• The Architecture of Happiness

  • By: Alain de Botton
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (421 ratings)

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The Architecture of Happiness  By  cover art

The Architecture of Happiness

By: Alain de Botton
Narrated by: Simon Vance
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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

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

a bit pompous

Would you try another book from Alain de Botton and/or Simon Vance?

no

What could Alain de Botton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

the theories are of interest to me, but it is hard to wade through the pompous language

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Simon Vance?

Karen Savage

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

annoyment

Any additional comments?

Was hoping that listening to the book would help me get through the over-the-top language, but the awful and pretentious reading discouraged that

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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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Enjoyed but narrator difficult to listen to.

I enjoyed the book and loved the subject matter/the author's insights but I found Simon Vance's heavy intellectual voice distracting and difficult to listen to. I would have preferred a different narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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What Happened Here?

I have been a fan of Allen’s like think he has much to say.

However, this book is fluff I was on able to stay with it at all though I am a fan of architecture and of Allen’s message normally.

It may be that I am no patrician so you may wanna take a risk if your family has a trust fund for PBS

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Excellent If You Have Insomnia!

Highly educational and occasionally interesting and insightful. Incredibly helpful when I needed to fall asleep. Definitely recommend!

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worth the effort

Interesting and unexpected, definitely will look at buildings from a different perspective from now on