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Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success
He’s known for his books on love and happiness, but at this year’s TED conference, Swiss-born philosopher Alain de Botton took aim at our entrenched views of success. St. Augustine said it’s a sin to judge any man by his post, but tell that to the “global phenomenon of snobs” eroding our civic culture and sense of selves. De Botton takes issue with our politicians and the belief in the meritocracy. The meritocracy, to blame? Bold words in the age of Obama, but it takes a European to point out that the very American belief that “anything’s possible” with enough talent and hard work leads people to take failure more personally. If we acknowledge the “randomness of winning and losing,” de Botton suggests, then maybe our elected officials would stop focusing on “justice”...and instead see failure for the tragedy that it is. A timely treatise as traditional notions of success become more elusive.
eGuider: Melissa Roth
Journalist, Author, Web Producer
Melissa Roth has written story extensions and webisodes for HBO shows including Entourage, Big Love, Sex & the City and John from Cincinnati. The author of two books (On the Loose and The Left Stuff), has written for The Washington Post, Rolling Stone and Self magazine. She is currently producing two web series, Miss Beasley's Pick-Up School for Girls and Byron's Barcalounger.