How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain De BottonHow Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain De Botton

How Proust Can Change Your Life

byAlain De Botton

Paperback | April 28, 1998

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Alain de Botton combines two unlikely genres--literary biography and self-help manual--in the hilarious and unexpectedly practical How Proust Can Change Your Life.

Who would have thought that Marcel Proust, one of the most important writers of our century, could provide us with such a rich source of insight into how best to live life? Proust understood that the essence and value of life was the sum of its everyday parts. As relevant today as they were at the turn of the century, Proust's life and work are transformed here into a no-nonsense guide to, among other things, enjoying your vacation, reviving a relationship, achieving original and unclichéd articulation, being a good host, recognizing love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on a first date. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust's essays, letters and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.

Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: witty, intelligent, pragmatic. He might well change your life.
Alain de Botton was born in 1969. He is the author of the novels On Love, The Romantic Movement, and Kiss and Tell; his work has been translated into sixteen languages. He lives in Washington, D.C., and London.
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Title:How Proust Can Change Your LifeFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:208 pages, 8 × 5.18 × 0.61 inShipping dimensions:8 × 5.18 × 0.61 inPublished:April 28, 1998Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0679779159

ISBN - 13:9780679779155

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok but why not just read Proust - you'll get a lot more out of it than this
Date published: 2018-01-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from De Botton disappoints here De Botton's titles are usually enjoyable, but I was disappointed with this one. Started reading him in Dubai and couldn't get enough. Maybe one day I'll read Proust's seven-volume 1.25m word 'In Search of Lost Time'. I hear it's literally a page-turner.
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant book, whether you like Proust or not I've tried to read Proust a few times, but found it tedious and unenjoyable. I first read this book about 15 years ago, and recntly re-read it. I loved it more this second time around. This is by no means a substitute for his work, but it is brilliant. Part Introduction-to-Proust, part biography, part self-help, part humor book. The chapters, How to Love Life, Read for Yourself, Take Your Time, Suffer Successfully, Express Your Emotions, Be a Good Friend, Open Your Eyes, Be Happy in Love and Put Books Down are each a combination of quotes from Proust's work, biographical information and tongue-in-cheek advice. Naturally, some passages and chapters resonate more than others, but all in all, it's a great read for teens to old folks. Who knew Proust was so ahead of his time when it comes to mindfulness!
Date published: 2017-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My go-to gift book Breezy, insightful, witty, and peppered with details that anyone can enjoy, whether or not you've read In Search of Lost Time (or any of Proust). De Botton crafts a swift pace through his narrative of ideas that left me rereading and bookmarking pages.
Date published: 2017-09-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wise Another wise, insightful book from de Botton
Date published: 2017-02-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting #plumreview A funny and insightful companion piece for anyone who has made their way through all of In Search of Lost Time.
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intelligent & funny An interesting angle to life through a miserable man, intelligent and humorous.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant It is hard to find an apt compliment for this excellent book. It is possible to read it in a weekend, on a beach or in the garden, yet the wisdom it contains will last a lifetime. As it examines peculiarites of Proust's life and character, as well as his famous novel "In Search of Lost Time",De Botton distills the message contained in the seven volumes to provide valuable advice on friendship, love and ultimately how to live a better life. Ulike self help books, "How Proust Can Change your Life" does not ask you to make lists of things to do or change your personality. It does not tell you to buy new clothes or issue step by step instructions on how to artificially seem friendlier or more ambitious. In this book you will not find current buzzwords like 'proactive', 'multitask', 'lifestyle' or even 'successful'. It will not tell you how to become rich. It merely asks you to examine and think about your life so that you may understand yourself better. It also shows how paying attention to minor details is the key to appreciating others, ourselves and the world. It is simply an excellent book. Unfortunately, too few will read it, but those few will have an rare privilege.
Date published: 2000-09-13

Read from the Book

Following is an excerpt from Chapter 8, "How to be Happy in Love":Q: Did Proust have any relevant thoughts on dating? What should one talk about on a first date? A: Advice is scant. A more fundamental doubt is whether one should accept dinner in the first place.There is no doubt that a person's charms are less frequently a cause of love than a remark such as: "No, this evening I shan't be free."If this response proves bewitching, it is because of the connection made...between appreciation and absence. Though a person may be filled with attributes, an incentive is nevertheless required to ensure that a seducer will focus wholeheartedly on these, an incentive which finds perfect form ina dinner rebuff.Q: Was he against sex before marriage?A: No, just before love. And not for any starchy reasons, simply because he felt it wasn't a good idea to sleep together when encouraging someone to fall in love was a consideration.Women who are to some extent resistant, whom one cannot possess at once, whom one does not even know at first whether one will ever possess, are the only interesting ones.Q: Surely not?A: Other women may of course be fascinating, the problem is that they risk not seeming so...Q: Are there any secrets to long-lasting relationships?A: Infidelity. Not the act itself, but the threat of it. For Proust, an injection of jealousy is the only thing capable of rescuing a relationship ruined by habit...The threat of losing their partnermay lead them to realize that they have not appreciated this person adequately...If someone threatens the relationship, they get jealous, wake up for a moment, have another kiss with the horny tusk, and get bored once more. Condensed into a male heterosexual version, the situation runslike this:Afraid of losing her, we forget all the others. Sure of keeping her, we compare her with the those others whom at once we prefer to her.

From Our Editors

"A self-help manual for the intelligent person" ("The New York Times Book Review"), this stylish, erudite, and frequently hilarious book dips deeply into Marcel Proust's life and work to uncover a font of wonderful advice on such subjects as cultivating friendships, suffering successfully, and recognizing love