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The world is full of pseudoscience, bad advice and self-help jargon. Thankfully London’s School of Life has revamped the idea of emotional education.

“I’m reminded daily what an ignorant, vain, irritable, choleric idiot I am,” says author Alain de Botton when asked what he’s learned about himself since founding a school designed to strengthen emotional intelligence. “This is a hugely helpful starting point for the School of Life, for I constantly have ideas about what I—and many other people—might need.”

Developed in 2008 by Alain and a group of academics, artists, curators, writers, thinkers and entrepreneurs, the School of Life helps people develop emotional intelligence by using culture as a guide. “I came up with the ideas, and the team around me helped to make them happen, ” he says. “They’re brilliant—I owe them so much. Without them, I’d still be a pathetic guy dreaming big.” The School offers seminars on such topics as “How Necessary Is a Relationship, ”

  • Words:
    Gail O'Hara
  • Illustration:
    Sarah Maycock

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  • Words:
    Gail O'Hara
  • Illustration:
    Sarah Maycock
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