A perfect companion to Swann's Way, this innovative study explores Proust and why he matters. Alain de Botton combines two unlikely genres literary biography and self help manual in this charming and unexpectedly practical book. Drawing from Proust's letters, essays, and fiction, de Botton transforms Proust's life and work into a no nonsense guide to life, including: enjoying your vacation, reviving a relationship, articulating yourself in an original way, being a good host, recognizing love, and why not to sleep with someone on the first date. De Botton succeeds in creating both a brilliant biographical sketch of one of literature's most beguiling figures and a witty exercise in literary criticism. 2 cassettes. /Content /EditorialReview EditorialReview Source Amazon.com Review /Source Content This is a genius level piece of writing that manages to blend literary biography with self help and tongue in cheek with the profound. The quirky, early 1900s French author Marcel Proust acts as the vessel for surprisingly impressive nuggets of wisdom on down to earth topics such as why you should never sleep with someone on the first date, how to protect yourself against lower back pain, and how to cope with obnoxious neighbors. Here's proof that our ancestors had just as much insight as the gurus du jour and perhaps a lot more wit. De Botton simultaneously pokes fun at the self help movement and makes a significant contribution to its archives.