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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 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 real organisation founded ten years ago by writer and philosopher Alain de Botton. The School of Life has one simple aim: to equip people with the tools to survive and thrive in the modern world. And the most important of these tools is emotional intelligence. This book brings together ten years of essential and transformative research on emotional intelligence, with practical topics including: - how to understand yourself - how to master the dilemmas of relationships - how to become more effective at work - how to endure failure - how to grow more serene and resilient The School of Life is nothing short of a crash course in emotional maturity. With all the trademark wit and elegance of Alain de Botton's other writings, and rooted in practical, achievable advice, it show us a path to the better lives we all want and deserve.


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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 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 real organisation founded ten years ago by writer and philosopher Alain de Botton. The School of Life has one simple aim: to equip people with the tools to survive and thrive in the modern world. And the most important of these tools is emotional intelligence. This book brings together ten years of essential and transformative research on emotional intelligence, with practical topics including: - how to understand yourself - how to master the dilemmas of relationships - how to become more effective at work - how to endure failure - how to grow more serene and resilient The School of Life is nothing short of a crash course in emotional maturity. With all the trademark wit and elegance of Alain de Botton's other writings, and rooted in practical, achievable advice, it show us a path to the better lives we all want and deserve.

30 review for The School of Life: An Emotional Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    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!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    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 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 give up on overly lofty ideals. Problem is, he doesn’t reeeally explore any other viewpoints. He categorises his own viewpoints as “classical” and the rest of culture-at-large’s viewpoints as “romantic” and says we could learn from both but it’s not difficult to see which viewpoints he actually thinks have any worth. 3. He doesn’t outline what the logical endpoint of his views are. Perhaps we should be more tolerant of our romantic partners, knowing that everyone has faults and we are no exception etc. but what about someone in an abusive relationship? They could read this book and draw the conclusion that really their partner isn’t so bad and that they probably deserve the abuse they are receiving. And they should just stomach it and realistically view it as their lot in life. This is just one example but if you take De Botton’s advice to the nth, you will live in a world where nothing is improved, where any kind of insidious harmful behaviour is lovingly excused or forgiven, where people easily give up on any kind of ambition, where everyone is so polite that they are even more reticent to share their deepest selves and where consequently loneliness is even more deeply entrenched and where we don’t question our own loneliness because that’s just the human condition. Sounds like a fun world, right? Really this could be said in a much shorter book but my suspicion is that this book is in fact a collection of hastily compiled smaller books that don’t always gel very well with each other. I’ve given it 3 stars because the sections “self” and “relationships” have some more practical information, and the section “work” has some interesting historical contextualisation. But other than this, this is just a book where de Botton lists which virtues he thinks are worth a dime. Again and again and again.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vanya

    “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 “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 modern curriculums. A philosopher and writer himself, Botton understood the importance of emotional health and how its grasp could significantly change the quality of our lives. This book, which is a comprehensive collection of the writings that the School has produced over the years, is divided into five sections: Self, Others, Relationships, Work, and Culture. Within each section is a wealth of wisdom on how to understand ourselves and our shortcomings better, how to be a kinder version of our present selves in our interactions with those whom we do not know well, how to navigate our relationships with our partners, how to make peace with the work we do, and how culture can truly be our saviour by nudging us towards greater values. I never come out of De Botton’s work without a deeper understanding of my own behaviour and that of those around me. The fact that his writing is lucid and always comes supported by a plethora of examples is a testament to his perceptive knowledge of human psychology. It’s not every day that someone speaks or write so convincingly about your flaws that you are forced to introspect and (hopefully) tread on the path to improvement. Highly recommend!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liina Bachmann

    “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 “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 very subtle dry humour, they describe the tiny emotional battles each day of being alive makes us face and says that it is okay, you are doing fine. Actually - you are doing your best. Now treat yourself and go take a barefoot walk in the garden and feel the sun on your face because this certainly will do you more good than giving in to another capitalist lure of buying something. Alain de Botton is an advocate for the tender-hearted. He knows that a harsh word can linger on your mind for days and “getting over things” fast is not something everyone should feel is within their emotional capabilities. He knows ALL the types of arguments we are having in our relationships and with remarkable ease and little help of psychoanalysis shows us that we are hurting in one or more ways and therefore pick a fight. Sure, we all know it is never about the unwashed dishes but how much we analyse our the emotions behind our actions on a day to day basis? Not enough, I dare say. There is so much to take home from this book that I don’t even know what to point out. I am fairly sure we will see it becoming Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence for the modern era.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Keen

    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 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 really compelling areas. This covers a lot of ground, but because it tries to cover so many areas it rarely gets to examine them to a satisfying degree, which can be a little frustrating. I am a fan of de Botton and this brand, but it has plenty of flaws, there is an increasing habit of recycling and rebranding old material and after a while the twee, white, middle class, middle England feel of this book really started to grate on me. But then where would the publishing industry be if it weren’t for twee, white, middle class, middle England?... Without doubt I enjoyed this collection and got a lot out of it, but I have come across almost all of it before in the SoL’s previous work, so if like me you have read and watched much of the stuff already, there will not be much new in here for you, but if you haven’t come across it before then this is maybe a decent starting place.

  7. 4 out of 5

    aqilahreads

    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 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 recommend if you would like to explore more on your emotional side of life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    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 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 persons or believers, than agnostics or atheists) and the first chapter s (about the "Self" and about "The others") were interesting to read - sort of a recap of ideas that are out there for quite a while, not provable, but probable, something that makes good sense (although the subchapter about therapy seems heavily biased and idealised). Then.. it all went downhill when the "Relationships" started, and the authour just started rambling, stating one thing, only to disagree with it later on, stating very confusing ideas about human behaviour in general. I would've been better of skipping this, and the "Work" chapter, which also contained a lot of unuseful informations. While I asked myself "What the hell is hapenning here?" I arrived at the final chapter "Culture". Finally, a sigh of relief, everything is on track once again, the comparison between romanticism and clasicism was beautifully described, the potential healing of art was once again stated, and the end was as commonly plain as it could be. Although Esther Perel is the person who knows what she is talking about when it comes to relationships, and even though I don't feel a bit more educated in terms of my emotional intelligence, there are some positive ideas stated in this book, so I can't say I didn't feel good reading it. And sometimes annoyed, bored, perplexed, and so on.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    I think most humans on this planet would benefit from reading this book. It's beautiful, concise, wise, universal and deeply understanding. I think most humans on this planet would benefit from reading this book. It's beautiful, concise, wise, universal and deeply understanding.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Oana Filip

    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 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 acceptance) and the clarity he has in packing ideas and theories into swallowable messages. I have at least to favorite quotes, as I remember: ''Love is a skill, not a feeling.'' ''Authencity is the sign of supreme morality.''

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    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 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 that's you, then read this book!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bersabel Behonegne

    Meh. 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 !

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

    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 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 think past what you think you know and believe.

  14. 5 out of 5

    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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stijn Zanders

    Great ideas, though it feels too much of a compilation of them. Would have liked it if the ideas were more connected.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Oeystein Hanssen

    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 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.theschooloflife.com and Youtube.

  17. 5 out of 5

    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. 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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Charles Adey

    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!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    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 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 only a handful of years. What we don’t do a good job of and what we haven’t improved at over time is in teaching us how to deal with our more fundamental human flaws, fears, and desires. The book puts forth an abridged attempt at this (there is a whole series of books by this “School of Life”, I think this is like an intro/synthesis book) by drawing on a wide selection of philosophy, literature, and art. Helped create some key insights for me in a number of areas (relationships, happiness, ambition). I think the more areas of the book that resonate with you, the more you will enjoy it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    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 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 most of the time too. 'Almost sane' is what the book says we strive for, by being polite and pessimistic and accepting and hopeful. I am not alone. "Much anxiety surrounds the question of how good the next generation will be at maths; very little around their abilities at marriage or kindness." YAAS QUEEN. "We have the appetites and destructive furies of primitive primates who have come into possession of thermonuclear warheads." DITTO. "[The sane] can - at their best - be dryly funny about the tragedy of being human. They lay bare the fears, doubts, longings, desires and habits that don't belong to the story we commonly tell ourselves about who we are." The core of vulnerability (my least favourite thing). "Emotional life is never done with showing us how much we might have to suffer for 'small' things." YOU ARE NOT WRONG THERE But this was SUCH a revelation Because I should have suffered terrible abuse and neglect to have turned into such a highly anxious, frantic, fucked-up adult right? Instead of the perfectly pleasant, middle-class childhood I got NOPE SAYS ALAIN THAT TIME WHEN YOU ASKED YOUR MOTHER WERE YOU PRETTY AND SHE SAID YOU WERE 'PLEASANT-LOOKING' IS ENOUGH And that's okay Jesus Christ I love Alain and his co-pilots SO MUCH "Maturity involves accepting with good grace that we are all - like marionettes - manipulated by the past. And, when we can manage it, it may also require that we develop our capacity to judge and act in the ambiguous here and now with somewhat greater fairness and neutrality." This feels like holy writ to me. "The causes of our primal wounds are rarely outwardly dramatic but their effects are rarely insignificant. Such is the fragile base of childhood that nothing outwardly appalling needs to have happened for us to wind up inwardly profoundly scrambled." This is one of many times I had to stop and put the book down and hold my heart inside my chest because thank you. Thank you for helping me realise this vital fact. "[Parents] did not, all the while, ask that we thank them, understand them or show them sympathy. They didn't demand that we enquire how their days went or how they were sleeping at night (they weren't much). They treated us like royalty, so that we would later on be able to submit to the rigours and humiliations of an ordinary life. This temporarily one-sided relationship guaranteed our eventual ability to form a two-sided kind." No greater paean to parenthood has ever been written. "Diplomacy seeks to teach us how many good things can still be accomplished when we make some necessary accommodations with the crooked, sometimes touching and hugely unreliable material of human nature." <3 "We should stop worrying quite so much whether or not people like us, and make that far more interesting and socially useful move: concentrate on showing that we like them." OH YEAH JUST ATTACK THE CORE OF MY INSECURITY AND WHY I WAS CRYING ABOUT THAT BOY he's right though THE LIST OF 'CLASSICAL' ATTITUDES ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS Should be on the log-in screen of Tinder And in school textbooks "Two people should see a relationship as a constant opportunity to improve and be improved. When lovers teach each other uncomfortable truths, they are not abandoning the spirit of love. They are trying to do something very true to genuine love, which is to make their partners more worthy of admiration." WOW. "The only people we can think of as profoundly admirable are those we don't yet know very well." SICK BURN. "Those we love, we honour with our worst moods, our most unfair accusations, our most wounding insults. It is to our lovers that we direct blame for everything that has gone wrong in our lives; we expect them to know everything we mean without bothering to explain it; their minor errors and misunderstandings occasion our sulks and rages. By comparison [...] we are, in the company of our friends, our best selves." More oof. "The Classical person pays special attention to what can go wrong. They are very concerned to mitigate the downside. They are aware that most things could be a lot worse. Before condemning a government, they consider the standard of governments across history and may regard a current arrangement as bearable, under the circumstances. Their view of people is fundamentally rather dark. They believe that everyone is probably slightly worse than they seem. They feel we have deeply dangerous impulses, lusts and drives and take bad behaviour for granted when it manifests itself. They simply feel this is what humans are prone to do. High ideals make them nervous." Ha, well. One thing I congratulate myself on is that this sounds like me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sophy H

    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!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jack M

    Decent enough advice for the unhappy citizens of the West.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Abhijit Agarwal

    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.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marloes

    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. 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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mikayla

    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 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 fact, I found this book so convincing that I've actually taken it's ideas into consideration while making some major decisions in my life. I therefore reserve the right to update this review in 15 years or so, in case it all turns out badly.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Melsheimer

    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. 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. But it would be neat to reread later in life. I also appreciated the introduction to terminology and deeper insights of classic societal and interpersonal challenges, such as exploring imposter syndrome and the dilemma of the good child.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Outdoors Nerd

    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. 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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten Holtforster

    Well slap my ass and call me emotionally educated. This book is the new bible. It got me hooked on other School of Life books which outed them as content repeaters.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nandin-Erdene Enkhtuvshin

    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 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 emotions that our conscious selves haven’t found a way to understand or to address in time. It is logical that Socrates should have boiled down the wisdom of philosophy to one simple command: ‘Know yourself.’ We need reduce the shame and danger of confession. We need a broader, more reassuring sense of what is common. Of course it is normal to be envious, crude, sexual, weak, in need, childlike, grandiose, terrified and furious. It is normal desire random adventures even within loving, committed unions. It is normal to be hurt by small signs of rejection, and to be made quickly very insecure by any evidence of neglect by a partner. It is normal to harbour hopes for ourselves professionally that go far beyond what we have currently been able to achieve. It is normal to envy other people, many times a day, to be very upset by any kind of criticism of our work or performance, and to be so sad we regularly daydream or fight or a premature end. The journey to self-knowledge needs to begin with a better map of the terrain of normality. The emotionally intelligent person know that love is a skill, not a feeling, and will require trust, vulnerability, generosity, humour, sexual understanding and selective resignation. The emotionally intelligent person awards themselves the time to determine what gives their working life meaning and has the confidence and tenacity to try to find an accommodation between inner priorities and demands of the world. The emotionally intelligent person knows how to hope and be grateful, while remaining steadfast before the essentially tragic structure of existence. The emotionally intelligent person knows that they will only ever be mentally healthy in a few areas and at certain moments, but is committed to fathoming their inadequacies and warning others of them in good time, with apology and charm.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shivangi

    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 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, kindness and self help with. I agreed with most of the ideas in the book, especially with the core idea that emotional education is an ever evolving skill to be learnt and not a trait we are born with. I found solace in his idea that it is perfectly normal to oscillate between behaving wisely and stumbling a lot, and his critiques about the harmful consequences of romanticism are well taken. I also felt pure relief when he wrote about how normal it is for even the most transformative ideas to slip away if one does not return to them from time to time. However, I felt that Botton placed most of the burden of accommodativeness on the reader, a kind of burden which can breed misery if followed without exception. By constantly justifying the hurtful behaviour of the other as something to be understood and forgiven, one justifies staying around unhealthy people and situations for longer. I think a distinction should be made between lofty ideals of romanticism leading to dissatisfaction, and genuine red flags leading to valid disappointment. The differentiation requires honing self esteem and clarity, virtues which I felt the author missed out on addressing by making an over-simplistic case for being satisfied with "good enough". I also felt that the book took on the burden of addressing too many topics at once. I started feeling bored after having read three-fourths of it. The bit about capitalism and art felt completely unrelated to the theme and point of the rest of the book. But I suppose this was overall a good, educative read.

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