- Series: Vintage International
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; 1 edition (June 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780307277251
- ISBN-13: 978-0307277251
- ASIN: 0307277259
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 72 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work (Vintage International) Paperback – June 1, 2010
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“Exquisitely written. . . . A perceptive philosophical meditation on work, with its extraordinary claim to provide, along with love, the principal source of meaning in our lives.” —Boston Globe
“In the place of easy answers, De Botton offers an array of potent and portable insights about the delight and despair we find, daily, in our working lives.” —Los Angeles Times
“Like a combination of Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace and pop philosopher Thomas Moore, De Botton's dense, pensive prose expresses a palpable preoccupation with finding better ways of living in our bewilderingly estranged age.” —Salon
"With de Botton's humor, boundless erudition and capable turns of phrase, it's the best work yet (and certainly the best-timed) from a pre-eminent genre-bender, one certain to find a welcome home in the hands of anyone making a living.” –The Portland Oregonian
“Alain de Botton's new philosophical treatise, "The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work," feels like an intellectual acid trip without the stimulants. He focuses your gaze where you have never even considered looking and turns upside down your notions of beauty and love and work and what really is involved in crafting a meaningful life. The book is groundbreaking in approach, style and imagination.” –The San Francisco Chronicle
“The Pleasures and Sorrows treats readers to a cast of eccentrics as it examines the thing we spend most of our lives doing.” —Business Week
“The workplace as subject matter brings out the best in [de Botton’s] writing. . . . His wit and his powers of ironic observation are on display throughout what is a stylish and original book.” —The Sunday Times (London)
“Wonderfully readable stuff. . . . What de Botton is showing us, in his de Botton-esque way, is that, in our world of niched desire and economic efficiency, our working practices might be driving us nuts. . . . A timely book.” —The Spectator
“Pleasurably intelligent. . . . The author has plenty of thought-provoking things to say.” —The Economist
“This artful creation reports from planet Earth in the manner of a bookish Martian sending a postcard home. . . . This is a terribly funny book, intentionally so, and its ostensible subject is one that touches all of us.” —The Daily Mail
“Features passages of imaginative prose as powerful as anything by Charles Dickens or George Orwell and explores the notion that people rarely feel connected to what they do for a living.” —Word Magazine
“His questions are as important as they are unsettling.” —The Financial Times
“Teems with sharp portraits, interesting details, and shrewd commentary. . . . De Botton is always fun to watch.” —The Guardian
About the Author
ALAIN DE BOTTON is the author of three works of fiction and six works of nonfiction, including How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations of Philosophy, and The Art of Travel. He lives in London, where he founded The School of Life.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Just when one thinks he has gone over the top with what sounds like a jaded view, he enters a softer, more philosophical place in which he asks himself AND us: do we really even notice those who work so hard, earn so little, work late hours, or in the case of rocket science, really even understand? As I read, I thought to myself, "I've learned a lot about what rocket science isn't...but I never really stopped to consider what it IS."
His writing style and skillful weaving in and out of the working world and the lives of others is compelling. Just how many hands have played a role in a fish one buys at market? How many of us turn our lights on and off all day and night without ever thinking even once about the men and women who make that magical thing called electricity possible with a simple flip of a switch? Who are the ones who make certain the cookies I buy are neatly arranged in a perfect package at the grocery store--and who are the ones that got it there?
As an artist, I paricularly appreciated that he included a chapter about a painter whose career mostly centered around painting the same grand tree in any number of conditions from seasonal to weather variations, in morning light, late light, and high noon. I could not help but wonder about the richness of such a collection of paintings--a single tree with a thousand-thousand faces (not unlike a single person with a thousand-thousand faces).
I recommend you not read the book in a hurry. Go slowly, Savor it. Ponder it. Turn in over in your mind and heart. Wonder why YOU do what you do, day in and day out, ask if your work brings you joy. If you don't like the answer, perhaps this book will give you the courage to go on and find something more in tune with your soul's purpose in this short life.
Reminds me of Mary Oliver's line: "What will you do with your one wild and precious life?"
While at times the author's viewpoints seem to be a bit... condescending towards the types of modern work that many of us must endure, and perhaps even *enjoy* (accounting, data entry, and other "non-creative" fields), he does a good job of dissecting the modern day job and its place in our lives.
A great read for anyone trying to search for some meaning in their careers and figure out "why am I doing this every day?"
This guy can write! I kept calling people over and telling them to read this or that sentence - amazing sentences packed with great word choice, meaning, and humor. For example, with respect to tuna killing: "The mallet strikes again. There is a dull sound, that of densely packed brain and experience, shattering inside a tight bony cage, triggering the thought that we too are never more than one hard slam away from a definitive end to our carefully arranged ideas and copious involvement with ourselves." Good, right? Read it. Savor the unique stories of people killing tunas, painting, inventing, accounting, etc. Enjoy the beautiful photos. Some of the stories and images will stay with me, as I ponder the world of work.