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Publisher's Summary

The Architecture of Happiness is a dazzling journey through the philosophy and psychology of architecture and the indelible connection between our identities and our locations.

One of the great, but often unmentioned, causes of both happiness and misery is the quality of our environment: the kinds of chairs, walls, buildings, and streets that surround us. And yet, a concern for architecture is too often described as frivolous, even self-indulgent. Alain de Botton starts from the idea that where we are heavily influences who we can be, and argues that it is architecture's task to stand as an eloquent reminder of our full potential.

©2006 Alain de Botton (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"De Botton has a marvelous knack for coming at weighty subjects from entertainingly eccentric angles." ( Seattle Times)
"With originality, verve, and wit, de Botton explains how we find reflections of our own values in the edifices we make....Altogether satisfying." ( San Francisco Chronicle)
"Entertaining and stimulating....The strength of his book is that it encourages us to open our eyes and really look at the buildings in which we live and work." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Architecture of Happiness

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LOVED it!

If you could sum up The Architecture of Happiness in three words, what would they be?

Verbalizes the difficult to articulate feelings that one experiences when experiencing a man-made place.

What did you like best about this story?

It's an unusual and difficult to tackle area. Nebulous. But the author has gotten the lightning into the bottle, as they say.

What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Vance brings to the material the character of a like-able and effusive aesthete and bon-vivant. The perfect voice for the elevated and of the moment ideas in the book.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The impossible book to capture on film has been made.

3 people found this helpful

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Valuable Book

Beautiful writing that offers thoughtful commentary on the biases and aspirations that shape our built environment.

3 people found this helpful

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Many elegant words used for a simple topic.

Let me save you a few hours: Architecture is an extension of the human psyche. All laws, rules, observations, & insinuations applied to the conscious & subconscious human mind can be observed within the structural art known as architecture. However, if you enjoy overthinking this subject & wish to get into the mind of this author, this book is for you. To each his own.

5 people found this helpful

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Wonderful book

Alian de Botton is a great writer and this work demonstrates that beautifully. If you're at all interested in this book or aesthetic philosophy it is a must have for you. Also be sure to check out Alian's YouTube channel "The School of Life)

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting but not satisfying

The narrator was good. The book was observations with little thesis. The observations were interesting, but clinical. I was searching for a perspective, but there was none. Perhaps the author should have narrowed his subject matter to one city or architectural style.

1 person found this helpful

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The Architecture of Happiness

An in-depth study of how architecture has influenced who we are. The psychological effect of style and form.
Simon Vance will always be one of my favorite readers. His classic, even-keeled and well pronunciated voice is a must for any book.
De Botton books always keep me interested and informed, even if they drone a bit (this one does slightly).
Overall a fine book.

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Simply wow.

One of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. Alain never ceases to be one of the most compelling thinkers of our time, and I am forever moved and changed by this writing.

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Rambling Mess

You would think, after listening to this book that I would know how the author defines “architecture of happiness”, and would know the key components and tools for architecture to encourage happiness. This book fails on both counts. It’s a rambling mess of intellectual thoughts on architecture from another person desperate to justify the role of architecture. No wonder the field is in crisis.

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Philosophical approach to architecture

Only thing missing was video or pictures to illuminate this very deep philosophical presentation. But philosophy does not use pictures but concepts and experiences.
Worth listening more than once and plumbing the deep ideas expressed.

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An amazing perspective on preserving SELF!

I cannot rave enough about this short book. An incredibly novel take on architecture, and a profound look at how we build, reinforce, and preserve our self identity through our “homes”. For anyone who is regularly afflicted with “losing ones self”, this is an absolute must read.