Status Anxiety

Front Cover
Pantheon Books, 2004 - Psychology - 306 pages
188 Reviews
"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 rarely gets mentioned directly: 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.
Alain de Botton, best-selling author of "The Consolations of Philosophy "and "The Art of Travel," 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 (ranging from the consequences of the French Revolution to our secret dismay at the success of our friends) 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 isn't just highly entertaining and thought-provoking, but that is genuinely wise and helpful, too.

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Nice overview, insightful. - Goodreads
Alain de Botton is a charming and erudite writer. - Goodreads
Revealed some profound insights to me. - Goodreads
de Botton's prose is musical. - Goodreads
Easy to read contemporary philosopher. - Goodreads
The writing has a seductive quality. - Goodreads

Review: Status Anxiety

User Review  - M Pereira - Goodreads

People often poo-poo on De Botton; intellectual tourism or lightweight philosophy. It's a nice lightweight meditation akin to say reading Thoreau or Milton. Of course I would say you would go better ... Read full review

Review: Status Anxiety

User Review  - Eric Dolan - Goodreads

Brilliant, thoughtful, well-researched, touching point for further readings and some (i dread the phrase but can vouch for it nonetheless) inner peace, whatever that may be. Read full review

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About the author (2004)

Alain de Botton is the author of three previous works of fiction and three of nonfiction, including The Art of Travel, The Consolations of Philosophy, and How Proust Can Change Your Life (all available in paperback from Vintage Books). He lives in London.

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