2009-10-14

Career Anxiety

Open societies say anyone can achieve any goal. This credo implies a corresponding negative: anyone at the bottom of society deserves to be there.

Alain de Botton notes the profound shift that has occurred when cultures that once spoke of 'unfortunates' now speak of 'losers.' In a talk recorded on video, he proposes a kinder, gentler philosophy of success that makes room for the complex universe all of us actually navigate.

Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all.

(Ecclesiastes 9.11 NRSV)


De Botton is the author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, Status Anxiety, The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel and The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. Last year he helped launch the School of Life in London.

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Conductor's Notebook

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