70 Alain de Botton Quotes (On life, Happiness, Success)

By Maxime Lagacé

Maxime is the founder of WisdomQuotes. He has been collecting quotes since 2004. His goal? To help you develop a calm and peaceful mind. Learn more about him on his about page.

Top 10 QuotesLife QuotesHappiness QuotesSuccess QuotesLove QuotesTakeaways – Further Readings

alain de botton quotes wisdom
Here are 70 of the best Alain de Botton quotes.

And you don’t want to miss them…

You’ll learn:

  • The importance of philosophy in your life
  • Why you must improve your self-knowledge and self-control
  • Why you must not take yourself too seriously
  • Why “good” can be bad for you (and “bad” can be good)

As an author and philosopher, Alain de Botton will make you think and grow.

He knows how your brain works.

Marcel Proust, Michel de Montaigne, and Seneca were his most notable influences.

That’s why some of his quotes have a stoicism flavor.

I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did!

Top 10 Alain de Botton Quotes

alain de botton quotes maturity confidence opinions wisdom

Maturity: the confidence to have no opinions on many things. Alain de Botton

Anxiety is the handmaiden of contemporary ambition. Alain de Botton

Loneliness is the tax we have to pay to atone for a certain complexity of mind. Alain de Botton

Most of our childhood is stored not in photos, but in certain biscuits, lights of day, smells, textures of carpet. Alain de Botton

If you want to turn a stranger into a friend, try telling them some of the ways in which you’ve failed. Alain de Botton

alain de botton quotes only happy realize look things wisdom

The only way to be happy is to realize how much depends on how you look at things. Alain de Botton

At the heart of every frustration lies a basic structure: the collision of a wish with an unyielding reality. Alain de Botton

What kills us isn’t one big thing, but thousands of tiny obligations we can’t turn down for fear of disappointing others. Alain de Botton

Being content is perhaps no less easy than playing the violin well: and requires no less practice. Alain de Botton

Mental health: having enough safe places in your mind for your thoughts to settle. Alain de Botton


Alain de Botton Quotes On Life

alain de botton quotes good half art living resilience wisdom

A good half of the art of living is resilience. Alain de Botton

Most of what makes a book ‘good’ is that we are reading it at the right moment for us. Alain de Botton

Travel agents would be wiser to ask us what we hope to change about our lives rather than simply where we wish to go. Alain de Botton

We are sensitized by the books we read. And the more books we read, and the deeper their lessons sink into us, the more
pairs of glasses we have. And those glasses enable us to see things we would have otherwise missed. Alain de Botton

Feeling lost, crazy and desperate belongs to a good life as much as optimism, certainty and reason. Alain de Botton

Maturity: knowing where you’re crazy, trying to warn others of the fact and striving to keep yourself under control. Alain de Botton

It takes a serious lack of imagination to have an entirely clean conscience. Alain de Botton

When you look at the Moon, you think, ‘I’m really small. What are my problems?’ It sets things into perspective. We should all look at the Moon a bit more often. Alain de Botton

alain de botton quotes such thing work life balance wisdom

There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life. Alain de Botton

There may be significant things to learn about people by looking at what annoys them most. Alain de Botton

Adulthood involves learning to conclusively bury a great many of our hopes. Alain de Botton

Laughter is an important part of a good relationship. Alain de Botton

Never too late to learn some embarrassingly basic, stupidly obvious things about oneself. Alain de Botton

It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement. Alain de Botton

The only people we can think of as normal are those we don’t yet know very well. Alain de Botton



Alain de Botton Quotes On Happiness And Misery

alain de botton quotes nothing satisfies man little wisdom

Nothing satisfies the man who is not satisfied with a little. Alain de Botton

The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to. Alain de Botton

A notorious inability to express emotions makes human beings the only animals capable of suicide. Alain de Botton

Don’t despair: despair suggests you are in total control and know what is coming. You don’t – surrender to events with hope. Alain de Botton

One of the best protections against disappointment is to have a lot going on. Alain de Botton

Every time we feel satisfied with what we have, we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess. Alain de Botton

The sole cause of a man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room. Alain de Botton

We should keep a careful diary of our moments of envy: they are our covert guides to what we should try to do next. Alain de Botton

alain de botton quotes appreciate life moments made perfect wisdom

To appreciate life’s small moments, it helps to have a sense the whole can never be made perfect. Alain de Botton

It is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic that we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things. Alain de Botton

As we write, so we build; to keep a record of what matters to us. Alain de Botton

The largest part of what we call ‘personality’ is determined by how we’ve opted to defend ourselves against anxiety and sadness. Alain de Botton

The difference between bitterness, confusion, nostalgia – and resilience is… a plan. Alain de Botton

Unhappiness can stem from having only one perspective to play with. Alain de Botton

I learnt to stop fantasising about the perfect job or the perfect relationship because that can actually be an excuse for not living. Alain de Botton

Judged against eternity, how little of what agitates us makes any difference. Alain de Botton


Alain de Botton Quotes On Success And Mindset

alain de botton quotes felt successful incentive wisdom

If one felt successful, there’d be so little incentive to be successful. Alain de Botton

People only get really interesting when they start to rattle the bars of their cages. Alain de Botton

The mind may be reluctant to think properly when thinking is all it is supposed to do; the task can be as paralysing as having to tell a joke or mimic an accent on demand. Alain de Botton

We should not feel embarrassed by our difficulties, only by our failure to grow anything beautiful from them. Alain de Botton

alain de botton quotes anyone embarrassed last year wisdom

Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough. Alain de Botton

The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts. Alain de Botton

In the gap between who we wish one day to be and who we are at present, must come pain, anxiety, envy and humiliation. Alain de Botton

Rather than struggling to become bigger fish, we might concentrate our energies on finding smaller ponds or smaller species to swim with, so our own size will trouble us less. Alain de Botton

There’s a whole category of people who miss out by not allowing themselves to be weird enough. Alain de Botton

Not everything which makes us feel better is good for us. Not everything which hurts may be bad. Alain de Botton

Failure is becoming someone who needs others to fail. Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton Quotes On Love

alain de botton quotes true love lack desire smartphone presence wisdom

True love is a lack of desire to check one’s smartphone in another’s presence. Alain de Botton

Compatibility is an achievement of love; it shouldn’t be its precondition. Alain de Botton

We mostly lose our tempers not with those who are actually to blame; but with those who love us enough to forgive us our foul moods. Alain de Botton

For paranoia about ‘what other people think’ : remember that only some hate, a very few love – and almost all just don’t care. Alain de Botton

Love is an incurable disease. In love, there is permanent suffering. Those who love and those who are happy are not the same. Alain de Botton

One of the better guarantors of ending up in a good relationship: an advanced capacity to be alone. Alain de Botton

Do you love me enough that I may be weak with you? Everyone loves strength, but do you love me for my weakness? That is the real test. Alain de Botton

The constant challenge of modern relationships: how to prove more interesting than the other’s smartphone. Alain de Botton

We are properly ready for marriage when we are strong enough to embrace a life of frustration. Alain de Botton

Some of the reason why we marry the wrong people is that we don’t really understand ourselves. Alain de Botton

Learning to give up on perfection may be just about the most romantic move any of us could make. Alain de Botton

Forgiveness requires a sense that bad behaviour is a sign of suffering rather than malice. Alain de Botton

Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone – and finding that that’s ok with them. Alain de Botton



Everyone wants a better life: very few of us want to be better people. Alain de Botton

alain de botton

Key Takeaways

  • Use philosophy. Alain tells you to read, learn, and use philosophy daily. This way, you’ll be more grounded and serene with any circumstances you have.
  • Understand yourself. Alain tells you to make reflection part of your life. He tells you to look at reality and your emotions calmly so you don’t become submerged by them.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Alain advises you to remember your humanity and imperfections. This will lower your expectations, improve your inner peace and make you more relaxed.
  • Persevere. One of Alain’s influences is the Stoic Seneca, whose main message was to accept hardships with serenity (as part of life). So “just keep going no matter what” would be a great mantra to keep in mind.
  • Good can be bad and bad can be good. Alain reminds you many things that look good to you are bad. And that many things that look bad are good for you. (For example, daily cookies seem good in the short term, but they are bad for you in the long term.) Also, remember your mindset is everything. How you react makes your life.

Further Readings

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Author Bio

maxime lagace

Maxime Lagacé started collecting quotes in 2004 after he lost his girlfriend in a car accident.

In search of meaning, he dived in the self-improvement world, psychology and trail running.

Books, blogs, quotes and nature became his guide.

He started journaling, reflecting, writing his thoughts, feelings and quotes.

His goal was to understand his pain, his depression, his fears, his lack of motivation and inspiration.

He finished his software engineering degree in 2007 at the École de Technologie Supérieure de Montréal.

A few years later, he started his first website to share his love of quotes.

Maxime is a father of two, husband, and INFJ.

Other notable interests of Maxime are health (mental and physical), meditation, bananas, SEO, human potential, and education.

You can find him on X, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube.

Last update

December 21, 2023

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