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The School of Life: An Emotional Education

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Emotional intelligence affects every aspect of the way we live, from romantic to professional relationships, from our inner resilience to our social success. It is arguably the single most important skill for surviving the twenty-first century. But what does it really mean? One decade ago, Alain de Botton founded The School of Life, an institute dedicated to understanding ...more
Kindle Edition, 316 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by The School of Life Press
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Anastasiya Mozgovaya
i think everyone should get this book on the day they are born. and then go through living keeping it by their side. i feel like this should become my go-to gift.

smart, soothing, wise, philosophical, direct, daring, kind. truly a must-read for everyone!
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
“We aren’t ever done with the odd business of becoming that most extraordinary and prized of things, an emotionally mature person—or, to put in a simpler way, an almost grown-up adult.”- Alain De Botton

The School of Life: An Emotional Education comprises essays on how to survive in the modern world by mastering our emotions. Alain De Botton founded The School of Life 10 years ago to help people nurture and hone their emotional intelligence, an aspect that remains conveniently overlooked in our
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’re a long-time fan of the School of Life then there won’t actually be much in this collection of essays that you haven’t already seen. But if you’re new to De Botton’s philosophical capitalist venture, then you’ll find herein a smorgasbord of intellectual medication, concentrated in pill form, equally effective when either taken in small doses, or downed in one.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a profound book that provides some incisive advice on life and relationships from the perspective of one's emotional life. The prose is often close to poetic and no punches are pulled when it comes to facing reality and living well. Almost every paragraph has something useful and memorable to say. This is no platitudinous self-help book. It is challenging and sometimes confronting, but deeply resonant with those who know they are flawed human beings struggling to live a better life. If ...more
Stijn Zanders
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great ideas, though it feels too much of a compilation of them. Would have liked it if the ideas were more connected.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

3.5 Stars!

De Botton may only take credit for the introduction to this book, but you can hear his voice all the way through it. This is a compilation of philosophy, advice and other insights, most of which will be familiar to those who have watched those many videos online or have read any of the books.

I can see both sides of the coin with this book, in one sense I see why the growing franchise can be accused of stating the obvious and repeating old ideas, but on the other hand it gets into some
Maddie Nastase
This is a wonderful introduction to the concepts and philosophy of The School.

However, if you're already familiar with them and have been following them for a while and have read some of their other books, you'll find very little new material here. The 'Relationship' section of the book is identical with their 'Relationships' book published a few years ago, which was disappointing to find out.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually can’t believe people think so highly of this book. Maybe these concepts will be novel or enlightening for someone who has never considered their own self development, but a lot of this is pretty basic. More specifically though, here are some issues with this book:
1. It is *incredibly* repetitive. Really the same viewpoints are stated over and over again.
2. It is very unbalanced. Really this is De Botton’s manifesto on how everybody should be more polite, pessimistic and how we should
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As others have stated, many of the concepts in "The School of Life: An Emotional Education" is, to the point of verbatim in some cases, from other texts, their own Youtube channel, or blog. This shouldn't deter anyone from reading this book, however, as much of the book weaves a more complete and complex relationship between self, others, and how we view ourselves as connected and inter-connected. That, I believe, is the true merit of this book.

That said, this book really shines in the first
Oana Filip
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am mesmerized about the density of concepts presented so wisely by Alain de Botton. The beauty of this book lies in how common yet challenging notions about life are put together to offer a more authentic and thoughtful perspective. For those of us preoccupied with self-discovery, this read reveals valuable insights that could work like great reminders of the lessons we once learned.

I love Botton's book for both the lens he encourages us to see the world through (with more gentleness and
Ali Hussein
WOW. What a Boring and Tedious book. Truly a let down and overhyped. The book seemed to go on a constant tangent throughout. Constantly going excessively into detail about anything and everything. 17 price point for this book is ridiculous. The only reason I haven’t given it 1 star is because I learnt a couple of things from it aha. ...more
Outdoors Nerd
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deeply, deeply informative. Cover to cover wisdom and actionable, demonstrative psychology. You will know much of this on some level, but as editor De Botton writes:

"We need to be sophisticated enough to not reject a truth because it sounds like something we already know. We need to be mature enough to bend down and pick up governing ideas in their simplest guises."

Self, Others, Relationships, Work and Culture.
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely think everybody should read it, preferrably at a younger age. I see this book adding heaps of value to the life of a 15 year-old; the use in your late twenties is more limited, as you will have chewed through more or most of those ideas already by then, depending on where you are in life.

I thoroughly enjoyed the section on politeness vs. frankness and the different world views that are carried behind these traits, a section that is worth reading in total and cannot be summed up in a
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Jan 6, 2020: The premise of this book is at once promising and preposterous: we should spend less time studying calculus and more time studying emotional insight--how to live, how to understand ourselves, others, and our relationships. Promising, because I agree. So many of us get to adulthood with little understanding of why we do what we do, and who we are or want to be. Yes! Let's study "life" so we can be better, kinder, wiser people! And, to a certain extent, de Botton delivers on this ...more
Roos Havinga
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, q1
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even if the book apparently has been written by some School for Life professionals and only the introduction is by AdB, the book sounds entirely his. This is like a amalgamation of the main small and not so books and videos the school for life as produced, even if I had read and watched many of them, still enjoyed refreshing my knowledge and understanding of these essential subjects.

The language of the first parts in particular is very elaborated and I found it over the top sometimes. I thank
Ruth Browne
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best things I've read this year. It's a series of in-depth assessments of human emotion and behaviour in certain major spheres of our lives. Some critical items of wisdom I gleaned include: we are all idiots, and this becomes apparent from time to time, so be less afraid of the inevitable; we are all prone to petty but deeply felt emotions like envy, so don't imagine you are uniquely awful and alone; almost no one is ever intentionally malicious - instead, we act out of known and ...more
Martyn Carter
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was really very good. Well written, well structured and deeply compassionate. Essentially a self help book about how to be more emotionally intelligent and live a more fulfilling life. The book is divided into sections on self, others, relationships, work and culture. It is a good accompanying book to Philippa Perry’s book ‘The Book You Wish Your Parents had Read’. These subjects are all dealt with from the perspective that we are all normal. If I had a criticism it would be that ...more
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not generally a fan of anything falling in the traditional self-help category, yet this book managed to shift that perception in me a little bit. An emotional education is a pledge for a simple yet somehow revolutionary idea: we see the purpose of teaching many things, from geography to history to science, yet rarely do we see it as necessary or possible to teach the management of aw-so-complex interpersonal relationships. This book ambitiously provides advice for the clumsy mess of ...more
Elina Dyachkova
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing book about the things, which are constantly on our minds, yet are so rarely spoken about. Great read for both mind and soul. Offers some incredible insights on identity, anxiety and relationships, but also discusses such things as capitalism and culture in a quite interesting way, connecting them all to human psychology.

Although I consider myself quite an art lover, the book offered a very refreshing way to interpret art and connect to it in everyday life. The same applies to
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book has 5 parts - the ones on “self-awareness” and “relationships” have insightful moments and sound advice. The section on “culture” was outstanding even if heavily centred on European culture. The sections on “interacting with others” and “work” were terrible.
Overall, the book advocates a philosophy of stoicism without ever declaring it by that name. That’s fine - I can get behind that. The author(s) does go a tad too far in conflating attributes of frankness and romanticism, leading to
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love pretty much anything from The School of Life and this is no exception. Reading this just makes you feel better about all the thoughts that you have going on inside your head on a daily basis. It offers some peace and reassurance, if you're prepared to accept the naturally pessimistic and, at times, blunt delivery of those messages.

I would say that the section on Work is decidedly less rich than those on self-knowledge and relationships, and is a long way from other publications from TSoL
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am giving this book to important people in my life. If I could pass down wisdom from all my years of searching, hurting, experiencing and trying to run from myself, it would be in the form of the valuable and conscientious wisdom The School of Life imparts. Why did it take me 64 years to find such a concise volume of what really matters.
Desiree Sotomayor
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've been following The School of Life's website, there isn't a whole lot of new info here, though it does an amazing job of condensing the 10 years' old (and counting) project about bringing the focus to emotional intelligence in our lives, which let's face it, we can all be a bit better at - especially my awkward self!
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very thought-provoking book, which raises lots of questions about how we live our emotional lives, but doesn't pretend to know the answers. There were some perspectives that I hadn't considered before. The bottom line is that we are all flawed and screwed up in some way - a strangely comforting thought.
Graeme Roberts
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extraordinarily important and useful book that everyone should have and read. We need to learn how to live well, and The School of Life: An Emotional Education provides a wise and powerful guide to doing just that. It is written with Alain de Botton's customary elegance and wit, though a number of other people are acknowledged as contributors to the content.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: well-being
The lessons are philosophically straight forward and poetically written. The use of art/painting to meaningfully convey messages to the society/public, back centuries ago, are spellbinding.
As we are all a forever student of this journey called life - this book is highly recommended for whoever you are or wherever you are.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All at once soothing, challenging, consoling and mind opening. This is the kind of stuff that I wish could have been instilled in all of us from the time we were children. There are more lessons in this book that are of value than many of the things I have learnt in any formal education I have ever received. This book will be a companion for life.
Jeffrey Howard
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help-how-to
Our families, schools, churches, and universities do not sufficiently educate, counsel, or nurture us. Neither do our museums, community organizations, sports clubs, or restaurants (yes, even the places we dine can play a role). Many of us mire in the existential tasks we face daily, scrambling for a wise mentor to relieve us of our emotional ineptitudes—worse off are those not seeking a corrective, unaware of their psychological and social shortcomings.

The School of Life: An Emotional
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a total surprise for me. I knew I would like it since I enjoyed books of Alain de Botton in the past - but no, I didn't like it, I loved it!
I found myself on so many pages of this book and I already know I will buy it many more times in order to give it as a gift to my friends.
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The School of Life is a global organisation helping people lead more fulfilled lives.

We believe that the journey to finding fulfilment begins with self-knowledge. It is only when we have a sense of who we really are that we can make reliable decisions, particularly around love and work.

Sadly, tools and techniques for developing self-knowledge and finding fulfilment are hard to find – they’re not
“We will be reminded – once more – that love is a skill, not an emotion.” 1 likes
“Irritability is anger that lacks self-knowledge.” 1 likes
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