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Life is a career that none of us chose. The rich and credulous hire life coaches to flatter them. Others who crave enlightenment can sign on to the School of Life set up by entrepreneurial egghead Alain de Botton.

The School of Life is a full-service establishment that pseudo-technologically supplies “tools for thinking” and, in a shop attached to its classroom in central London’s Bloomsbury, sells pencils that customers can chew while they cogitate. This emporium of self-improvement is now issuing a series of books that fillet philosophers and apply their theories to daily conundrums.

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