The Architecture of Happiness

While most philosophers exposit on a grand scale, Alain de Botton prefers to expound upon the minutiae. This book, like his other seven, is all about the details—in this case, the details of design. Previously, de Botton has set his remarkably clear gaze on the subjects of romance, travel and status. Here, he examines how architecture affects the observer’s psyche or, more specifically, how design can both reflect and determine the desires of those who live and work within a given space. Vast amounts of time, effort and money go into making our living areas and work spaces more comfortable and more conducive to their tasks. De Botton effectively parses out the reasoning behind “the conviction that it is architecture’s task to render vivid to us who we might ideally be.”