The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work – Alain de Botton

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work came right into my hands when I was thinking about returning to work. I found something very different and much better than what I was looking for in the book. Alain de Botton never ceases to amaze me.


The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work does not contain information on whether work gives happiness to us or not. Alain de Botton is not that kind of person in any of his books. I know that for a long time. But I wanted him to tell me whether I should go back to work or not. I wanted to hear him say it for me because I have been questioning this complicated situation for a long time.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work - Alain de Botton

Instead, I found ten chapters of fascinating and very unusual stories of different professions. While I was reading all the professions described in these ten sections with great admiration, I had the opportunity to think a lot about working. I also thought in the light of a “working life” that I had never experienced or seen before. Therefore, the book has been much more beneficial than books about working and ‘killing it’.

Apart from that, I thought about what an exquisite profession flow engineering is and why a person can love pylons so much. At the same time, I thought I spent money on the wrong things when I read what a painter has endured and done to paint a tree as he wants. The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work will change your thoughts about working and also your view of the world through various professions.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

Why do so many of us love or hate our work? How has it come to dominate our lives? And what should we do about it?

Work makes us. Without it we are at a loss; in work we hope to have a measure of control over our lives. Yet for many of us, work is a straitjacket from which we cannot free ourselves.

Criss-crossing the world to visit workplaces and workers both ordinary and extraordinary, and drawing on the wit and wisdom of great artists, writers and thinkers, Alain de Botton here explores our love-hate relationship with our jobs. He poses and answers little and big questions: from what should I do with my life? to what will I have achieved when I retire?

The Pleasure and Sorrows of Work explains why it is we do what we do all day, and applies sympathy, humour and insight to helping us make the most of it.

Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton, FRSL is a Swiss-born British philosopher and author. His books discuss various contemporary subjects and themes, emphasizing philosophy’s relevance to everyday life. He published Essays in Love, which went on to sell two million copies.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

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