ALAIN DE BOTTON has cornered the market in adapting complex philosophical concepts for the busy reader. He is akin to a life coach in that he coaxes us into developing our intellectual capacity, and offers simple nuggets of wisdom that broaden our perspective on our narrow lives and deepen our shaky understanding of our fellow man; and we don’t even have to put the hours in. For the spiritually vapid and culturally zoned-out, de Botton is a godsend. He is wonderfully generous with his extensive knowledge of the Western literary and philosophical canons. And one cannot help but respond in a similarly generous vein to this most media-savvy of writers. For he is at heart, one senses, a kind man with a genuine desire to spread the Word.