13 Nov 2007

status anxiety

I only recently came across Status Anxiety from Alain de Botton (came across actually means that sergiu pointed it out). And i must admit i really enjoyed it, because it's a very interesting theory (part of which i myself was explaining when talking about the new suburbias of Bucharest), even though the alternatives he suggests to the status-driven never-ending anxiety are quite soft and not necessarily widely-embraceable.

"This is a book about an almost universal anxiety that rarely gets mentioned directly: an anxiety about what others think of us; about whether we're judged a success or a failure, a winner or a loser. This is a book about status anxiety.

We care about our status for a simple reason: because most people tend to be nice to us according to the amount of status we have (it is no coincidence that the first question we tend to be asked by new acquaintances is ‘ What do you do?’). With the help of philosophers, artists and writers, the book examines the origins of status anxiety (ranging from the consequences of the French Revolution to our secret dismay at the success of our friends), before revealing ingenious ways in which people have learnt to overcome their worries in their search for happiness. It aims not only to be entertaining, but wise and helpful as well."

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