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An Animated Introduction to Friedrich Nietzsche’s Life & Thought

There’s no shame if you’ve never known how to pronounce Friedrich Nietzsche’s name correctly. Even less if you never remember how to spell it. If these happen to be the case, you may be less than familiar with his philosophy. Let Alain de Botton’s animated School of Life video briefly introduce you, and you’ll never forget how to say it: “Knee Cha.” (As for remembering the spelling, you’re on your own.) You’ll also get a short biography of the disgruntled, dyspeptic German philosophe...
Tags: Google, College, Nazis, Philosophy, Alain De Botton, Elizabeth, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Friedrich Nietzsche, University of Basel, Nietzsche, Babich, de Botton, Durham NC Follow, Dionysus, Arthur Schopenhauer Richard


The Causes & Prevalence of Suicide Explained by Two Videos from Alain de Botton’s School of Life

“Suicide,” writes Albert Camus in “The Myth of Sisyphus,” has never been dealt with except as a social phenomenon.” And yet, as Alain de Botton argues in his School of Life video above, at least when it comes to media and government priorities, contemporary societies prefer to hardly deal with the problem at all, even though it claims the lives of some 800,000 people every year. “It remains entirely strange,” says De Botton, “that through the media we should hear so much about killers an...
Tags: Google, South Korea, College, Life, China, United States, Stephen Fry, Philosophy, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Albert Camus, Kuwait, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, de Botton, Schopenhauer


An Animated Introduction to Epicurus and His Answer to the Ancient Question: What Makes Us Happy?

These days the word Epicurean tends to get thrown around in regard to things like olive oil, cutting boards, and wine aerators. The real Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher of the third and fourth century BCE, might not have approved, knowing as he did that happiness doesn't come from products that signal one's appreciation of high-end comestibles. But where, then, does happiness come from? Epicurus devoted his school of philosophy to finding an answer to that ancient question, and th...
Tags: Google, College, Life, Philosophy, Johnson, Albert Camus, Seoul, Alain De Botton, University Of California San Diego, Facebook Twitter, Williams Sonoma, BCE, de Botton, Colin Marshall, Nietzsche Socrates, 21st Century Los Angeles


If It’s Important, Learn It Repeatedly

A little more than a year ago, a friend took me for lunch in downtown Toronto, and we talked mostly about what we’d been reading. Immediately afterward she marched me to a nearby bookstore and insisted I buy Cal Newport’s Deep Work. She was the second person that week to describe it to me as potentially life-changing, so I bought it with great enthusiasm. Later that day, I sat reading it in a tea shop for two hours, riveted by the possibilities of working in the uncompromising, undistracted way...
Tags: Uncategorized, Toronto, Islam, Lifehacks, Ecuador, Alain De Botton, Cal Newport, Newport, Julia Cameron, Steven Covey, de Botton, Ben White, Deep Work, Tao Te Ching the Dhammapada


An Animated Introduction to Friedrich Nietzsche’s Philosophical Recipe for Getting Over the Sources of Regret, Disappointment and Suffering in Our Lives

The idea of acceptance has found much, well… acceptance in our therapeutic culture, by way of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief, 12-step programs, the wave of secular mindfulness practices, the body-acceptance movement, etc. All of these interventions into depressed, bereaved, guilt-ridden, and/or anxious states of mind have their own aims and methods, which sometimes overlap, sometimes do not. But what they all share, perhaps, for all the struggle involved, is a general sense ...
Tags: Google, College, Philosophy, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Friedrich Nietzsche, Elisabeth Kübler Ross, Nietzsche, Leiden University, de Botton, Durham NC Follow, Download Nietzsche, Major Works


A Short Animated Introduction to Karl Marx

Is Karl Marx’s critique of capitalism still relevant to the 21st century? Can we ever read him independently of the movements that violently seized state power in his name, claiming to represent the workers through the sole will of the Party? These are questions Marxists must confront, as must all serious defenders of capitalism, who cannot afford to ignore Marx. He understood and articulated the problems of political economy better than any theorist of his day and posed a formidable int...
Tags: Google, Politics, College, Economics, Bbc, Karl Marx, Party, Alain De Botton, Marx, Facebook Twitter, Harvey, Josh Jones, David Harvey, de Botton, Durham NC Follow, Das Kapital


An Animated Introduction to Michel de Montaigne

Considered the first great humanist essayist, Michel de Montaigne was also the first to use the word “essay” for the casual, often meandering, frequently first-person explorations that now constitute the most prevalent literary form of our day. "Anyone who sets out to write an essay,” notes Anthony Gottlieb in The New York Times, “for a school or college class,” a magazine, newspaper, Tumblr, or otherwise, “owes something” to Montaigne, the French “magistrate and landowner near Bordeaux ...
Tags: Google, College, New York Times, Philosophy, Bordeaux, Alain De Botton, Montaigne, Facebook Twitter, Foucault, Cicero, Michel de Montaigne, Josh Jones, Gottlieb, Kierkegaard, Kant, de Botton


Why Should We Read Virginia Woolf? A TED-Ed Animation Makes the Case

Virginia Woolf dissuaded readers from playing the critic in her essay “How Should One Read a Book?” But in addition to her novels, she is best known for her literary criticism and became a foundational figure in feminist literary theory for her imaginative polemic “A Room of One’s Own,” an essay that takes traditional criticism to task for its presumptions of male literary superiority. Women writers like herself, she argues, had always been a privileged few with the means and the freedom...
Tags: Google, College, Virginia, Oxford, Cambridge, Literature, Jane Austen, Gillespie, Patti Smith, Shakespeare, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Alain De Botton, Mozart, Facebook Twitter, Milton


An Animated Introduction to Economist John Maynard Keynes

If you know anything about modern economic theory, you’ve learned the names Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes—generally pitted against each other as representing the divide down the center in Western political economy. While more radical thinkers like F.A. Hayek and, of course, Marx and Engels, hold sway over a significant part of the population, when it comes to the entrenched two-party system in the U.S. and so-called moderate Democratic and Republican politicians, we can handily...
Tags: Google, College, Economics, Bbc, Britain, Cambridge, World Bank, Virginia Woolf, Imf, Alain De Botton, Marx, Facebook Twitter, John Maynard Keynes, Friedman, Hayek, Josh Jones


A Short, Animated Introduction to Emil Cioran, the “Philosopher of Despair”

It is admittedly a gross oversimplification, but if asked to summarize a critical difference between analytical Anglo-American philosophers and so-called “Continentals," one might broadly say that the former approach philosophy as thinking, the latter as writing. Contrast, for example, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Bertrand Russell—none of whom are especially known as prose stylists—with Michel de Montaigne, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, or Albert Camus. While the Englishmen struck out into h...
Tags: Google, College, New York Times, Philosophy, Albert Camus, Continental, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Greek Orthodox, Bertrand Russell, de Botton, Durham NC Follow, Arthur Schopenhauer, Cioran, LA ROCHEFOUCAULD


Here's What Your Hairstyle May Say About Your Personality

You can infer quite a bit about a person by how they dress and groom themselves. So naturally, your personal choices in hair care say a lot about how you want others to perceive you, according to author and philosophy enthusiast Alain de Botton. Hairstyling is a way to express key elements of who we are, de Botton argues in the recent video above from The School of Life. His “dictionary of hair” breaks down what he’s pegged as the implicit meanings behind various styles, from slicked-back ponyt...
Tags: News, Huffington Post, Suzy Strutner, de Botton, The School of Life, Alain de Botton Hairstyling


An Animated Introduction to Samuel Beckett, Absurdist Playwright, Novelist & Poet

Though he’s best known for his spare, absurdist tragicomedy, Waiting for Godot, playwright, poet, and novelist Samuel Beckett wrote what might be his most-quoted line at the end of The Unnamable, the third book in a hypnotic trilogy that begins with Molloy and continues with Malone Dies: “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” These novels, and the original Godot, were all written in French, then translated into English by Beckett himself. But Beckett was an Irish writer, who—like his contemporary,...
Tags: Google, College, New York Times, Literature, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Alain De Botton, Molloy, Marcel Proust, Facebook Twitter, Beckett, Malone, de Botton, Durham NC Follow, Daughter Lucia Was Treated for Schizophrenia, Joyce Beckett


Sorry, But You Can't 'Just Be Friends With An Ex.' Here's Why.

It’s a standard line delivered after a breakup: “Can we still be friends?”  Sometimes the question is just a courtesy, a toss-away line thrown out to lessen the blow of the breakup. Other times though, we really mean it; we want to keep the non-romantic side of the relationship alive because we still deeply care about the other person.  It’s a noble endeavor, but as British philosopher Alain de Botton points out in a new illustrated School of Life video, it rarely works out. (It sure doesn’t pa...
Tags: News, Pixar, Huffington Post, Alain De Botton, Brittany Wong, School of Life, de Botton


Watch Animated Introductions to 13 Classic Authors: Kafka, Austen, Dostoevsky, Dickens & Many More

Popular independent philosopher Alain de Botton has been providing mini-introductions to academic subjects for several years now through his School of Life. These take the form of animated précis of the life and work of a handful of prominent authors who might be considered representative, if not essential, to the discipline. In philosophy, we have such indispensable figures as Plato, Rene Descartes, and Immanuel Kant. In political theory, we have Adam Smith, John Rawls, Karl Marx. Where...
Tags: Google, College, Animation, Literature, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Toni Morrison, Leo Tolstoy, Dante, Alain De Botton, Cervantes, Facebook Twitter, Foucault, Josh Jones, Junot Diaz, School of Life


An Animated Introduction to Arthur Schopenhauer and How We Can Achieve Happiness Through Art & Philosophy

For many years, as we wrote in a recent post, Friedrich Nietzsche has been misunderstood as a philosophical nihilist and even a proto-Nazi. This is unfortunate, given all Nietzsche has to say about living courageously in the face of nihilism and proto-Nazism, both of which he feared and hated. But if we’re looking for a philosopher who espoused few, if any, positive values, who saw the entire world as empty and malevolent, and who had little sympathy for his fellow man, we could inst...
Tags: Google, Europe, College, Philosophy, Alain De Botton, Buddha, Werner Herzog, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Friedrich Nietzsche, Suzuki, Nietzsche, Rene Descartes, Mahayana, de Botton, Schopenhauer


Alain de Botton's Ten Virtues of the Modern Age

History dating back to ancient times includes an interest in learning about and practicing virtues. American polymath Ben Franklin was a more modern example of a desire to be more virtuous. It seems we're living as the first generations who have zero public interest in the topic.  “In the modern world, the idea of trying to be a ‘good person’ conjures up all sorts of negative associations—of piety, solemnity, bloodlessness and sexual renunciation—as if goodness were something one would try to...
Tags: Marketing, America, Ben Franklin, Alain De Botton, Aristotle, Charley, John Steinbeck, de Botton, Valeria Maltoni, Politeness Politeness


Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: An Animated Introduction to the Most Insightful Study of American Democracy

We cannot rightly see ourselves without honest feedback. Those who surround themselves with sycophants and people just like them only hear what they want to hear, and never get an accurate sense of their capabilities and shortcomings. And so the best feedback often comes from people outside our in-groups. This can be as true of nations as it can be of individuals, provided our critics are charitable, even when unsparingly honest, and that they take a genuine interest in our well-bein...
Tags: Google, Europe, Politics, College, America, United States, Philosophy, Jackson, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Andrew Jackson, American Democracy, Josh Jones, School of Life, Alexis de Tocqueville, De Tocqueville


A Convincing Argument For Why Flirts Are The Best Kind Of People

People who flirt aimlessly tend to get a bad rap. After all, if you have no intention of pursuing someone, what’s the point of pouring on the charm?  Flirting does serve a purpose, though, says philosopher Alain de Botton, and believe it or not, it’s a noble one.  “At its best, flirting can be a vital social process that generously lends us reassurance. Flirting freely redistributes confidence and self-esteem,” the author says in a new video from his  School of Life  series. “Good flirting,...
Tags: News, Huffington Post, Alain De Botton, Brittany Wong, de Botton


An Animated Introduction to Voltaire: Enlightenment Philosopher of Pluralism & Tolerance

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz has the distinction of holding prominent places in both mathematics and philosophy. A contemporary of Isaac Newton, a rival, and Baruch Spinoza, an acquaintance, Leibniz will forever be associated with Enlightenment Rationalism. But thanks to French philosopher and writer Voltaire, he will also be associated with a strain of thought generally taken much less seriously: the philosophy of Optimism. In the Theodicy, the only philosophical book he published in his l...
Tags: Google, Europe, England, College, Americas, Animation, Philosophy, Isaac Newton, Newton, Lisbon, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Locke, Voltaire, Baruch Spinoza, Leibniz


Why Socrates Hated Democracies: An Animated Case for Why Self-Government Requires Wisdom & Education

How often have you heard the quote in one form or another? “Democracy is the worst form of Government,” said Winston Churchill in 1947, “except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time….” The sentiment expresses two cultural values many Americans are trained to hold uncritically: the primacy of democracy and the burdensomeness of government as a necessary evil. In his new book Toward Democracy, Harvard historian James T. Kloppenberg argues that these ideas arose f...
Tags: Google, Politics, College, West, United States, Winston Churchill, Philosophy, Republic, Alain De Botton, Kirkus, Facebook Twitter, Plato, Socrates, Josh Jones, Nietzsche, Kant


An Animated Introduction to George Orwell

When his short and (by his own account) often miserable life came to an end in 1950, could the English political writer Eric Arthur Blair have known that he would not just become a household name, but remain one well over half a century later? Given his adoption of the memorable nom de plume George Orwell, we might say he had an inkling of his literary legacy’s potential. Still, he claimed to choose it for no grander reason than that it sounded like “a good round English name,” and would...
Tags: Google, London, College, Los Angeles, History, Bbc, George Orwell, Paris, Literature, Charles Dickens, Seoul, Orwell, Facebook Twitter, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Road, Wigan Pier


An Animated Introduction to George Orwell: How He Went from Obscure Political Writer to Household Name

When his short and (by his own account) often miserable life came to an end in 1950, could the English political writer Eric Arthur Blair have known that he would not just become a household name, but remain one well over half a century later? Given his adoption of the memorable nom de plume George Orwell, we might say he had an inkling of his literary legacy’s potential. Still, he claimed to choose it for no grander reason than that it sounded like “a good round English name,” and would...
Tags: Google, London, College, Los Angeles, History, Bbc, George Orwell, Paris, Literature, Charles Dickens, Seoul, Orwell, Facebook Twitter, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Road, Wigan Pier


An Animated, Monty Python-Style Introduction to the Søren Kierkegaard, the First Existentialist

When first I visited Copenhagen, I went over, as many tourists do, to the Assistens Cemetery to find the grave of Søren Kierkegaard. But for all of us who know the name of that 19th-century Danish philosopher, how many can claim even an acquaintance with the ideas that made his into a near-household name? The introductory video from Alain de Botton’s School of Life just above gets us started on forming that acquaintance with this “brilliant, gloomy, anxiety-ridden, often hilarious” think...
Tags: Google, College, Los Angeles, Bbc, Philosophy, God, Copenhagen, Seoul, Facebook Twitter, Los Angeles Review of Books, Jean Paul Sartre, Kierkegaard, de Botton, Colin Marshall


The Advice Every Couple In A Sexless Marriage Needs To Hear

It’s incredibly painful when the person you love doesn’t want to be intimate with you. Luckily, there are steps you can take to change that. In a new animated video from The School of Life, acclaimed philosopher Alain de Botton explains how therapy helped one couple fix their strained, sexless relationship. It’s a must-watch for couples who feel more like roommates than romantic partners. As de Botton tells it, real-life couple Johnny and Rachel began to get into overblown arguments two years i...
Tags: News, Huffington Post, Alain De Botton, Brittany Wong, Rachel, Johnny, de Botton


An Animated Introduction to French Philosopher Jacques Derrida

Since the bold arrival of his book Of Grammatology in 1967, French philosopher Jacques Derrida has been understood—or misunderstood—as many things: a radical relativist who ”rejects all of metaphysical history,” a fashionable intellectual playing language games, a brilliant phenomenologist of language…. One association he vehemently rejected was with the kind of ironic, laissez faire postmodernism represented by Seinfeld. But when it came to clarifying his work for puzzled readers and on...
Tags: Google, College, Paris, Philosophy, Ornette Coleman, Algeria, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Williams College, School of Life, Jacques Derrida, Derrida, Judaism Christianity and Islam, de Botton, Durham NC Follow


An Animated Introduction to the Life & Literary Works of Charles Dickens

The social role of the writer changes from generation to generation, but at no time in the history of literary culture have novelists and poets faced more competition for the attention of their readers than they do today. Before visual media took over as the primary means of storytelling, however, many writers enjoyed the measure of fame now given to film and pop music stars. Or at least they did in the age of Charles Dickens, whose tireless self-promotion and populist sentiments endeare...
Tags: Google, College, Animation, Literature, Charles Dickens, Kerouac, Oscar Wilde, Dante, Alain De Botton, Dickens, Facebook Twitter, Milton, Josh Jones, School of Life, Upton Sinclair, Auden


How To Get Over Rejection (And Your Ex) In 3 Minutes

When your partner leaves you, getting over the heartbreak can feel like an impossible task.  What you may need to process the pain is a change in perspective, philosopher Alain de Botton says in a new illustrated video from The School of Life.  "Don't attempt to minimize what's happened," he says. "Being brave has no place here. Allow your sadness so much room, so much time, so many melancholic songs, hot baths and indulgent meals, you eventually bore yourself back into an appetite for life."  ...
Tags: News, Huffington Post, Alain De Botton, Brittany Wong, de Botton


Life Lessons From a Rock Star... And Finding Your Magic.

I could hardly believe my eyes. "What? What? What?" This was my reaction as I came across the video below on my YouTube feed. In one corner of my life, I am obsessed with the work, thinking and writing of Alain de Botton. His books, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, The Architecture of Happiness, Status Anxiety and every other one he has written are core to lot of how my thinking has evolved (and this includes both the topics that I choose to study, write and speak about). It's deep. It's not l...
Tags: Work, School, England, Education, Youtube, Marketing, Book, Brand, Author, Creativity, Culture, Philosophy, Writer, Artist, Peter, Peter Gabriel


The School of Life: An Interview With Alain de Botton

The author of "How Proust Can Change Your Life" tells it like it is Alain de Botton is one of my favorite living writers. Best known for brilliant, genre-rattling books that include How Proust Can Change Your Life, Essays in Love, Status Anxiety, and most recently How To Think More About Sex, the Swiss-British philosopher, television presenter, public intellectual, and entrepreneur has made a career out of smuggling high-minded topics onto bestseller lists as way of getting "ideas to impact on t...
Tags: UK, London, News, US, David, Atlantic, United States, Oxford, Cambridge, Switzerland, Jewish, Huffington Post, Zurich, Alain De Botton, King s College, GEIST


Watch Animated Introductions to 25 Philosophers by The School of Life: From Plato to Kant and Foucault

Philosophy as an academic subject is regularly maligned in popular discourse. Philosophy majors get told that their studies are useless. Philosophy professors find their budgets cut, their courses scrutinized, and their character grossly impeached in propagandistic religious feature films. It’s enough to make one despair over the turgid air of anti-intellectualism that stifles conversation. But before we start pining for bygone golden ages of rigorous critical thought, let us remember that p...
Tags: Google, College, Philosophy, Alain De Botton, Facebook Twitter, Plato, Foucault, Socrates, Josh Jones, School of Life, Baruch Spinoza, Immanuel Kant, Rene Descartes, Kant, DOXA, de Botton