A neat little book about how we're a hard-wired paradox creating machines. Though a sociology text, it made me reflect, spiritually, on living with an...moreA neat little book about how we're a hard-wired paradox creating machines. Though a sociology text, it made me reflect, spiritually, on living with and accepting paradox.(less)
I really enjoyed "Status Anxiety". I liked his "The Art of Travel" too, but this is a different kind of book. "The Art of Travel" was looser and more...moreI really enjoyed "Status Anxiety". I liked his "The Art of Travel" too, but this is a different kind of book. "The Art of Travel" was looser and more haphazard. In "Status Anxiety", Alain de Botton is more thorough and systematic, thought he remains casual and easy-to-read. As always, de Botton writes very well and is a joy to read. I often laughed with delight at his turns of phrase and the simple pleasure of good prose.
As for de Botton being disdained by other philosophers, I think this is probably in relation to his better known book "The Consolations of Philosophy". I found his discussion in that book of various famous philosophers to be largely a gimmick, only of interest to those with little or no exposure to the Western philosophical tradition. "Status Anxiety" was not like this however. Here his discussion was interesting, providing wonderful historical anecdotes, such as the tradition of duelling to the death, and historical quotations that greatly enriched his discussion without being merely gimmicks. It's certainly lighter reading than most philosophical texts, but it is also more practically orientated, and I've reflected on the import of his discussion during many social occasions that I've found myself in.
As for the Christianity criticism, which I've heard repeated a few times, I really find it unwarranted and rather shallow. To get some perspective, the Christianity section is in Part 2 of the book, which is devoted to solutions to Status Anxiety, and is only one chapter of five. Part 1, also of five parts, is devoted to the causes of Status Anxiety. So the part on Christianity is only 1/10th of the book, and no where else does he discuss it. His discussion is not preachy, it fits perfectly within his exploration of Status Anxiety in the West and as such, it is quite entertaining and not heavy-handed in the slightly, and see no reason why it should be singled out or balanced by discussion of any other religion, apart from prejudice born from petty political correctness. Furthermore, after the Christianity chapter, there is a chapter on Bohemia, but I never here any complaints about de Botton being a hippie.
I'd definitely recommend "Status Anxiety". I enjoyed it immensely. Indeed, I have yet to return the book to the library, I think I may read through it again.(less)
Wow! I loved this book. I'm definitely going to read it again. It combines my passions: metaphysics, moral philosophy, frugality, and spirituality. I...moreWow! I loved this book. I'm definitely going to read it again. It combines my passions: metaphysics, moral philosophy, frugality, and spirituality. I found it was an absolute pleasure to read especially the introductory chapters. I can see that it could be quite heavy for those unused to philosophical text, but I loved it. One of the best books I've read in ages.(less)