On the Usefulness of Philosophy: or, It is stupid to want to abolish bad weather

A Philosopher Lecturing with a Mechanical Planetary (1766).
Joseph Wright of Derby [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Consolations of Philosophy (Popular Penguins)The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an airport buy and a flight read. De Botton covers Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche in an effort to point out that:
Not everything which makes us feel better is good for us. Not everything which hurts may be bad.
In effect, to regard "distress" as "bad" is "almost as stupid as the will to abolish bad weather". This was useful reading, and works in well with my reading of Seneca, Montaigne, and Nietzsche, and provided a helpful overview to my current reading of Epicurus, and also Tina Gilbertson's now-read Constructive Wallowing. Two quotes struck me:
A man's peace of mind does not depend upon Fortune - Seneca (p. 97)
I have begun to be a friend to myself - Seneca citing Hecato (p. 103).
This was an easy read but made easier by my familiarity with the other authors. Had I read this without that understanding I have developed over the last year, I would have missed much. Yet I think it is a good overview of why:
The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates.
De Botton's work also provides an interesting introduction to the use of reason and choice to overcome what distresses us.