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How Proust Can Change Your Life

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  9,396 Ratings  ·  817 Reviews
For anyone who ever wondered what Marcel Proust had in mind when he wrote the one-and-a-quarter-million words of In Search of Lost Time (while bedridden no less), Alain de Botton has the answer. For, in this stylish, erudite and frequently hilarious book, de Botton dips deeply into Prousts life and work his fiction, letter, and conversations and distils from them that rare ...more
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Published February 1st 2011 by Bolinda Publishing (first published 1997)
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Matt Evans
Jul 10, 2008 Matt Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My wife and I fell in love reading this book together (way back in September/October 2002). I don't know what anyone else will think of this book, but I'll never enjoy reading a book more. B and I left a note on Proust's grave when we visited Paris on our honeymoon. He is the (gay) patron saint of our marital union. Here's my best advice: read this book with a loved one.
Jan 01, 2015 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: Susan Riaz
At the risk of horrifying Proust aficionados I must admit that I did not read this book as a precursor to reading Proust, or even as a pleasurable supplement to his writings, but rather I read it instead of reading Proust. I have tried Proust in the past and I have failed.

Well, this book has come to my rescue, and I loved it. Not only did Alain de Botten explore and celebrate Proust's foibles and philosophies as a writer - he also gave us a fascinating picture of the man. We warm to Proust, we a
Jun 18, 2015 FeReSHte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay
پروست با اون هفت جلد کتاب مشهورش لااقل برای من کلی اسرار آمیز و دست نیافتنی به نظر میاد. به خاطر همینه که تو کتابفروشی ممکنه با خودتون بگین درسته "در جستجوی زمان از دست رفته" رو حالا حالاها نمی تونم بخونم ولی "پروست چگونه می تواند زندگی شما را دگرگون کند" رو که میشه خوند

با خیال راحت میشه اثر پروست رو نخوند و سراغ این کتاب رفت. دوباتن زبان شیرین و روانی داره. هم خلاصه ای از اثر بزرگ پروست رو در اختیار خواننده قرار میده و نکاتش رو با زندگی شخصی امروزی ما انطباق میده و گونه ای عملی و کاربردی بهشون
Jul 29, 2013 Zanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, wm
With the gentlest possible mockery, de Botton makes a compelling case for celebrating and learning from an unlikely teacher: Marcel Proust. Here is some of his advice

Live passionately because we might die any time

Look for the familiar in art; be sensitised by it and improve your ability to notice and describe, and thus be at home everywhere; expand understanding of people's emotional depths

Learn from suffering, relish the insight it offers, use it to grow

Be honest about your feelings and attempt
Jun 30, 2009 Daniel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago someone pointed out to me that the words "envy" and "jealousy" mean slightly different things; in the first case, the word implies only that you want something someone else has, whereas the second also includes the idea that you have a just claim to the desired object. Having said that, I would say that I am jealous of Alain de Botton rather than envying him; I mean, does this guy say anything deeper than what I spout off after a few glasses of wine? This little book contains suc ...more
Aug 11, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by Alain de Botton, How Proust Can Change Your Life is something of a conundrum. The book is at once a piece of literary criticism and a self-help book, and at the same time neither of those. That is, it analyzes the literature and life of Marcel Proust and is structured in the regular "how to" fashion of self-help manuals (with chapter titles such as "How to Suffer Successfully" and "How to Be a Good Friend"), but unlike most contemporary literary criticism it is written for a public au ...more
Apr 18, 2013 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just read that Oscar Wilde, when asked to provide a list of the “100 greatest books”, divided the list into three categories: books to be read, books to be reread, and books (overly praised) to be avoided at all costs. After 15 years I just REREAD de Botton’s book, and I can report that it’s definitely worth putting in the second category.

As expected, I had forgotten much of my first reading, and now I’m trying to decide if de Botton’s nine chapter headings, each beginning with “How to” is a
Dec 27, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wryly humorous book, written with tongue firmly in cheek. The author uses a ‘Self-Help’ layout to unveil both a short biography of Proust himself and to incorporate the writer’s thoughts to show us how to appreciate his work and life in general. There are chapters on how to Love Life, Read for Yourself, Take Your Time, Suffer Successfully, Express Your Emotions, Be a Good Friend, Open Your Eyes, Be Happy in Love and Put Books Down.

Along the way we read of Proust’s meeting with James Jo
Marius van Blerck
An interesting book, with a misleading title. It is NOT about how Proust will change your life. Rather, it is a book exploring various themes in Proust's life and writings, some of which may parallel your own experiences, and some of which might explain some types of behavior. The book is often insightful and clever, but ultimately I was a little disappointed, as the author often opted for superficiality to make his point. This book could have been so much better if it had not been hampered by t ...more
Anotação no diário de Virginia Woolf em 1928 após terminar “Orlando”:

Começo a ler Proust depois do jantar e, em seguida, paro. Esse é o pior momento de todos. Fico com vontade de me suicidar. Parece não restar mais nada a fazer. Tudo parece insípido e sem valor.


Como confidencia Woolf a Roger Fry:

Minha grande aventura é, na verdade, Proust. Bem, o que ainda resta ser escrito depois daquilo?... Como alguém finalmente solidificou o que sempre se esvaiu – e o transformou nessa substância boni
Jul 11, 2016 Tanvika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: living-now
A night
On the roof
My head is thinking laboriously
Brambles and thickets of triviality
Orange figures dance merrily
In the bitter cold
Seeing it ceaselessly
Gratitude enters
Imprinting a mark

Evanston Public  Library
If you think that a lazy, hypochondriacal, long-winded 19th Century French fancy man can have no relevance to your everyday life, then this book may just change your mind. No prior knowledge of Proust or his epic, seven volume novel In Search of Lost Time is necessary in order to read and enjoy this book, which falls somewhere between the realms of biography, lit crit, and self-help manual. In between sprinklings of delightfully odd facts from Proust’s life, De Botton analyzes the man’s notoriou ...more
Nov 16, 2015 Hossein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ابتدا در نظرم كتاب جالبي نبود و فكر مي كردم خواندنش بسيار خسته كننده باشد اما زماني كه مشغول مطالعه شدم با نقد زيباي آلن دو باتن در مورد شخصيت،نامه ها و رمان پروست؛مجذوب پروست شدم و با شخصيت عجيبش آشنا شدم.
در اين كتاب دوباتن تعدادي از شخصيت هاي مهم رمان و هم چنين قسمت هايي از رمان را آورده است و از اين كتاب ميتوان به عنوان راهنما قبل از شروع اين اثر بزرگ استفاده كرد.
كتاب جمع و جوري براي شناخت مارسل پروست بود و توانست من را مجذوب ((در جستجوي زمان از دست رفته ))كند و به همين دليل بعد از اتمام كتاب
Feb 14, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Proust said the great momments - like when he ate the madeleine dipped in tea - are those when we escape time. We do what we do in the present but we experience the same action in the past. Thus we are nowhere, neither in past nor present, the miracle of an analogy has freed us from the lockstep of time. He does not explain why this freedom should be so desireable, but presumably it is because time moves in only one direction, toward weakness and death. We embrace the things that allow us to tr ...more
Jan 29, 2015 Laila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture
Çok değerli bir kitap diye incelememe başlayayım.

Proust'u anlamak için özellikle Kayıp Zamanın İzinde serisini okumaya başlamadan mutlaka gözden geçirilmesi gereken bir eser. Bir çok sayfaya yerimi koydum. Seriyi henüz tamamlamadan bu kitabı okuma şansım olduğu için çok mutluyum. Diğer kitaplara daha farklı bir gözle bakabileceğim.

Örnek olması bağlamında seçtiğim bir kaç alıntıyı burada paylaşayım:

#1 "Bir şeye ikinci kez bakmanın getirdiği mutluluk Proust için iyileşmenin en iyi yoludur. Bu g
مروان البلوشي

تكمن جاذبية كتاب "كيف يستطيع مارسيل بروست ان يغير حياتك" في كونه يخلط الفكر العميق بأدق تفاصيل مشاعرنا مع تحرر الكاتب من أي رهبة أو زيف يجبره على التمثيل بأنه مثقف نخبوي يترفع عن النزول لمستوى الناس العاديين. أو ادعاء أنه مصلح تنويري أو اجتماعي او إداري يحمل في جعبته خير البشرية .. وهذه في الحقيقة، ميزة الكاتب آلان دي بوتون.

اشتهر آلان دو بوتون في أوروبا الغربية بكونه أحد نجوم الجيل الجديد من الكتاب الذين استطاعوا إرجاع الشباب هناك (جيل MTV والماكدونالدز.....الخ) إلى القراءة الجادة، مستلهمين في
Jul 02, 2015 Antigone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marcel Proust was not built for speed. His health was poor due in large part to a severe asthmatic condition he developed as a child and struggled with throughout his maturity. While this did not prevent him from serving a year in the French army and, later, pursuing an active social life among a wide circle of friends, his physical exertions were few and his constitution so fearfully unreliable that he judged himself unable to engage in the practice of a standard profession. A brilliant mind, h ...more
Ahmed Oraby
أهذا هو الكتاب الذي فضلته على بولجاكوف ونيتشه وهنتر ميد وشوية فلاسفة تانيين؟
كتاب داره مارو با ديد پروست به زندگى آشنا ميكنه و با اشاره هايى به كتاب در جستجوى زمان از دست رفته؛ ما رو به خوندنش ترغيب ميكنه، چند بخش كتاب خيلى برام جالب بود، ولى در كل دو كتاب قبلى دوباتن رو بيشتر دوست داشتم
Aug 16, 2007 R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: violently miserable writers
Shelves: 2007
Sometimes it's the book you grab at the last second--not the books you came to the library for--that you end up sitting up with all night long.

Afterwards, sat outside with Mickey and reminisced about our childhood and what we expected from the future.

Also, that what we really wanted at 2 a.m. was a truckstop-black, piping hot coffee..."Yeah, me too! Why is that?"

We both...we both get that craving at 2 a.m.

Earlier, I picked up my copy of the new John Vanderslice album from Barnes & Noble (t
Dec 29, 2016 ઈia7asĦ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
برای آشنایی با دنیای پروست بدون خواندن پروست این کتاب رو بخوانید!
ویژگی دوباتن دقت به جزییات و نوشتن به زبان ساده ست و خب خوندن این کتاب هم مثل بقیه آثارش برام بسیار لذت بخش بود

قسمتی از کتاب
هرگز نباید فرصت نقل قول از دیگران را از دست داد, زمانی که مطلب را بهتر از خودمان بیان کرده اند
May 20, 2012 Vale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alain de Botton interpreta Proust per offrirci una chiave di lettura originale del mondo attraverso gli occhi dello scrittore francese.
La lettura di questo saggio mi ha permesso di scoprire molti dettagli della vita di Proust, come l'incontro con Joyce e i timori reverenziali della Woolf nei confronti dell'opera Alla ricerca del tempo perduto .
Al di là delle curiosità, il saggio coglie un aspetto importante della narrativa di Proust: l'uso delle parole per esprimere una visione originale e ver
Jan 08, 2012 umberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, favorites
During my visits to Australia in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I noticed this paperback on display in various bookstores, thinking its title quite interesting but I had never known Alain de Botton or read him before. So I kept postponing finding a copy to read till I came across a second-hand, dog-eared copy in a now forgotten bookshop or a mobile one in Bangkok.

As an overview, this book looks at practical philosophy from which its readers can wisely apply in daily life. It's definitely one of
Mar 10, 2017 Kaelan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Forewarning, this is quite a biased review that simply speaks from my experience of reading this novel, it's content very well may not apply to you. I feel I may have gone off the deep end without meaning to (considering this was a book I read on the side of others).

Please still consider picking this book up.


I have to admit, this is the first book I've actually struggled to complete this year due to a lack of interest; as opposed to the difficu
Oct 16, 2015 Mohammad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
اوایل هر فصل،دقیقا همان وقتی که دارید فکر می کنید عنوان فصل چه ربطی به متن دارد، دو باتن کاری می کند که هیجان زده می شوید.کم کم می فهمید اوضاع از چه قرار است و چگونه با خواندن نقل قول هایی از دوستان پروست،بعضی عادات او و تکه هایی از کتاب معروفش می توانید تغییرات مهمی در خودتان ایجاد کنید و یا با دید تازه ای به مسائل به ظاهر ساده نگاه کنید
برای کسی که کتاب رو نخونده اولین شوالی که پیش میاد این هست که آیا میشه این کتاب رو بدون این که در جستجو رو خونده باشه بخونه؟
آره. میشه. کتاب سعی کرده از لای زندگی خود پروست و دوستانش و گاهی از لای کتاب هاش چیزهایی رو بیرون بکشه که شاید بتونه عادتی رو توی زندگی روزمره مون عوض کنه.
Jun 15, 2016 Arzu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inceleme
oldukça keyifli, proust sevdirici..
Roxana-Mălina Chirilă
How can Proust change my life? Well, he probably can't.

I have read this book with one purpose in mind: to determine whether to start reading Proust at all. You see, I find it difficult to abandon books, and if a book is famous, the problem is even greater: whenever someone mentions it, I'll remember I haven't finished it and maybe I should.

Luckily, Alain de Botton saved me: I vaguely remembered his name as being "famous", so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and have some famous philoso
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

I recently had the chance to hear philosopher Alain de Botton talk on the "On Being" podcast, and found him to be really fascinating; much like the Existentialists of Mid-Century Modernism, he's a "spiritual atheist" who has dedicated his career towards the pursuit of meaningful ritual and ethical code-bu
D.E. Meredith
Mar 11, 2012 D.E. Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never wanted to read anything by Alain de Botton on principle, giving into my deeply held, class driven prejdices thinking he was the epitome of the well heeled, Oxbridge/Havard (?) "Intellectual Snob", telling us how to live our lives - like what the hell does he know, from his Ivory Tower? How wrong could I be? I loved this book. Wry, laugh out loud funny in places and deeply touching. I take my hat off to you, Mr de Botton.

My University education - posh Cambridge college, sure but I was fro
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong cover? 3 26 Apr 13, 2016 12:51PM  
  • Proust's Way: A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time
  • Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide to The Remembrance of Things Past
  • Marcel Proust
  • Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time
  • Monsieur Proust's Library
  • Days of Reading
  • Marcel Proust: A Life
  • Proust's Overcoat: The True Story of One Man's Passion for All Things Proust
  • Proust and Signs: The Complete Text
  • Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?
  • The Second Common Reader
  • Ulysses And Us: The Art Of Everyday Living
  • Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D.H. Lawrence
  • The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000
  • How to Stay Sane
  • Marcel Proust: A Life
  • How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at An Answer
  • Philosophy and Social Hope
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

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 about Alain de Botton...

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“We don't really learn anything properly until there is a problem, until we are in pain, until something fails to go as we had hoped ... We suffer, therefore we think.” 70 likes
“There may be significant things to learn about people by looking at what annoys them most.” 46 likes
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