De Botton is the celebrated author of a series of books that flatten great literature into self-help literature and philosophy into tasty little homilies for the haute bourgeoisie. He is what Oprah Winfrey would have been if she had read The World as Will and Representation. His books may be the most complacent books I have ever read. In his many accounts of the struggle for existence there is no evidence of the struggle, not a shred. Instead there is a TED-like self-congratulation: a brush with an idea followed by an overwhelming sensation of coolness and depth. In London he has established an institution called the School of Life, which offers its paying students the opportunity to feel as lovely and as psychologically integrated as its founder. Its website must be seen to be believed. Woody Allen’s people would have graduated from the School of Life with honors.