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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
This is my first experience of Alain de Botton's writing and after devouring this book in less than 2 hours (partly due to it's brevity and partly because I enjoyed it so much) I'll be looking to read more of his work.

I'm probably a little unusual in that I love airports and attempt to arrive much earlier than is really necessary so I can get airside as soon...
Published on December 28, 2009 by Alison

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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not about the airport life
I've expected a sophisticated and colourful description of a life at the airport with some new interesting information since I knew author have been given an unrestricted pass to all airport areas. However this book is 5% about life at the airport and 95% poetic and boring tirades about life in general. As someone with eyes and ears I know very well the diversity of human...
Published on December 3, 2010 by roumen


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, December 28, 2009
This review is from: A Week At The Airport: A Heathrow Diary (Paperback)
This is my first experience of Alain de Botton's writing and after devouring this book in less than 2 hours (partly due to it's brevity and partly because I enjoyed it so much) I'll be looking to read more of his work.

I'm probably a little unusual in that I love airports and attempt to arrive much earlier than is really necessary so I can get airside as soon as possible and begin to immerse myself in the world of the terminal. I've never been to terminal 5 but the world that de Botton describes could be any large airport terminal; it feels very familiar.

I loved de Botton's perceptive writing and his incisive and insightful look at the lifeblood of the airport. The book is funny, interesting and very engaging. He meets a variety of people and captures their essence in a few short words; impressive observational writing. The photographs by Richard Baker make the book and it wouldn't be as good or feel as complete without them.

This little book is thoroughly enjoyable for the high quality writing and high quality photography. It's one of my favourite books read this year and I'll be getting The Art of Travel soon!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Craftsmanship, October 3, 2010
This review is from: A Week at the Airport (Paperback)
I have long lamented that Mr. De Botton's publishers can't seem motivated enough to provide color illustrations. I would gladly repurchase a new edition of The Architecture of Happiness, among others, if the illustrations could be redone to the quality of those in A Week at the Airport. Now, having established myself as a reader who likes pretty pictures, I will go on record to say that if Mr. De Botton were responsible for a picture-free user's manual of some piece of software in painfully tiny print, I would still purchase it and read it cover to cover.

This man has something worthwhile to say and a piercing intellect with which to say it. The executive who chose him to profile the airport should be promoted. Fine writing is like a journey and as Mr. De Botton has taught us, travel is an art. Obviously the author leaves traces of his biases and interests in any work and reading this work only serves to increase my envy of those travelers who, having encountered the man at the table, were able to engage him in a two-sided conversation.

However, a one-sided conversation with this author quite suffices. Lest your powers of perception be dim, this is a book about an airport--nothing more, nothing less. We need, sometimes, to be reminded of the successes of our culture and the example of a Ghanian family leaving London with a prized new possession sums it up nicely. The airport may contain a posh and comfortable retreat for the wealthy, but as a whole represents the strivings of an entire civilization to explore and do business to the limits of the globe itself.

An airport is an enterprise worth describing and this book does credit to the concept of turning a trained observer loose on what may otherwise escape our attention.

Highest Recommendation
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A Week at the Airport" is more compelling than flight itself., September 21, 2010
By 
Helen Gallagher (Glenview, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Week at the Airport (Paperback)
If you've ever imagined where the airport departures timetable might take you, Alain de Botton shares your travel lust. The author was fortunate to receive an assignment to set up a desk at the new Terminal 5 at London's Heathrow Airport for a week, and write about his observations. It is our good fortune to observe his week, and enjoy the unprecedented access he shares with us in "A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary."

His assignment as Writer in Residence gave him full privileges to wander the airport, night and day, and he doesn't miss a thing from security, loneliness, behind-the-scenes workers, and mechanical marvels. de Botton writes with a conversational tone as though he is thinking aloud, as in his other books, and he invites us in to look into the lives of travelers.

I look forward to seeing the airport through de Botton's eyes the next time I pack a bag and travel. And, with great anticipation, I will also await Alain de Botton's next book, wherever the world takes him.

Helen Gallagher Release Your Writing: Book Publishing, Your Way
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars terrific behind-the-scenes look at an airport's inner workings, September 28, 2013
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When I was a kid (in those simpler, less security conscious days), I used to pester any adult I could find to take me to visit the airport. I loved to hang out at the observation deck at O'Hare and watch the planes take off and land and also wander around and watch the people at the airport. I rarely fly now (more car and Amtrak trips) but I would have LOVED the chance to experience what the author of this book did: spend a week at the airport.

In this wonderful little book, the author spent a week wandering around the new terminal at London's Heathrow Airport, talking to passengers and employees alike and observing everything going on. He talks to everyone, from the head of British Airways to someone who cleans the restrooms.

This is a terrific behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of an airport. You might think it sounds dull but it's not that at all.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not about the airport life, December 3, 2010
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This review is from: A Week at the Airport (Paperback)
I've expected a sophisticated and colourful description of a life at the airport with some new interesting information since I knew author have been given an unrestricted pass to all airport areas. However this book is 5% about life at the airport and 95% poetic and boring tirades about life in general. As someone with eyes and ears I know very well the diversity of human emotions being expressed at airports however not having a chance to see more from any airport than a regular traveler I wanted to read more about interesting aspects of an airport life hidden from travelers eyes. This book doesn't provide this at all.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too Thin to be a Book, April 9, 2011
This review is from: A Week at the Airport (Paperback)
I have admired Alain de Botton's work in the past, especially How Proust Can Change Your Life and The Art of Travel, but this book is a real disappointment. It fails on almost every level. I kept getting the feeling that de Botton was really thrashing around searching for something to say, something to fill up the pages so that he could actually call it a book. The way he approached the subject--Heathrow Airport--isn't worthy of much more than a magazine article. It's just plain too thin. De Botton's elegant sentences do show up here, but I began to feel he was just repeating points he's made elsewhere. And there's a kind of cuteness in his reflections that was fresh once but now just feels a bit grating. I had a hard time finishing the book because I was just plain bored. All in all this struck me as a lackadaisical effort.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, July 13, 2014
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This review is from: A Week at the Airport (Paperback)
Good book, but has some misinformation about aviation.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother with this one, so many of his others are brilliant, April 20, 2014
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He admits he was hired to spend a week at a new terminal at Heathrow, by the terminal's owner. It seems he couldn't find anything really fascinating to say about people traveling. I reckon you should read The Art of Travel if you want a travel guide, but a better book is How Proust can change your Life, or The Consolations of Philosophy. Don't bother with this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, January 13, 2014
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This review is from: A Week at the Airport (Paperback)
De Botton at his best! Full of wry, funny and pointed (but never cruel) observations. Read it together with Kevin Ireland's poetry anthology 'Airports and other wasted days'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A WEEK AT THE AIRPORT, December 10, 2013
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Exquisitely written, vintage De Botton. This writer has a unique skill of turning the most ordinary of events in our daily lives to something beyond our normal realm of thinking. He writes with wit, humour and pathos and challenges us to examine our thoughts and actions even when taking a plane flight from A to B.
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A Week At The Airport: A Heathrow Diary
A Week At The Airport: A Heathrow Diary by Alain de Botton (Paperback - 2009)
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