Inspirational Quotes from Alain de Botton

By | February 21, 2017

The thing is that love gives us a ringside seat on somebody else’s flaws, so of course you’re gonna spot some things that kinda need to be mentioned. But often the romantic view is to say, ‘If you loved me, you wouldn’t criticise me.’ Actually, true love is often about trying to teach someone how to be the best version of themselves.

Alain de Botton

There’s a constant tension between the excitement of new people and security with one person. If you go with excitement, you create chaos; you hurt people. There’s jealousy, and it gets very messy. If you have security, it can be boring, and you die inside because of all the opportunities missed.

Alain de Botton

Laughter is an important part of a good relationship. It’s an immense achievement when you can move from your thinking that your partner is merely an idiot to thinking that they are that wonderfully complex thing called a loveable idiot. And often that means having a little bit of a sense of humour about their flaws.

Alain de Botton

A city like London is sociable in a sense that there are people gathering in bars and restaurants, concerts and lectures. Yet you can partake of all these experiences and never say hello to anyone new. And one of the things that all religions do is take groups of strangers into a space and say it is OK to talk to each other.

Alain de Botton

Therapy and counseling can do wonderful things for people. But they have emerged so far as what are sometimes called ‘cottage industries’ – that is, as individuals or small groups offering generally quite expensive services to a few clients.

Alain de Botton

It’s very hard to respect people on holiday – everybody looks so silly at the beach, it makes you hate humanity – but when you see people at their work they elicit respect, whether it’s a mechanic, a stonemason or an accountant.

Alain de Botton

The romantic person instinctively sees marriage in terms of emotions, but what a couple actually gets up to together over a lifetime has much more in common with the workings of a small business. They must draw up work rosters, clean, chauffeur, cook, fix, throw away, mind, hire, fire, reconcile, and budget.

Alain de Botton

Most of the time, we make discoveries about how difficult people are at the moment when the difficulties have actually hurt us; therefore, we are not likely to be forgiving or sympathetic.

Alain de Botton

I’m fascinated by Comte’s clear-eyed analysis of what was wrong with modern society, which is that you’ve got industrial capitalism on one side and romantic love on the other. Those, along with non-instrumental art, are supposed to get you through the day?

Alain de Botton

It’s great to get an ‘F’, but you also want to give the sense that there’s something outside achievement. I’ve seen a lot of so-called high-achievers who don’t feel they’ve achieved much.

Alain de Botton

It’s great to get an ‘F’, but you also want to give the sense that there’s something outside achievement. I’ve seen a lot of so-called high-achievers who don’t feel they’ve achieved much.

Alain de Botton

Learning to give up on perfection may be just about the most romantic move any of us could make.

Alain de Botton

Emotional life is – alongside work – one of the great challenges of existence and is a theme that I keep returning to.

Alain de Botton

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.

Alain de Botton

The humanities have been forced to disguise, both from themselves and their students, why their subjects really matter, for the sake of attracting money and prestige in a world obsessed by the achievements of science.

Alain de Botton

There’s something called religion, and it was invented a long time ago by people who felt very out of control with their lives, who didn’t know… why the sun always rose over the mountains.

Alain de Botton

The solution as consumers is – perhaps surprisingly – to take adverts very, very seriously. We should ask ourselves what it is that we find lovely in them – the visions of friendship, togetherness, repose, or whatever. And then consider what would actually help us find these qualities in our lives.

Alain de Botton

Sweetness is the opposite of machismo, which is everywhere – and I really don’t get on with machismo. I’m interested in sensitivity and weakness and fear and anxiety because I think that, at the end of the day, behind our masks, that’s what we are.

Alain de Botton

Social media has lots of benefits, but compared to Christianity, it tends to group people by interests. Religion puts you with people who have nothing in common except that you’re human.

Alain de Botton

We don’t sulk with everybody. We limit our sulks to a very particular person: the person who’s supposed to love us and understand us. And we make this equation that if you love me, you’re supposed to understand me even if I don’t explain what’s wrong.

Alain de Botton

We must study love the way we study anything else that matters.

Alain de Botton

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

Alain de Botton

Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition.

Alain de Botton

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.

Alain de Botton

I think of myself as quite a shy person. But when I’m curious about something, I’ll go quite far to satisfy my curiosity.

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

I like working with people. I believe change can only come through collaboration.

Alain de Botton

I think a certain degree of pessimism is actually helpful to love.

Alain de Botton

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.

Alain de Botton

The problem with airports is that we go there when we need to catch a plane – and because it’s so difficult to find the way to the gate, we tend not to look around at our surroundings.

Alain de Botton

Used to do a lot of falling in love with people, almost in the street, and imagining that there would be no obstacle to a happy love story other than finding the ‘right person’.

Alain de Botton

Parents become very good at not hearing the explicit words and listening instead to what the child means but doesn’t yet know how to say: ‘I’m lonely, in pain, frightened’ – distress which then unfairly comes out as an attack on the safest, kindest, most reliable thing in the child’s world: the parent.

Alain de Botton

My dad was a slightly stricter version of Richard Dawkins. The worldview was that there are idiots out there who believe in Santa Claus and fairies and magic and elves, and we’re not joining that nonsense.

Alain de Botton

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.

Alain de Botton

Work is a way of bringing order to chaos, and there’s a basic satisfaction in seeing that we are able to make something a little more coherent by the end of the day.

Alain de Botton

In the early days of love sometimes, you will report an ecstatic feeling you have met someone who seems to understand you without you needing to speak.

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

The philosophy I love is very selective. It is really just the bit that is involved in a search for wisdom, and this means a short roll call of names; Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epicurus, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche.

Alain de Botton

I waste most of the day, then finally start to write around 3 P.M., totally disgusted with myself for my wasteful nature.

Alain de Botton

Advertising is – quite often – alive to our real needs. It’s just the products on offer might not be the things that will help us satisfy them.

Alain de Botton

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.

Alain de Botton

We are properly ready for marriage when we are strong enough to embrace a life of frustration.

Alain de Botton

Many people in the intellectual elite are very scared of shouting. They insist on very quiet murmurs.

Alain de Botton

I was foreign and Jewish, with a funny name, and was very small and hated sport, a real problem at an English prep school. So the way to get round it was to become the school joker, which I did quite effectively – I was always fooling around to make the people who would otherwise dump me in the loo laugh.

Alain de Botton

What we typically call love is only the start of love. Our understanding of love has been hijacked and beguiled by its first distractingly moving moments.

Alain de Botton

I’m not an academic philosopher, and don’t agree with the way the universities approach the subject. I’m a philosopher only in the very loose sense of someone interested in wisdom and well-being attained through reason. But I’m as interested in psychoanalysis and art as I am in philosophy.

Alain de Botton

The idea that one might use art for ‘instrumental’ reasons tends to set off alarm bells at the heart of the cultural elite, who contend that it’s not a pill, that it shouldn’t be asked to perform some specific function, especially something as egocentric as to ‘cheer you up’ or to ‘make you a more empathetic person.’

Alain de Botton

Everyone’s more vulnerable than they seem, and I think men are more vulnerable. Once you get close to a man, the whole thing’s a facade anyway. I think manhood is fragile.

Alain de Botton

There’s a certain kind of insular, old-fashioned, upper-class Britishness that gives me the spooks. I am sure that comes from a boarding-school trauma.

Alain de Botton

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

Alain de Botton

When a restaurant is too popular, it starts to harm the reason you are there.

Alain de Botton

The central task for a business is to make a profit. The challenge is to make a profit by doing things which are genuinely good for people and good for societies.

Alain de Botton

The claims I’m making for art are simply the claims that we naturally make around music or around poetry. We’re much more relaxed around those art forms. We’re willing to ask, ‘How could this find a place in my heart?’

Alain de Botton

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