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0457 | How Proust can Change your Life | Alain de Botton

0457 | How Proust can Change your Life | Alain de Botton

Context: Made the most of the summer weather to take some evening swims while reading this.

As I’m tackling Proust’s mammoth In Search of Lost Time (ISOLT) this year (and currently over the halfway mark yeah!), when I saw this in a charity shop, I just had to get it, didn’t I? It definitely helped me appreciate the complexity of the writing that I was reading.

For those of you who don’t know, de Botton is a philosopher who has written a whole series of thoughts on a wide variety of subjects. If you want someone to take tough stuff and break it down for you, to kind of prechew your philosophical food for you, he’s your man. And so it was helpful to have him as a guide not only to ISOLT but also to the man himself.

The book is divided into chapters such as How to Read for Yourself or How to Suffer Successfully and, for each, de Botton shows us how both Proust himself and his writing present us with lessons to learn from as we seek to make our lives more fulfilled.

I found these lessons fairly insightful although a couple (such as the ability to open your eyes and appreciate the beauty and detail of what is around you) were probably obvious to anyone who actually wants to read Proust in the first place. On the whole, worth a read, but not, despite the title, life changing!


There are few things humans are more dedicated to than unhappiness.


In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what, without his book, he would perhaps never have experienced in himself. And the recognition by the reader in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its veracity. – Proust a genuine homage to Proust would be to look at our world through his eyes, not look at his world through our eyes.


This might reveal the ending. If you want to see the quote, click show

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