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The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work: Alain de Botton in conversation with Paul Holdengräber

June 8, 2009

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We spend much of our lives at work but surprisingly little is written about what makes work both one of the most exciting and most painful of all our activities.

London-based author Alain de Botton explores the joys and perils of the modern workplace. In The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, he wonders about what other people get up to all day and night to make the frenzied contemporary world function. He looks at an eclectic range of occupations, from rocket science to biscuit manufacture, accountancy to art, in search of what make jobs either fulfilling or soul-destroying.

In discussion with Paul Holdengräber, de Botton will address the questions we all ask of our work:

  • What is the right job for me?
  • How can I make the most of my talents?
  • What if my job ceases to exist?

The discussion investigates work activity as central to a good life as love but which we often find remarkably hard to reflect on properly.

About Alain de Botton
Alain de Botton is the author of seven non-fiction books, including How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Architecture of Happiness, andThe Art of Travel. He lives in London, where he co-founded The School of Life (www.theschooloflife). More about Alain de Botton can be found on his website:





About Paul Holdengräber
Paul is the Director of Public Programs—known as "LIVE from the NYPL"—for The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library.