The School of Life

About The School of Life

The School of Life is a groundbreaking enterprise which offers good ideas for everyday living. Founded in 2008, The School of Life runs a diverse range of programmes and services which address questions of personal fulfilment and how to lead a better life. Drawing insights from philosophy, psychology, literature, the visual arts and sciences, The School of Life offers evening classes, weekends, conversation meals and other events that explore issues relating to big themes such as Love,Work, Play, Self, Family and Community.

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Latest book

How to Age

Books by The School of Life

  • How to Be Bored
  • How to Think Like an Entrepreneur
  • How to Choose a Partner
  • How to Live in the City
  • How to Make a Home
  • How to Age
  • How to Think About Exercise
  • How to Connect with Nature
  • How to Be Alone
  • How to Deal with Adversity
  • How to Develop Emotional Health
  • Life Lessons from Nietzsche
  • Life Lessons from Bergson
  • Life Lessons from Hobbes
  • Life Lessons from Freud
  • Life lessons from Kierkegaard
  • Life Lessons from Byron
  • School of Life Bind Up
  • How To Think More About Sex
  • How to Find Fulfilling Work
  • How to Worry Less About Money
  • How to Stay Sane
  • How to Thrive in the Digital Age
  • How to Change the World

The School of Life: Life Lessons from Great Thinkers

Overcoming despair: 
We cannot work our way rationally out of real despair.  What matters is to have faith in life; and never to forget the power of laughter either.

Life Lessons from Bergson

Use intuition to make decisions:
Intuition lies somewhere in the middle of a continuum with instinct at one extreme and rational response at the other; it is instinct trained by intelligence. So how are we to make good decisions?...very carefully.

Life Lessons from Freud 

Be modest:
We must come to appreciate our insignificance in the world as adults. In doing so, we can enjoy lives of greater modesty, with the scope for more realistic achievement and less fantastic failure.

Life Lessons from Hobbes 

We tend to think [we have more] understanding that other people. But this is just a trick of perspective...This overinflated sense of our own merit is nothing other than pride...We are in reality pretty much equal in capacity.

Life Lessons from Nietzsche

Dealing with conflict:
Rather than just being angry and disgusted, explore the motivation behind your desire to lash out.

Life Lessons from Byron 

How to hope:
The highest form of hope we could have would be to hope without trying to work out what we are hoping for.

The School of Life: small books, big ideas

The self-help book has become a highly ridiculed genre. But for two thousand years in the history of the west, the self-help book stood as a pinnacle of literary achievement. With the growing secularisation of society, it is presumed that the modern individual should manage the business of living and dying by relying on sheer common sense, a sympathetic doctor and hearty doses of faith in science. But we need self-help books like never before, and that is why The School of Life and Pan Macmillan have launched these guides for everyday living.

‘This new series of The School of Life’s self-help books build on the strengths of the first, tackling some of the hardest issues of our lives in a way that is genuinely informative, helpful and consoling. Here are books that prove that the term “self-help” doesn't have to be either shallow or naive’ Alain de Botton, Founder of The School of Life

How to Age by Anne Karpf
How to Be Alone by Sara Maitland
How to Connect with Nature by Tristan Gooley
How to Deal with Adversity by Christopher Hamilton
How to Develop Emotional Health by Oliver James
How to Think About Exercise by Damon Young

The second series, published in September 2013, is called Life Lessons, and takes six great thinkers and highlights their ideas most relevant to ordinary, everyday dilemmas. These books emphasize ways in which wise voices from the past have urgently important and inspiring things to tell us.

Life Lessons from Nietzsche by John Armstrong
Life Lessons from Bergson by Michael Foley
Life Lessons from Byron by Matthew Bevis
Life Lessons from Kierkegaard by Robert Ferguson
Life Lessons from Hobbes by Hannah Dawson
Life Lessons from Freud by Brett Kahr
The first series: How to...

The first series comprises six intelligent, rigorous, well-written self-help books, put together by some of the leading minds in the field. In these, we systematically examine some of the great issues of life – work, sex, money, emotional maturity, digital life and changing the world.

How To Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric
How To Stay Sane by Philippa Perry
How To Worry Less About Money by John Armstrong
How To Change the World by John Paul Flintoff
How To Thrive in the Digital Age by Tom Chatfield
How To Think More About Sex by Alain de Botton

Visit The School of Life website for blogs, courses and videos.

How to Change the World

John-Paul Flintoff offers a powerful reminder that through the generations, society has been transformed by the actions of individuals who understood that if they didn't like something, they could change it.

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How to Stay Sane

There is no simple set of instructions that can guarantee sanity, but if you want to overcome emotional difficulties and become happier, there are four cornerstones to sanity.

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How to Thrive in the Digital Age

Over half of the planet's adult population now spend more of their waking hours 'plugged in' than not, whether to the internet, mobile telephony, or other digital media.

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How to Find Fulfilling Work

Drawing on wisdom about work that is to be found in sociology, psychology, history and philosophy, Roman Krznaric sets out a practical and innovative guide to negotiating the labyrinth of choices, overcoming the fear of change, and finding a career that makes you thrive.

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How to Think More About Sex

21st-century sex is ultimately fated to be a balancing act between love and desire, and adventure and commitment.

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How to Worry Less About Money

Our relationship with money is one that lasts a lifetime, yet traditionally books on the subject tend to take one of two routes: a) how to get more, or b) how to deal with less. John Armstrong turns these approaches upside down.

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Books in this series