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The School of Life: An Emotional Education

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,617 ratings  ·  273 reviews
Discover everything you were never taught at school about how to lead a better life...

Introduced and edited by the bestselling author of The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel and The Course of Love

We spend years in school learning facts and figures but the one thing we're never taught is how to live a fulfilled life. That's why we need The School of Life - a re
Paperback, 310 pages
Published September 5th 2019 by Hamish Hamilton
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Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,617 ratings  ·  273 reviews

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Anastasiya Mozgovaya
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 m
Liina Bachmann
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non_fiction, 2020
“The School of Life: An Emotional Education” is a reassuring and sane voice in the world of constant self-improvement, instant gratification, life-wrecking perfectionism and outdated romantic ideals. A book that so well captures the perplexity of being human that it should be read by everyone.

It is divided into five parts: Self, Others, Relationships, Work and Culture. Those chapters don’t give you any upbeat tips on how to improve yourself or tackle certain situations. Instead, with a bit of v
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
Nov 10, 2020 rated it liked it
this book brings together ten years of essential and transformative research on emotional intelligence.

i personally like "the school of life" series like anxiety, insomnia, small pleasures and on being nice etc. decided to pick this one up as its one of the books that i have not read in the series. i really love how there are some that i could relate, but the others - not so much. they are a bit redundant and can be too factual. but either way, will always look forward to TSOL works. highly reco
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think most humans on this planet would benefit from reading this book. It's beautiful, concise, wise, universal and deeply understanding. ...more
Melania Marianu
I have mixed feelings about this book, and since this was supossed to be an emotional education the authour clearly hasn't reached his goal with me.
The introduction of the book - about where we stand as a society nowdays (although this is true only for the developed countries and not entirely, when it comes to the role that religion plays in our lives - which is thought to be increasingly small, but personally I don't believe that is the case, since from my own experience I know more religious p
Oana Filip
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 acce
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 t ...more
Ali Hussein
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
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.
Bersabel Behonegne

If you’re like me and you have watched all the school of life content on YouTube... this book will be highly repetitive. The breadth of topics covered was too extensive to draw any meaningful lessons.

If you’re not familiar with any of the school of life content then maybe you’ll enjoy this one !
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I told my daughter last night that if I had a dying wish it would be for her to read this book. (She hates reading and I feel strongly about the insight it offers enough to make this sort of impression.) I hope that she will remember I said this and pick it up someday (before I die) and we can talk about it.

Edited to add: It can be repetitive at times, but there’s quite a few nuggets of insight that many adults (at least it seems) are not privy to. Logical, basic perspectives that make you thin
Stijn Zanders
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great ideas, though it feels too much of a compilation of them. Would have liked it if the ideas were more connected.
Oeystein Hanssen
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
If you’ve mainly read «classical» philosophy, De Botton offers a fresh and more accessible, modern take on «practical philosophy». The book is a collection of advice (mostly based, I think, on the School of Life-Youtube videos) and perspectives where De Botton tries to help people understand themselves and live more fulfilled lives.

I found some of the content to hit a nerve and at times to be comforting, so I’m looking forward to discover more of the School of Life from https://www.theschoolofli
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.
Charles Adey
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The School of Life is a quietly very well written guide to your own inner thoughts and worries which, rather than bringing you an influx of new ideas, reminds you of ideals you already have and brings them back to the foreground with clarity in a way you perhaps hadn’t considered before.

This is a book I’m sure I will refer back to in the future and will be recommending to friends!
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Interesting read. I was gifted this book by an mentor of mine, otherwise I don’t think I would have thought to read it. Reads a bit like therapy (in a good way), and depending on where you are in life certain parts will resonate with you more or less. The premise is excellent: modern societies are effective technical educators, despite the flaws of the system we are able to teach young people mathematic and scientific insights that took some of histories greatest minds decades to discover in onl ...more
This book. THIS BOOK. Saved my life today.

It's only May 24, but it may be my book of the year. It's only 2020, but it may be my book of the century.

My best friend handed it to me because I was weeping inconsolably about a boy who didn't notice me - but also about the pandemic, and my job, and the economy, and my brain. She said this would help - and it did. I feel comforted and validated in a way that I have rarely felt from other people, because this book told me that other people feel this mad
Sophy H
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Alain de Botton can literally do no wrong!!

The man is a bloody I Ching when it comes to matters of emotional maturity, intelligence in relationships and philosophical musings.

I pretty much love everything he writes! This was no exception!

I have a shit ton of quotes to add here but will have to come back when I have more time.

I just wish instead of getting this out of the library, I owned a copy, so I could highlight and underline everything with fervour!!

Well done Mr de Botton!
Jack M
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Decent enough advice for the unhappy citizens of the West.
Abhijit Agarwal
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Good book! Covers a lot of topics. 4 stars only because I wished for more depth, but honestly the book is big enough as it is.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this collection. I was getting bored of the videos of tsol for a while, but this one is a new favourite. I'd love to revisit and make lots of notes. ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, philosophy
This book will make you sigh with relief. Life is depressing, romanticism is a facade and work will never be satisfying. Your partner will disappoint you and you will never be as happy as you think you should be.

We are all crazy and sad but there are still so many things to be happy about, to share with each other and enjoy. It is nice to be nice to one another.

This book is mostly an introspective investigation into the self, relationships and work through a historical and cultural lens.

In fac
Trevor Melsheimer
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-books
Easy to follow, The School of Life refutes extreme Romanticism and makes the case for a moderation of Romantic and Classical values. While Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life is more thorough and convincing, The School of Life brings to light several interesting points about pessimism, romanticism, politeness, love, arguments, and human nature.

As a young reader, the sections on work and relationships were particularly insightful. Some of the discussions on love and arguments were still foreign.
Outdoors Nerd
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nandin-Erdene Enkhtuvshin
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
We pay a very high price for our self-ignorance. Feelings and desires that haven’t been examined linger and distribute their energy randomly across our lives. Ambition that doesn’t know itself re-emerges as panic; envy transforms itself into bitterness; anger turns into rage; sadness into depression. Disavowed material buckles and strains the system. We develop pernicious tics: a facial twitch, impotence, a compulsion, an unbudgeable sadness. Much of what destroys our lives can be attributed to ...more
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: corona-szn-2020
An expansive, thorough and self assured take on a wide range of topics related to emotional intelligence. School of Life videos are a good resource in themselves and An Emotional Education collates many of those core beliefs and propositions under one spine. I think the book is useful in so far as it is taken with a pinch of salt. There are realistic, practical propositions to be found about therapy, ambition, relationships, childhood and life, and a more pragmatic lens to look at wisdom, kindne ...more
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 thr
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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 li

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