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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Any Baedeker will tell us where we ought to travel, but only Alain de Botton will tell us how and why. With the same intelligence and insouciant charm he brought to How Proust Can Save Your Lifede Botton considers the pleasures of anticipation; the allure of the exotic, and the value of noticing everything from a seascape in Barbados to the takeoffs at Heathrow.

Even as Any Baedeker will tell us where we ought to travel, but only Alain de Botton will tell us how and why. Even as de Botton takes the reader along on his own peregrinations, he also cites such distinguished fellow-travelers as Baudelaire, Wordsworth, Van Gogh, the biologist Alexander von Humboldt, and the 18th-century eccentric Xavier de Maistre, who catalogued the wonders of his bedroom. The Art of Travel is a wise and utterly original book.

Paperbackpages. Published May 11th by Vintage first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Art of Travelplease sign up.

I am not a native English speaker at a young adult, will this book be too hard to read? Ines Depends on your english level.

I find it a bit complex mostly for a young adult. It is not a light reading book for non native english speakers, in my …more Depends on your english level.

Alain De Botton

It is not a light reading book for non native english speakers, in my opinion less. See all 4 questions about The Art of Travel…. Lists with This Book. Aug 17, Soo-Ryun rated it it was ok.

View all 5 comments. View all 4 comments. Jun 04, Ben rated it liked it Recommended to Ben by: In The Art of TravelAlaine de Botton succeeds in the difficult task of opening the readers eyes to the many perceptual enhancements that travel can provide. It is not a travelogue of wild botfon in exotic countries, nor an informative list of places one can go.

The Art of Travel is abstract, and focuses on concepts relating to the inner-self and individual psychology; the internal elements that affect, and are affected by, travel.

Through avenues such as poetry, writings from some of histories In The Art of TravelAlaine de Botton succeeds in the difficult task of opening the readers eyes to the many perceptual enhancements that travel can provide.

Through avenues such as poetry, writings from some of histories great travel philosophers, artwork, writings from scenic painters, fetching photographs, and through his own personalized experiences and intellectual insights, de Botton provides the reader with a greater understanding and appreciation of travel; new paradigms that can result in more visceral and illuminating travel experiences. De botton sees symbolism and connections in what may originally seem mundane.

Here, in his chapter on anticipation, he writes of the riding of an airplane: The display of power can inspire us to imagine analogous, decisive shifts in our own lives, to imagine that we, too, might one day surge above much that now looms over us. It inspires the reader to reach for the beautiful in life, and it helped me realize some of the inner resources that one can develop, and the outer resources that can be recognized, when in new atmospheres. Reading that chapter was like a spiritual awakening; something akin to the transcending experience one feels when looking at slews of massive mountaintops or stretches of distant, barren deserts.

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At first, he provides sound, interesting, and useful philosophies on art. But the writing becomes too involved, becoming dry, pedantic, and completely unrelated to travel. Overall, de Botton’s writing is excellent. Smooth, flowing, poignant, and articulate, he is a pleasure to read. He is most insightfully expressive with regard to perspectives and perceptions, which, lucky for the reader, penetrate most portions of the novel.

This is appropriate, because the travel experience itself is subjective. While two people may experience the same event at the same place and time, their perceptions and outtake will never be exactly the same. According to de Botton, while the splendors of various sights and cultures can help aid the kind of growth the traveler may desire, one need not leave his bedroom in order to gain mind expansion and life changing insights.

In that sense, The Art of Travel is not just a book about travel, but a book about seeing things in newer, more enlightening ways; a book about how to find and appreciate beauty, and through these processes, a book about enriching our life experience. Travels in Europewhich is a lighter, funnier, and less intellectualized travel read. View all 22 comments.

The Art of Travel

Apr 12, Gordon rated it really liked it. I think the key messages of the book are well captured in the very first chapter: I had inadvertently brought myself with me to the island. These are probably good things to keep in mind when setting out on the road. The external voyage only has an impact if accompanied by an internal one. De Botton has a wonderful ability to weave in all kinds of unexpected references to artists and writers, such as Charles Baudelaire and Edward Hopper.

You can appreciate this book quite nicely even while sitting on the couch at home, but I happened to read it while travelling in Honduras. Jan 09, Robin rated it it was amazing Shelves: I read this book. Then I thought about it. Then I went back and read it again, less thoroughly, with a pen in hand looking to further unpack and appreciate the ideas and self-reflections they provoked in me.

The structure of this book is deceptively simple to summarize: Both sides of this juxtaposition were exquisitely crafted. Over the course of this little book, the author engages with a number of travel-related ideas: The thesis that resonated with me the most was the simplest: Being receptive and aware is the first and necessary step to being able to articulate our questions and opinions, and from there to render our experiences lastingly meaningful.

This is, essentially, a personal goal for me this year, one that I am pursuing by approaching my reading more thoughtfully and by reflecting more frequently on the small ways I can gain full awareness of how I am interacting with people and my environment. So, although I am not embarking on any significant travels this year, this book nevertheless feels remarkably relevant to me personally.

Why fall in love with a place because it has trams and its people seldom put curtains in their homes? However absurd the intense reactions provoked by such small and mute foreign elements may seem, the pattern is at least familiar from our personal lives.

There too we may find ourselves anchoring emotions of love on the way a person butters his or her bread, or recoiling at his or her taste in shoes. To condemn ourselves for these minute concerns is to ignore how rich in meaning these details can be.


There are no women represented except as companions or objects of desire for men. All forms of travel described are decidedly middle to upper class–no hitchhiking or camping stories here. The perspective is also limited only to Western thinkers and includes relatively few non-European locations and most of those are former European colonies. I merely mention it to warn those who would be put off by this kind of scope.

All in all, I highly recommend it to people interested in vignette-style reflections on how we experience our immediate environment and what we can learn about ourselves by just paying more attention to it, whether at home or abroad. Jul 05, Botto rated it really liked it. There’s a certain self-effacing charm about Alain de Botton’s writing that creeps up on you and which eventually becomes irresistible. Not one to shy away from df topics love, philosophy, status, travel, Proust he manages to bring you to fresh insights on each theme in a completely charming, highly readable fashion.

I’ve also seen him dde few times on a BBC series about different philosophers, and the same charm is evident in person. He just seems like an altogether smart, together, sweet guy.

It appears that he is quite successful, despite re disparate and commercially unpromising topics he chooses to write about.

I hope that he is, because his seems to me to be a talent that deserves to be rewarded. View all 3 comments.

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May 11, Danielle rated it did not like it. Honestly, this was a bit of a disappointment to me after reading such great reviews. I’m a traveler and while there were some ideas in this book that appealed to me, the majority of the philosophies and “ways of traveling” that were shared turned me off. Botton seems a bit arrogant and I felt he contradicted himself a number of times. Not all of us have wealthy friends in the French countryside or have the means of staying at an exclusive hotel in Barbados.

In fact, I think Botton is missing out Honestly, this was a bit of a disappointment to me after reading such great reviews. In fact, I think Botton is missing out on the thrill of travel that is unknown, unsafe, and lacking in the pretentious wanderings of a big city.

I don’t know, I guess Buttons ways and philosophies of traveling are not like mine. This guy is obviously French, wealthy, and Christian none of which are bad traits, but he didn’t seem to open up to the glory that is a foreign culture. This book just wasn’t my cup of tea. Jul 09, Craig rated it really liked it Shelves: I couldn’t put it down.

Its insightful and erudite in a way that I haven’t experienced since reading somewhat obscure texts for a rhetoric course in college.

El arte de viajar : Alain de Botton :

The book uses authors and poets and painters that we all know and love to help us think about how to fully experience our world. The book isn’t really a travel tome; and I’m not sure that I learned all that much about particular destinations. I found myself dog-earing the corners of so many pages as he shared insights that resonated with my own experience of travel lately.