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Alain de Botton quotes

I learnt to stop fantasising about the perfect job or the perfect relationship because that can actually be an excuse for not living.

What is fascinating about marriage is why anyone wants to get married.

The arrogance that says analysing the relationship between reasons and causes is more important than writing a philosophy of shyness or sadness or friendship drives me nuts. I can't accept that.

I'm also interested in the modern suggestion that you can have a combination of love and sex in a marriage - which no previous society has ever believed.

Booksellers are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the numbers of books that were written because authors couldn't find anyone to talk to.

Pick up any newspaper or magazine, open the TV, and you'll be bombarded with suggestions of how to have a successful life. Some of these suggestions are deeply unhelpful to our own projects and priorities - and we should take care.

It's clear to me that there is no good reason for many philosophy books to sound as complicated as they do.

I passionately believe that's it's not just what you say that counts, it's also how you say it - that the success of your argument critically depends on your manner of presenting it.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is also in many ways a conflict about status: it's a war between two peoples who feel deeply humiliated by the other, who want the other to respect them. Battles over status can be even more intractable than those over land or water or oil.

We are certainly influenced by role models, and if we are surrounded by images of beautiful rich people, we will start to think that to be beautiful and rich is very important - just as in the Middle Ages, people were surrounded by images of religious piety.

We may seek a fortune for no greater reason than to secure the respect and attention of people who would otherwise look straight through us.

I am always anxious.

I assemble my ideas in pieces on a computer file, then gradually find a place for them on a piece of scaffolding I erect.

I know a lot about writing, but I don't know much about how other industries work. I've tried to use my naivety to my advantage.

I think people want to get married to end their emotional uncertainty. In a way, they want to end powerful feelings, or certainly the negative ones.

I was uncomfortable writing fiction. My love was the personal essay, rather than the novel.

I went to church and couldn't swallow it. The music was nice but I don't belong there.

Kant and Hegel are interesting thinkers. But I am happy to insist that they are also terrible writers.

Many moments in religion seem attractive to me even though I can't believe in any of it.

My writing always came out of a very personal place, out of an attempt to stay sane.