The School of Life

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The School of Life
Traded as Three 13 Solutions, Campus London LLP, ELOE Limited, STOA Limited.[1]
Founder Alain de Botton[2]

The School of Life is an educational company focused on how to live wisely and well. It was founded in 2008 and based in branches in London (headquarters),[3] Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Istanbul, Melbourne, Paris, São Paulo, Sydney,[4][5] Seoul, Taipei and Tel Aviv.[6] The School offers a variety of programmes and services covering finding fulfilling work, mastering relationships, achieving calm, and understanding and changing the world.[7] The School also offers psychotherapy and bibliotherapy services and runs online and physical shops[8] which have been described as 'apothecaries for the mind'.[9]


Alain de Botton, founder of The School of Life

The School of Life was founded by philosopher Alain de Botton,[8] in collaboration with a number of writers, artists and educators.[10] The faculty includes philosophers Mark Vernon, Robert Rowland Smith and writer John Armstrong.[11] Ambassadors for the project include photographer Martin Parr[11] and journalist Rosie Boycott.[citation needed]


The School of Life offers a curriculum of classes teaching emotional intelligence. These explore ways to make work more fulfilling, improve romantic relationships, and face the day-to-day challenges of life, from facing death to relating to one's family.[12] These classes are devised by leading authors, artists, actors and academics, combining their own experiences with ideas from great thinkers of the past to offer participants intelligent and playful ways to interpret the world, and their place within it.[13]

On Sunday mornings The School of Life hosts secular sermons in which cultural figures are invited to give their opinion about 'what values we should live by today'.[14] These theatrical events are usually held at Conway Hall in London. Past preachers have included Brené Brown on courage, Ken Robinson on education, Grayson Perry on kinky sex, and Paul Mason on capitalism. The Financial Times described the sermons as being 'hedged about with all sorts of ironic paraphernalia, designed to reassure the trendy young audience that they are not about to be harangued by a religious zealot'.[15]

The School of Life posts films three times a week on its YouTube channel – which has 2.5 million subscribers. The films cover a variety of topics related to emotional intelligence and culture.[16]

The School of Life offers a literary consultation service it calls bibliotherapy.[17] For a fee, people are able to meet with a bibliotherapist who will talk to them about their reading habits and 'prescribe' books which relate to their interests or concerns. The School of Life's bibliotherapists include the novelist Susan Elderkin.[citation needed]

The School of Life operates a psychotherapy service at HQ in London, described by the school as offering clients 'a fascinating and valuable tour of your own psyche'[18] and aims to counter the stigma often associated with mental health.

The School of Life works with businesses to provide internal learning and development programmes.[citation needed]

The School of Life.png

The Book of Life aims to provide information about the most substantial things in life; your relationships, your income, your career, your anxieties.[19] Its current chapters are Capitalism, Work, Relationships, Self, Culture and Curriculum. One idea behind the book of life is, that it redefines Book by rather having only one author, this book has many. Its content will change and evolve over time and enhanced with multimedia. It is a free resource for everyone who looks for advise in different life topics.[20]


The London branch has a small shop on Marchmont Street in Central London.[8] The interior of the London shop is designed by Susanna Edwards and Joseph Harries and features real silver birch trees.[21] Beneath the shop is the School's classroom[8] muraled throughout by the British fashion illustrator Charlotte Mann.

Published works[edit]

The School of Life has produced many books, including its popular 'How to' series and Toolkit for Life box-sets, covering topics such as 'How to Choose a Partner' and 'How to Age', and with authors including Alain de Botton, Oliver James, Phillipa Perry, Eva Hoffman, Susan Quilliam and John-Paul Flintoff. The Life Lessons series systematically examines some of the great issues of life through the ideas of six great thinkers: Bergson, Freud, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Byron and Hobbes. The book Art as Therapy, written by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong explores the belief that art can help us with our most intimate and ordinary dilemmas.


  1. ^ "CAMPUS LONDON LLP – Overview (free company information from Companies House)". 
  2. ^ "Fresh findings point to solution for financial education". FTAdviser. May 31, 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  3. ^ "Londoner's Diary: Alain De Botton and his school exit Europe". London Evening Standard. April 10, 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  4. ^ "The School of Life: An Interview With Alain de Botton". HuffPost. Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  5. ^ Wyndham, Susan. "Alain de Botton and his School of Life come to Sydney". SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Retrieved 2017-06-20. 
  6. ^ "International Opportunities". Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  7. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d Conrad, Peter (1 September 2013). "Life Lessons from... Bergson, Byron, Freud, Hobbes, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "The School of Life [Monocle]". 3 September 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Faculty". The School of Life. The School of Life. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Coombes, Phil (4 October 2010). "Street photography now". BBC News. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  12. ^ "Sunday Express Magazine". Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Classes". Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  14. ^ "Sermons". Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  15. ^ Eyres, Harry (20 December 2008). "Secular lessons from the School of Life". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  16. ^ "The School of Life YouTube Channel". YouTube. Retrieved 17 March 2017. 
  17. ^ "Bibliotherapy". Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  18. ^ "Psychotherapy". Retrieved 22 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "What is The Book of Life | The Book of Life". Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  20. ^ "What is The Book of Life | The Book of Life". Retrieved 13 April 2017. 
  21. ^ "Blog Archive " The School of Life by Susanna Edwards". Dezeen. 26 September 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2012. 

External links[edit]