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On Sunday 19th April, 2010 Sydney Opera House presented Alain de Botton, renowned philosopher, best selling author and TV presenter for an exclusive engagement.

This exclusive talk was recorded live and is available online.  Click on the play button to hear the full audio recording.

Audio Content

His then soon to be published book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work was the subject of his first talk in Australia since 2006.

Writing it saw him travel across the world for two years with a photographer in tow, looking at people in their workplaces and reflecting on the great themes of work: why do we do it? How can it be more bearable? What is a meaningful life?

With a philosophical eye and his characteristic combination of wit and wisdom, Alain leads us on a journey around a deliberately eclectic range of occupations, from rocket science to biscuit manufacture, accountancy to art – in search of what make jobs either fulfilling or soul-destroying. Here is the perfect guide to the vicious anxieties and enticing hopes thrown up by our journey through the working world.

According to Alain, his talk will “amount to a celebration and investigation of an activity as central to a good life as love – but which we often find remarkably hard to reflect on properly. Most of us are still working at jobs chosen for us by our sixteen-year-old selves.”

Exploring such diverse subjects as travel, habitat, philosophy, status anxiety in an accessible and stimulating manner De Botton, has, through his books and TV shows, become internationally famous for popularising a new approach to a ‘philosophy of everyday life’.

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