The Best Alain De Botton quotes

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Writer, philosopher and television personality Alain de Botton is known for his humorous and insightful takes on the everyday lives of people. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the life of this interesting thinker and how he’s used his knowledge to help others. de Botton has written bestselling books on love, architecture and happiness, proving that he is more than just a one-trick pony.

Here are the most inspiring Anxiety, Love, Books, Feelings, Time, Life, World, Sense quotes from Alain De Botton, and much more.


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About Alain De Botton

birth of the author

20 December 1969

occupation of the author

Writer, Speaker

country of the author

Swiss And British

college of the author

Alma Mater:
Gonville And Caius College, Cambridge Harvard University

date of the author



Travel is a lot like love. — Alain De Botton

For paranoia about ‘what other people think’ : remember that only some hate, a very few love–and almost all just don’t care. — Alain De Botton

Love is something that we need to learn. — Alain De Botton

Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition. — Alain De Botton

travel is a lot like love Alain De Botton quote

Must being in love always mean being in pain? — Alain De Botton

Do you love me enough that I may be weak with you? Everyone loves strength, but do you love me for my weakness? That is the real test. — Alain De Botton

We are all more intelligent than we are capable, and awareness of the insanity of love has never saved anyone from the disease. — Alain De Botton

Though debts are condemned in the financial world, the world of friendship and love may perversely depend on well–managed debts. — Alain De Botton

Love is an incurable disease. In love, there is permanent suffering. Those who love and those who are happy are not the same. — Alain De Botton

love is something that we need to learn Alain De Botton quote

We often lose our tempers not with those who are actually to blame; just with those who love us enough to forgive us our foul moods. — Alain De Botton

He did not mean to depress us, rather to free us from expectations which inspire bitterness. It is consoling, when love has let us down, to hear that happiness was never part of the plan. — Alain De Botton

I was uncomfortable writing fiction. My love was the personal essay rather than the novel. — Alain De Botton

One rarely falls in love without being as much attracted to what is interestingly wrong with someone as what is objectively healthy. — Alain De Botton


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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. — Alain De Botton

compatibility is an achievement of love it shouldn t be its precondition Alain De Botton quote

If the beginnings of love and amorous politics are equally rosy, then the ends may be equally bloody. — Alain De Botton

True love is a lack of desire to check one’s smartphone in another’s presence. — Alain De Botton

If you are pro love, you have to be a little bit disloyal to the romantic feelings that propel you in the early days. — Alain De Botton


Anxiety is the handmaiden of contemporary ambition. — Alain De Botton

Despite its maddeningly vague, inarticulate form, anxiety is almost always trying to tell you something useful and apposite. — Alain De Botton

anxiety is the handmaiden of contemporary ambition Alain De Botton quote

The price we have paid for expecting to be so much more than our ancestors is a perpetual anxiety that we are far from being all we might be. — Alain De Botton

It’s perhaps easier now than ever before to make a good living; it’s perhaps harder than ever before to stay calm, to be free of career anxiety. — Alain De Botton

In the gap between who we wish one day to be and who we are at present, must come pain, anxiety, envy and humiliation. — Alain De Botton

The largest part of what we call ‘personality’ is determined by how we’ve opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness’. — Alain De Botton

Status anxiety definitely exists at a political level. Many Iraqis were annoyed with the US essentially for reasons of status: for not showing them respect, for humiliating them. — Alain De Botton

Taking photographs can assuage the itch for possession sparked by the beauty of a place; our anxiety over losing a precious scene can decline with every click of the shutter. — Alain De Botton


It is perhaps sad books that best console us when we are sad. — Alain De Botton

Good books put a finger on emotions that are deeply our own–but that we could never have described on our own. — Alain De Botton

One kind of good book should leave you asking: how did the author know that about me? — Alain De Botton

The only possible way to begin a book is to tell oneself that its eventual failure is guaranteed–but survivable. — Alain De Botton

it is perhaps sad books that best console us when we are sad Alain De Botton quote

Only by declaring a book completely finished can one start to see how much remains to be done on it. — Alain De Botton

The essential argument in the book, ‘Art as Therapy,’ is that art enjoys such financial and cultural prestige that it’s easy to forget the confusion that persists about what it’s really for. — Alain De Botton

It seems the only way to write a half decent book is to worry oneself sick on an hourly basis that one is producing a complete disaster. — Alain De Botton

What annoys me about most self–help books is that they have no tragic sense. They have no sense that life is fundamentally incomplete rather than accidentally incomplete. — Alain De Botton

The study of maps and the perusal of travel books aroused in me a secret fascination that was at times almost irresistible. — Alain De Botton

one kind of good book should leave you asking how did the author know that about me Alain De Botton quote

Despite the best efforts of critics and the hopes of authors, our tastes in books are probably as inherent & unbudgeable as those in food. — Alain De Botton

It’s clear to me that there is no good reason for many philosophy books to sound as complicated as they do. — Alain De Botton

Most of what makes a book ‘good’ is that we are reading it at the right moment for us. — Alain De Botton

Writing a book has about it some of the anxiety of telling a joke and having to wait several years to know whether or not it was funny. — Alain De Botton

The number one person who needs my books is me. I’m not some sort of disinterested guru who has worked life out and is handing things out to the poor people who might not have life worked out. — Alain De Botton

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. — Alain De Botton

It is in books, poems, paintings which often give us the confidence to take seriously feelings in ourselves that we might otherwise never have thought to acknowledge. — Alain De Botton


Everyone wants a better life: very few of us want to be better people. — Alain De Botton

It is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic that we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things. — Alain De Botton

The longing for destiny is nowhere stronger than in our romantic life. — Alain De Botton

everyone wants a better life very few of us want to be better people Alain De Botton quote

A ‘good job’ can be both practically attractive while still not good enough to devote your entire life to. — Alain De Botton

Pegging your contentment to the overall state of the world rather than of your own life: the basis of morality, or a sort of madness? — Alain De Botton

A virtuous, ordinary life, striving for wisdom but never far from folly, is achievement enough. — Alain De Botton

Fantasies can be great, but we shouldn’t make the wedding a fantasy, because the wedding is the gateway to married life. It shouldn’t be a moment of illusion; it should be a moment of preparation. — Alain De Botton

Redundant Thematics

In Alain De Botton Statements


The genius of religions is that they structure the inner life. — Alain De Botton

the longing for destiny is nowhere stronger than in our romantic life Alain De Botton quote

Feeling lost, crazy and desperate belongs to a good life as much as optimism, certainty and reason. — Alain De Botton

Every adult life could be said to be defined by two great love stories: the story of our quest for sexual love and the story of our quest for love from the world. — Alain De Botton

The real issue is not whether baking biscuits is meaningful, but the extent to which the activity can seem to be so after it has been continuously stretched and subdivided across five thousand lives. — Alain De Botton

Instead of bringing back 1600 plants, we might return from our journeys with a collection of small unfêted but life–enhancing thoughts. — Alain De Botton

You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days. — Alain De Botton

The desire for high status is never stronger than in situations where ‘ordinary’ life fails to answer a median need for dignity and comfort. — Alain De Botton

Rage is caused by a conviction, almost comic in its optimistic origins (however tragic in its effects), that a given frustration has not been written into the contract of life. — Alain De Botton

If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest–in all its ardour and paradoxes–than our travels. — Alain De Botton

A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one’s life. There is an urge to say, ‘I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me. — Alain De Botton

Travel agents would be wiser to ask us what we hope to change about our lives rather than simply where we wish to go. — Alain De Botton


The secular world is full of holes. We have secularized badly. — Alain De Botton

It should not be Illiers–Combray that we visit: a genuine homage to Proust would be to look at our world through his eyes, not look at his world through our eyes. — Alain De Botton

There is real danger of a disconnect between what’s on your business card and who you are deep inside, and it’s not a disconnect that the world is ready to be patient with. — Alain De Botton

In a secularising world, art has replaced religion as a touchstone of our reverence and devotion. — Alain De Botton

It would be foolish to describe the logistics hub as merely ugly, for it has the horrifying, soulless, immaculate beauty characteristic of many of the workplaces of the modern world. — Alain De Botton

the secular world is full of holes we have secularized badly Alain De Botton quote

When Proust urges us to evaluate the world properly, he repeatedly reminds us of the value of modest scenes. — Alain De Botton

Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by the company we keep, for we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others. — Alain De Botton

A world where a majority had imbibed the lessons implicit within tragic art would be one in which the consequences of our failures would necessarily cease to weigh upon us so heavily. — Alain De Botton

I see religion as a storehouse of lots of really good ideas that a secular world should look at, raid, and learn from. — Alain De Botton


Politics is so difficult, it’s generally only people who aren’t quite up to the task who feel convinced they are. — Alain De Botton

if one felt successful there d be so little 
incentive to be successful Alain De Botton quote

We should not feel embarrassed by our difficulties, only by our failure to grow anything beautiful from them. — Alain De Botton

Though it may feel otherwise, enjoying life is no more dangerous than apprehending it with continuous anxiety and gloom. — Alain De Botton

Virtue is its own reward. We only invented concepts like heaven and hell to describe how we feel. We don’t feel good doing bad and it’s nice to help someone. — Alain De Botton

We envy only those whom we feel ourselves to be like; we envy only members of our reference group. There are few successes more unendurable than those of our close friends. — Alain De Botton

Although I don’t believe in God, Bach’s music shows me what a love of God must feel like. — Alain De Botton

The degree of sympathy we feel regarding another’s fiasco is directly proportional to how easy or difficult it is for us to imagine ourselves, under like circumstances, making a similar mistake. — Alain De Botton

Good sex isn’t just fun, it keeps us sane and happy. Having sex with someone makes us feel wanted, alive and potent. — Alain De Botton


Gaffe–focused journalism: revenge of intelligent people who know true evils are out there but lack the access/time to get to them. — Alain De Botton

The good parent: someone who doesn’t mind, for a time, being hated by their children. — Alain De Botton

Every time we feel satisfied with what we have, we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess. — Alain De Botton

the good parent someone who doesn t mind for a time being hated by their children Alain De Botton quote

There is a longing for a return to a time without the need for choices, free of the regret at the inevitable loss that all choice (however wonderful) has entailed. — Alain De Botton

I feel that the great challenge of our time is the communication of ideas. — Alain De Botton

Intuition is unconscious accumulated experience informing judgement in real time. — Alain De Botton

Writing isn’t a career choice. It’s self–medication that over time precipitates the madness it was meant to ward off. — Alain De Botton


Our sense of what is valuable will hence be radically distorted if we must perpetually condemn as tedious everything we lack, simply because we lack it. — Alain De Botton

much of the really serious trouble in the world gets going with a sense of humiliation Alain De Botton quote

Much of the really serious trouble in the world gets going with a sense of humiliation. — Alain De Botton

Everyone returns us to a different sense of ourselves, for we become a little of who they think we are. — Alain De Botton

Forgiveness requires a sense that bad behaviour is a sign of suffering rather than malice. — Alain De Botton

Our greatest furies spring from events which violate our sense of the ground of our existence. — Alain De Botton

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