Ryan's Reviews > The Architecture of Happiness

The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton
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's review
Mar 03, 09


A gorgeously written book about the nature of beauty and happiness as it relates to art and architecture. As someone who spends a substantial amount of time thinking about buildings, this book brought me a lot of comfort and insight into the underpinnings of how buildings can shape a person's mood so severely.

Even more than the book's subject, the brilliant richness of Alan de Botton's writing is often the star of the book, and I spent much of my time reading it frantically underlining passages such as:

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Artistic talent is like a brilliant firework which streaks across a pitch black night, inspiring awe among onlookers but extinguishing itself in seconds, leaving behind only darkness and longing.
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Endeavoring to purchase something we think beautiful may in fact be the most unimaginative way of dealing with the longing it excites in us, just as trying to sleep with someone may be the bluntest response to a feeling of love.
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Life may have to show itself to us in some of its authentically tragic colors before we can begin to grow properly visually responsive to its more subtle offerings.
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Even captions in the book were pithy and thought-provoking:

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The moral ineffectiveness of a beautiful house
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A city-wide consensus about beauty
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A defense against the dangers of privilege
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Cottages to correct the excesses of a palace


I loved this book, and I'm really looking forward to reading more of his books.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by M (new) - rated it 3 stars

M Are you sure you want to give it 5 stars? Last chance to change your mind. If so, then I'll let you loan it to me ;)


message 2: by Steve (new)

Steve Those are some mighty fine quotes... maybe I'll check this one out too


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