Mar 112013
 

The Consolations of Philosophy
The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I borrowed the ebook from the Toronto Public Library, and it’s, um, an interesting book. It has a ton of images in it, which in a regular kind of ebook as this was, are displayed strangely sometimes — image on one page, caption on the next. But it’s hard to position images unless you have a fixed-layout ebook. In any case, I’m not used to seeing images in a non-fiction book of serious intent. Some were helpful; others I wasn’t sure why they were there.

Maybe it’s my brain injury getting in the way, but it took me awhile to understand how he structured the book and what the point of it was. Basically, it seems, each section is on how a particular philosopher — starting with ones from ancient Greece and moving in time towards the present — brings consolation to a particular part of life. So, for example, the Stoic philosopher Seneca brings consolation to those who are frustrated: his brand of philosophy helps a person cope with frustration or become less frustrated.

In each section, the author describes aspects of the philosopher’s life that played out how he (and they’re all “he”) grew his own philosophy and applied it to his own quandaries or way of living. One neat thing about this method is that the reader gets to know a particular philosophy through the life of the philosopher, making it very accessible to the non-philosophy major.

I didn’t finish it because my library ebook expired before I could. And I wasn’t so enthralled with it that I felt inclined to put another hold on it. However, I read most of it, enough to feel I can apply a rating to it.

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