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The School of Life

An Emotional Education
Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (102 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

Introduction narrated by Alain de Botton

The Sunday Times best seller. 

The essential guide to how to live wisely and well in the 21st century - from Alain de Botton, the best-selling author of The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel and The Course of Love.

This is an audiobook about everything you were never taught at school. It's about how to understand your emotions, find and sustain love, succeed in your career, fail well and overcome shame and guilt. It's also about letting go of the myth of a perfect life in order to achieve genuine emotional maturity. Written in a hugely accessible, warm and humane style, The School of Life is the ultimate guide to the emotionally fulfilled lives we all long for - and deserve. 

This audiobook brings together 10 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
©2019 Alain de Botton (P)2019 Penguin Random House UK

Critic Reviews

"What he has managed to do is remarkable: to help us think better so that we may live better lives." (Irish Times

"A serious and optimistic set of practical ideas that could improve and alter the way we live." (Jeanette Winterson, The Times)

"Alain de Botton likes to take big, complex subjects and write about them with thoughtful and deceptive innocence." (Observer

What listeners say about The School of Life

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    4 out of 5 stars

Middle Class English Advice for Life

Has some good advice for " life." But the style of presentation is so very middle class English, and seems to be directed at the Worried Well which became dull in places. There are also some quite strong pronouncements made throughout the book, but with no sources offered to substantiate them. Are they evidence - based, or written just from the author's perspective? But the book contains lots of great food for thought and is well worth the read/listen.

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Shockingly dreary, shallow

This is a terribly repetitious, boring, vapid book. The worst release yet from The School of Life. It has as much wisdom as a 5 minute School of Life YouTube video, but repeats itself on loop.

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Thought provoking and a call to action

I really enjoyed the journey that this book took me on. Regardless if you agree with everything it is an excellent thought experiment and challenges some of our preconceptions

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I feel so much better now.

What an amazing, amusing and must read book. Thank you Allain for letting me know that my silliness, craziness and strangeness is, in fact, ok and very normal. I feel whole for the first time in a long time. I highly recommend this book for its wonderful insights into normal human behaviour - the why’s and how’s - that, until now, I thought was shameful and broken.

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Full of life lessons

I learned a lot about myself, my baby and my life after reading this book.

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Everyone should read this to improve who they are.

This book is full of self-reflection, epiphanies about the human condition, and encourages a wider appreciation for the world and the people in it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-08-2020

Required listening

I loved this book. The content is very enlightening and the delivery entertaining. Highly recommended

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-05-2020

A wonderfully smart and understated read

This is essentially like sitting down to somebody really lovely warm charming and interesting at a dinner party and simply wanting to listen. There is no need to say or add anything, – it is all good sense, and quite warm and wonderful. There is lots of the development of thoughts and themes in Mr de Botton’s various other titles, but good to hear them revisited and explained again.

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  • M.Inés Bustamante
  • 16-01-2020

Descubrimiento

Excelente obra. Me ha dado una vision renovada para comprender la vida de una manera mas humana. Quisiera seguir de cerca al autor.
Espero pronto este disponible en español

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  • milene
  • 10-10-2019

amazing

best book I've ever read about life, Button is a genius at showing reality in simple, clear ways

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-10-2019

More Alain needed....

I bought this as I love the works of Alain, but in particular I adore his voice, which is on the sample recording. I was therefore wholly disappointed that this was not actually narrated by him, as his voice is utterly charming and reassuring. Should have just bought the book and imagined it. :-(

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  • david
  • 29-01-2020

The most imporant book ever written

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I realise what a statement that is. Some people may even take offence, but none is intended. Alain de Botton and The School of Life have managed to produce a work that explains "How our minds work". It is titled "Emotional Intelligence". Reading this has laid my mind at peace on so many levels it is simply wondrous. Our knowledge of our emotional inner selves is so poor it beggars belief.
How come the contents of this book have not been openly, publically taught to us before? It's simple; we still don't talk about our deepest fears and issues. Our emotional wellbeing is not a topic for open discussion; the stigma is still too much for most of us, as they point out.
" it remains markedly strange to imagine that it might be possible - or even necessary - to be educated in our own emotional functioning, for example, that we might need to learn(rather than just know) how to avoid sulking or how to interpret our griefs, how to choose a partner or make oneself understood by a colleague."
The book is simply brilliant at breaking down how WE ALL work. This is not a self-help book in my view; it is The self-help book!
It is the first time I have ever come across a book that clearly explains how to think about YOUR personal life, how similar we all are and how to make sense of the myriad thoughts, fears, concerns, obsessions and failings with which we are all preoccupied.
"Our emotions, if left unexamined and unschooled, are liable to lead us into some profoundly counter-productive situations in regard to our love choices, our careers, our friendships and the management of our own moods."
Everyone should read this.
To understand your parents.
To understand why you are the way you are.
To understand everyone else
To help children have a better life
To make the world a better place.


I wish I had been taught this in school.
Why isn't this taught in school?


Being honest I didn't read the book, I listened to it on Audible, which I recommend as having it read to you makes most complex texts a lot easier to digest I find.


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#schooloflife #emotionalintelligence #importantbooks #education

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  • Lars Hansen
  • 03-01-2020

Why???

My first question when reading this book was, why on earth has no one told me this before?
This is all the more bewildering as I am a trained psychiatrist.
This book deals head-on with the most complex and universal issues of our lives, such as love, disappointment, expectations. It is truly amazing that these things do not figure on our school curriculum.
At the end there is perhaps an over-reliance on finding wisdom in the arts, especially the visual arts. I think that can feel alienating to some, but this book remains, by far and away, the best attempt I have read on guidance to living a wise life. I’m grateful for what it has added to my life, and perhaps even to my patients’ lives.

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  • Joni Sykes
  • 21-01-2020

Well explained and well referenced!

This book will help the listener accept, at least in part, some of the chaos we live within. We’re all a bit of a nitwit, and Alain de Botton explains how that’s a good thing.
10/10 would listen again.

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  • Chris Bledsoe
  • 26-11-2019

No emotional education

This book on emotional education comes down to this: pessimism and the valuing of accepting your lot in a life of misery.

Some message.

This book does what liberal 20th/21st century thinkers all do: it knows that life is dissatisfaction, makes no attempt to really, deeply understand why, and then offers absolutely no message of hope or optimism or betterment. It simply offers a limp, stagnant, toothless acceptance of a nihilistic worldview. This isn’t emotional or philosophical or religious, this is simply banality wrapped as profundity.

A hugely disappointing and pessimistic take on what it is to be human. There is also nothing profound, original or deep here either. It is just what you’d expect from an atomised, extremely rich and rootless member of the liberal intelligentsia.

For a REAL emotional education I’d recommend the work of B Alan Wallace, Matthieu Ricard, Osho and others who combine respect for western science with Buddhism and Buddhist mindfulness meditation.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jane
  • 05-09-2020

Thought provoking and constructive

Really enjoyed this book. Full of so much that I intend to listen to it again to pick up on things I will have not have fully absorbed first time.
Clearly written and read.

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  • mark frendo
  • 12-08-2020

Disappointing

Audible customer service is so poor., actually is very poor. To be honest is really really poor

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  • Ross K
  • 04-06-2020

Another excellent book by De Botton

The language use is perhaps a little dense for audio, but the content is good.

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  • God Bless USA
  • 01-06-2020

wonderful

it was very y good to listen...it was an eye opening boom for me to listen.

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  • K. Davis
  • 28-05-2020

Lots of food for thought

Really enjoyed it but it was tough listening at times. Great insights into how we manage our emotions or how they often manage us