The Architecture of Happiness

Author(s): Alain de Botton


In his extraordinary new book, Alain de Botton explores the importance of buildings in our lives, pondering our attachment to our homes and considering such questions as: Why do people disagree about taste?
Can beautiful surroundings make us good?
Not to mention: What makes a window frame attractive?

Rooted in the idea that architecture has the power to influence how we feel and that we are different people in different buildings, The Architecture of Happiness suggests how we might learn to build better, more attractive dwellings, in which we could stand a higher chance of happiness.

First published 2006.

Product Information

" De Botton is a lively guide, and his eclectic choices of buildings and locations evince his conclusion, that " we should be as unintimidated by architectural mediocrity as we are by unjust laws."
-- "The New Yorker"
The next time I'm at a party, and the conversation turns to " serious topics, " like what the stock market did today, I think I'll suggest we talk about something more important: architecture. I'll ask the investment banker why he bought the house he did and insist he answer the question. And then I'll start quoting Alain de Botton.
-- "The National Post"
If this book were a building, it would be a contemporary reading room, I think, with big windows, and clean, built-in bookshelves with a fold-out step ladder just right for fetching slim volumes from the top shelf. The elegant clarity and brisk humour of his style, accompanied by pages of photos, opens your eyes to the rich possibility of thinking about your home, and your city, in a new way.
-- "The Toronto Star"
" De Botton's books are the literary equivalent of the Slow Food movement. They demand to be lingered over, not because the concepts are difficult but because they are rich and deep. Be prepared to put down your book frequently and turn his last few sentences over in your mind, testing his theses against the rooms and buildings you know well."
-- "The Globe and Mail"
" In this simple, entertaining and brilliant book, Alain de Botton explores how architecture speaks to us and why it affects all aspects of human life. His great strength is to explain things we always knew but neverunderstood."
-- Christopher Hume, Architecture Critic, "Toronto Star"
" How did we ever manage without de Botton?"
-- "Sunday Times "(U.K.)
" [de Botton] deals with questions of style, ideas of beauty, notions about why certain structures appeal to us. The author argues that we love beautiful buildings because they solidify ideas we have about ourselves and our world. They put into concrete form our aspirations; they compensate for our human weaknesses; in short, they make us happy. Virtually every page contains a sentence any essayist would be proud to have written. A lyrical and generously illustrated monograph about the intimate relationship between our buildings and ourselves."
-- "Kirkus Reviews"
" Singlehandedly, de Botton has taken philosophy back to its simplest and most important purpose: helping us live our lives."
-- "Independent"

"From the Hardcover edition."

Alain de Botton was born in 1969. He is the author of Essays in Love, The Romantic Movement, Kiss and Tell, How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel, Status Anxiety and On Seeing and Noticing. He lives in London.

General Fields

  • : 9780241142493
  • : Penguin Books
  • : Hamish Hamilton
  • : July 2006
  • : 234mm X 153mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Alain de Botton
  • : Paperback
  • : very good
  • : 288
  • : 15 black and white interleaved