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The School of Life: An Emotional Education

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  666 ratings  ·  67 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
Paperback, 310 pages
Published September 5th 2019 by Hamish Hamilton
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Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  666 ratings  ·  67 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 youre a long-time fan of the School of Life then there wont actually be much in this collection of essays that you havent already seen. But if youre new to De Bottons philosophical capitalist venture, then youll find herein a smorgasbord of intellectual medication, concentrated in pill form, equally effective when either taken in small doses, or downed in one. ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
We arent ever done with the odd business of becoming that most extraordinary and prized of things, an emotionally mature personor, 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
Liina Bachmann
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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and sane voice in the world of constant self-improvement, instant gratification, life-wrecking perfectionism and outdated romantic ideals.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 dont give you any upbeat tips on how to improve yourself or tackle certain situations. Instead, with a bit of very
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
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.
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
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 hadnt considered before.

This is a book Im sure I will refer back to in the future and will be recommending to friends!
Jack M
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Decent enough advice for the unhappy citizens of the West.
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.
Oeystein Hanssen
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
If youve 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 Im looking forward to discover more of the School of Life from
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.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I actually cant 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 Bottons manifesto on how everybody should be more polite, pessimistic and how we should
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
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.

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 havent given it 1 star is because I learnt a couple of things from it aha. ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
You cannot after finishing this book NOT be emotionally smarter. Insightful and beautifully crafted as usual with AdB.
Ruth Browne
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Shelves: philosophy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I discovered Alain de Botton while in Geneva (basic, I know). I read de Botton's 'The Course of Love' first and was enchanted enough to pick him up again. Over the course of five chapters (Self, Others, Relationships, Work and Culture), de Botton provides convincing arguments and explanations for the madness and arbitrariness of the human condition. He explores the importance of compassion (for the self and others); makes a case for politeness over authenticity (because protecting others from ...more
Konstantinos Drakinos
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The School of Life is a truly amazing book filled with brilliant insights about the human psyche and builds on them with fascinating ideas that can guide a person towards a more fulfilling life.

The book draws on the idea that humans are fundamentally complex creatures that are tragically condemned to failure, disappointment and loneliness by our nature and culture. While this premise may seem pessimistic, it is also liberating because it bridges the gap between our expectations and our reality.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Such an eccentric reading experience! There are some parts that i was very critical about and strongly disagree with. But i think that's the point of this book; don't take everything, necessarily, as it is.

If i learnt anything at all, it would be a quite positive insight for me and my limited understanding; is that I am, gladly, not crazy. I am, gladly, sane. The fact that these people, the school of life organization, made this book and conceptualized their own theory of how one should live
Barry Morisse
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
I'm a very big fan of the work being done by 'The School of Life'. They have a way of delivering timeless wisdom, consolation and truth without pretense or judgment. We all could do with a better grasp of our own emotions and how they impact the way we see the world - and this book is a great opportunity for reflection and meditation on the topic.

The key takeaway is that we are not alone. The problems, insecurities and shame that we think is uniquely ours, is actually shared by everyone. We are
Martyn Carter
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 Perrys 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 it ...more
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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

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