Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
June 04, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Status Anxiety

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Alain de Botton
publisher
Pantheon
genre
Self-Help and Psychology, Nonfiction, Philosophy and Religion

We gave it a B-

In his thoughtful, beautifully rendered 1993 novel On Love, de Botton structured the most unwieldy of subjects — passion and the end of an affair — as a quasi-academic dissertation. With Anxiety, de Botton takes a similar approach, exploring both humans’ eternal doubt of self-worth as well as possible palliative measures through art, philosophy, and religion. De Botton incorporates a vast amount of knowledge into his thesis, but this does ultimately read like a thesis, better suited to a graduate student’s syllabus than to an armchair reader.

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