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How Proust Can Change Your Life

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  11,547 ratings  ·  1,059 reviews
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 28th 1998 by Vintage
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Farnoosh Ataei Not really, read "In search of lost time" if you want to enjoy a long journey. which I highly recommend it.
De Botton gives you more details about…more
Not really, read "In search of lost time" if you want to enjoy a long journey. which I highly recommend it.
De Botton gives you more details about Proust real life and the influences and reflections of his personal life in his master piece. You can read it as an independent book.(less)

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Matt Evans
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
به ياد دارم كه سال اول دانشگاه رفيقى داشتم؛عادتى كه داشت،اين بود كه وقتى بيكار ميشد تقريبا "هر چيزى" كه دور و برش وجود داشت توجهش را جلب ميكرد.با كنجكاوى بچگانه اى،كاملا محو يك چيز-يك ليوان،مداد،كتاب و ...-ميشد و هميشه هم در انتهاى مكاشفه اش،يك حقيقت يا تصوير يا ويژگى جالب از آن چيز را براى ما عنوان ميكرد كه ما را به خنده-همراه با شگفتى- واميداشت.هميشه اين خصلت او را مسخره ميكردم و با خود ميگفتم "كسى كه با همچين چيزاى بديهى و ساده اى سرگرم بشه هيچ وقت به شگفتى هاى بزرگ زندگى پى نميبره!"بعد
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Words Are Your Homeland

One of the most important deficiencies in the philosophy of science (and business, which prides itself as a practical science) is the idea of efficiency of inquiry in scientific method - how to get an answer to a question at hand with the least possible effort. Efficiency is predicated on the idea that it is possible to pare down the world to some essential core - somewhat like finding the right principle in law - such that the matter seems to resolve itself through compel
Jan 01, 2015 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
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
می گن سعی کنید زیارت بدون معرفت نکنید، سعی کنید جایگاه مَزور رو بشناسید.
به خاطر همین، من هم بلافاصله بعد از تموم کردن جلد اول "در جستجوی" رفتم و این کتاب رو خریدم که پروست خوانی بی معرفت نکنم. بدونم دنبال چه مضامینی باشم و چشمم برای چه نکاتی تیز باشه. قبلاً ریویوهای مثبت زیادی ازش خونده بودم، و یکی دو تا تجربۀ قبلی م از دوباتن تجربه های خوبی بودن. این شد که بی معطلی خریدم و همون روز شروع به خوندنش کردم.

پروست بدون خوندن این کتاب هم به خودی خود بی اندازه آموزنده هست، اما خوندن این کتاب (و کتاب های
Jun 18, 2015 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
Manuel Antão
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

A Strangely Claustrophobic Experience: “How Proust Can Change Your Life” by Alain de Botton “

"To make [reading] into a discipline is to give too large a role to what is only an incitement. Reading is on the threshold of the spiritual life; it can introduce us to it: it does not constitute it."

Quote from one of Proust’s books, In “How Proust Can Change Your Life” by Alain de Botton
“Even the finest books deserve to be thrown aside.”

In “
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Zahra Parsa
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
با این کتاب همینجا تو گود ریدز آشنا شدم، ریویو ها حاکی از پر بار بودنش بود و اینکه هر چند در رابطه با پروسته و اشاره به رمان معروفش یعنی "در جستجوی زمان از دست رفته" داره، ولی خوندن این رمان برای لذت بردن از این کتاب پیش نیاز نیست. همین باعث شد بخرمش و بخونمش.
ضمن کتاب خیلی جاها مزیت اصلی رمان معروف پروست رو ملموس کردن چیزهایی بیان کرده که برای خیلی ها، قبلا محسوس بوده ولی قابل بیان و ملموس نبوده.
به نظر من کتاب دو باتن هم از این قضیه مستثنی نیست، چیزهایی هست که تقریبا همه میدونیم ولی قدرت بیانش ر
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
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
قلم دوباتن همیشه خوب و گیرا و نکتهسنجه. توی این کتاب با پروست آشنات میکنه و چیز یاد میده بهت.
من شاید بیش از هر چیز از نوع نگاه کردن توی این کتاب خوشم اومد. راه درست نگاه کردن رو باید تمرین کرد و یاد گرفت. شاید تنها راه نجات از افسردگی همین باشه (+یکم سیتالوپرام)
علاوه بر همه اینها، میل زیادی برای خوندن جستجوی زمان از دست رفته بهم داد. یه روزی همین نزدیکیا میخونمش. امید داریم!
Mevsim Yenice
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okurken gülümseten, oldukça keyifli bir kitap. Proust okumadan önce okunursa Proust merakınızı, sempatinizi artıracağından eminim.
Jun 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Kaelan Ratcliffe▪Κάϊλαν Ράτκλιφ▪كايِلان راتكِليف
***** It Didn't Change My Life Unfortunately *****

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 du
W.D. Clarke
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Most readers have a "guilty secret" kind of read that they secretly don't feel guilty about reading at all. After finishing a book that's more of a challenge, (say, v5 of ISOLT, which I just finished and loved, perhaps more than any other volume with the possible exception of Swann's Way) they may feel the need of a "palate cleanser", and gravitate to a mystery novel, for example: they may wish to be reading something, but also want to let the experience of the previous, more demanding book perc ...more
Dec 27, 2014 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
May 02, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Lyn Elliott
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I relished every page of de Botton’s short, witty book about Proust’s life and work, written with affection and a keen eye for the ridiculous, as when we first see Proust: ‘a reclusive, moustachioed novelist, not known for his interest in golf, tennis or bridge [though he had once tried draughts, and twice aided in the launching of a kite], a man who had spent the last fourteen years lying in a narrow bed under a pile of thinly woven woollen blankets writing an unusually long novel without an ad ...more
Roxana-Mălina Chirilă
How can Proust change my life? Well, he probably can't.

I 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 him as being a "famous philosopher" or something of the sort, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone
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
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
Feb 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jul 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 16, 2015 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
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
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mona Saboni
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
كل معلوماتي قبل هذا الكتاب أن هناك رواية ضخمة اسمها : البحث عن الزمن المفقود( ولربما راودني الشك بأن العنوان الصحيح هو : البحث عن الزمن الضائع ).. رواية أضخم من أن يكون لدي الصبر والوقت لقراءتها لكاتب بريطاني أو فرنسي ربما .

ثم يأتي كتاب صغير بعنوان يشبه كتب التمنية البشرية:كيف يمكن لبروست أن يغير حياتك. بداية اعتقدت أن بروست هو نفسه الكاتب ،وهو وقح بما يكفي ليضع اسمه في العنوان بصيغة الضمير الغائب، وهو يتجاوز حدود الوقاحة حين يعتقد أن بإمكانه تغير حياة قارئه. .لكن من هو هذا البروست؟

وبدأت اارحلة!
Dec 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
A nice petite primer on Proust. It travels similar ground as Bakewell's How to Live: A Life of Montaigne, Bryson's Shakespeare: The World as Stage, and even Wright's The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are. These books are not quite biography, not quite self help, but books that use the respective author's life/work/time as a peep stone into our own world.

Don't be distracted by De Botton's hyperbolic title. Neither he nor Proust is claiming any special power to change your life, but what th
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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

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
“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.” 90 likes
“There may be significant things to learn about people by looking at what annoys them most.” 60 likes
More quotes…