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Summary

In his extraordinary new book, Alain de Botton explores the importance of buildings in our lives, pondering our attachment to our homes and considering such questions as: Why do people disagree about taste? Can beautiful surroundings make us good? Not to mention: What makes a window frame attractive?

Rooted in the idea that architecture has the power to influence how we feel and that we are different people in different buildings, he suggests how we might learn to build better, more attractive dwellings, in which we could stand a higher chance of happiness.

©2006 Alain de Botton (P)2006 Penguin Books Ltd.

What listeners say about The Architecture of Happiness

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A bit washy.

Beautifully narrated but I had hoped for more references and case studies. It all felt too vague albeit poetic.

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Promising start, shallow end

I expected more profound conclusions starting this book, than it eventually gives. The book fails to go in depth too much.

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Brilliant.

I love the way the author writes, I can feel his words and see the images of the things he writes about. It’s very a sensible and rich writing. I will probably listen to it a few more times, as it feels as though he entered my subconscious, organized by thoughts and translated them into words in a book, brilliant. I’d name it: The search of happiness through the beauty of architecture.

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book is about architecture and history

Briefly goes into theme of history culture beauty and it's relation to architecture.
The book is about how different architecture makes different people happy.
very worthwhile read🙂

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Quite Disappointing

Button's writing here is crippled by his incessant attempts to sound as though he's contributing a tome of great worth to architectural academia. Where in actual fact his prose are at their best when he uses more pedestrian vocabulary, and attempts to evoke the universal in mundanity. The book lacks substance and structure, more of an introduction to thinking about architecture, for those who would like to impress their friends at dinner parties by spouting a few choice terms and broad generalisations which Botton himself is kind enough to elucidate here. Quite disappointing. Wouldn't bother if I were you.

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  • Sorin Anton
  • 11-02-20

Misleading title

I bought the book because I enjoyed some talks by the author. I expected the book to deconstruct happiness into building blocks and suggest how to use this knowledge to architect a more fulfilling/meaningful/happy life.

Instead it's actually (at least the first chapter that I managed to listen, which is a third of the book) only about how architecture of buildings influences our perception and emotions and how it communicates to us.

While the topic is interesting and well documented, the title is misleading.

It is a waste of time if you are looking for what the title says.

The title should've been "Architecture speaks" or "Architecture and emotions" or at least "Architecture and happiness".

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  • Isabelle A.
  • 15-01-21

A great "read"...

At first I thought it was one of those self help books on happiness, which is not what I was after.
I'm so glad I took the leap based on a friend's suggestion.
It's a truly fabulous "read" which answered many of my questions on art, photography, painting, beauty and well being in general.
It's also a mine of knowledge.
Merci very much Mister de Botton.