Monday 28 March 2022

The School of Life: An Emotional Education

Finished March 15
The School of Life: An Emotional Education, by The School of Life, introduced by Alain de Botton

This book is a culmination of years of research from The School of Life, which de Botton founded. The aim of the book is "to equip people with the tools to survive and thrive in the modern world." It believes the most important tool is emotional intelligence. 
The book is divided into five sections: Self, Others, Relationships, Work, and Culture. Each one of those sections is also divided.
The introduction was quite interesting, giving some background to the research that went into the book, the patterns of the past and how they became part of the culture of western civilization, and how emotional intelligence can help reset some of those habits to healthier ones. 
For the section on Self, discussions include self-knowledge, awareness of our past and how that influences us, and different therapies that we might experience to become more mentally healthy.
For the section on Others, topics include kindness, charm, and calm. In Relationships, the discussions are getting together, the importance of sex, and dealing with problems.
In Work, which is a shorter section without larger subdivisions, the considerations are: the dangers of the good child, confidence and the inner idiot, imposter syndrome, fame, specialization, artists and supermarket tycoons, consumer society, Maslow's hierarchy, advertising, and artistic sympathy.
Culture looked at romantic versus classical personalities, a very interesting discussion on the concept of value, imperfectionism, the concept of "good enough", and the ideas of gratitude and wisdom.
This is a book that hit home in some ways, that had me skeptical of some ideas, and that made me reflect on larger ideas and concepts. A very interesting read. 

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