that everything within it will somehow be free of our faults. We locate inside another a perfection that eludes us within ourselves, and through our union with the beloved hope to maintain (against the evidence of all self-knowledge) a precarious faith in our species.” 141 likes
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