Status Anxiety

By Alain de Botton
Read by Simon Vance

6.40 Hours 01/01/2006 unabridged
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Anyone who’s ever lost sleep over an unreturned phone call or the neighbor’s Lexus had better read Alain de Botton’s irresistibly clear-headed book—immediately. For in its pages, a master explicator of our civilization and its discontents turns his attention to the insatiable quest for status, a quest that has less to do with material comfort than with love. “Every adult life could be said to be defined by two great love stories. The first—the story of our quest for sexual love—is well known and well charted…The second—the story of our quest for love from the world—is a more secret and shameful tale. And yet this second love story is no less intense than the first.” This is a book about an almost universal anxiety that is rarely mentioned: an anxiety about what others think of us, about whether we’re judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser. This is a book about status anxiety. Bestselling author Alain de Botton asks—with lucidity and charm—where our worries about status come from and what, if anything, we can do to surmount them. With the help of philosophers, artists, and writers, he examines the origins of status anxiety before revealing ingenious ways in which people have been able to overcome their worries in the search for happiness. We learn about sandal-less philosophers and topless bohemians, about the benefits of putting skulls on our sideboards, and about looking at ancient ruins. The result is a book that is not only highly entertaining and thought-provoking but genuinely wise and helpful, too.

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Summary

Summary

Anyone who’s ever lost sleep over an unreturned phone call or the neighbor’s Lexus had better read Alain de Botton’s irresistibly clear-headed book—immediately. For in its pages, a master explicator of our civilization and its discontents turns his attention to the insatiable quest for status, a quest that has less to do with material comfort than with love.

“Every adult life could be said to be defined by two great love stories. The first—the story of our quest for sexual love—is well known and well charted…The second—the story of our quest for love from the world—is a more secret and shameful tale. And yet this second love story is no less intense than the first.”

This is a book about an almost universal anxiety that is rarely mentioned: an anxiety about what others think of us, about whether we’re judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser. This is a book about status anxiety. Bestselling author Alain de Botton asks—with lucidity and charm—where our worries about status come from and what, if anything, we can do to surmount them. With the help of philosophers, artists, and writers, he examines the origins of status anxiety before revealing ingenious ways in which people have been able to overcome their worries in the search for happiness. We learn about sandal-less philosophers and topless bohemians, about the benefits of putting skulls on our sideboards, and about looking at ancient ruins. The result is a book that is not only highly entertaining and thought-provoking but genuinely wise and helpful, too.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A smart and amusing inquiry…Thick with social history and as funny as [it is] acute.” Boston Globe
“His richest, funniest, most heartfelt work yet, packed with erudition and brimming with an elegant originality of mind…An informative joy to read.” Seattle Times
“His insights float on a kind light irony…The pleasures of his prose come from following the play of his mind, the vast erudition, the succinct paraphrases, and vivid, often lyrical physical descriptions.” Boston Phoenix
“Full of great...literary and philosophical references.” Christian Science Monitor
“Well written, and makes a convincing argument for our current malaise…insightful work.” Bookmarks Magazine
“Lively and provocative.” Publishers Weekly

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton is the author of numerous nonfiction books, including The Consolations of Philosophy and Status Anxiety. His work has been translated into twenty languages. He lives in Washington, DC, and London, where he is an associate research fellow of the philosophy program of the University of London, School of Advanced Study.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 6.40
Audience: Adult
Language: English