'We all worry about what others think of us' says de Botton, 'we all long to succeed and fear failure.' While we may laugh at the pomposity of high-status persons (think of the cartoon judge with his powdered wig and upturned nose), or deride larger questions of life and purpose as meaningless, de Botton challenges us to take seriously our choices and examine the real value of our pursuits.
Status Anxiety is a thorough investigation of this phenomenon throughout history. De Botton analyses our society and the role of status within it, uncovering what status means to us, why we pursue it, and most importantly whether or not this is a good path to follow. The book is carefully divided into very short chapters within a few larger sections, making it the ideal pick-up-and-put-down read, to be returned to time and time again. Often at the end of a chapter or paragraph you'll find yourself, as I did many times, putting down the book in order to give time to your churning brain and the new ideas you are now wrestling with. De Botton is accurate and personal in his examination.