Notable alumni: Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton

 

Philosopher and author

Alain de Botton (MA Philosophical Studies, 1992) gained a master’s in Philosophy from King’s before becoming a novelist and non-fiction writer. His best sellers include Essays in Love, How Proust Can Change Your Life, Status Anxiety and The Architecture of Happiness.

Born in Switzerland, Alain moved to the UK to attend secondary school at the age of 12. He read History at Cambridge before completing an MPhil in Philosophy at King’s, graduating in 1992. His first novel, Essays in Love, was published the following year and dealt with the process of falling in and out of love. The novel went on to sell over two million copies around the world and was adapted into the film My Last Five Girlfriends in 2010.

Alain has spent much of his career writing popular non-fiction books on a wide variety of subjects, from Marcel Proust to modern architecture. His work is always characterised by an emphasis on finding practical applications for the way we live now.

Alain has also produced and presented a number of television and radio documentaries based on his ideas. The School of Life, founded by Alain in 2008, is an education project with branches around the world. It offers a variety of programmes and services that seek to apply lessons from psychology, philosophy and culture to everyday life.

Did you know? Alain once spent a week as writer in residence at Heathrow Airport. His observations of the comings and goings of passengers over a week in Terminal 5 was turned into a book, A Week at the Airport.