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Talisa Dean 04/02/19

The School Of Life

Sometimes life can feel a little fishy.

Which is why you’ll want to know about The School Of Life.

It’s an organisation that was set up in 2008, in part by philosopher and author Alain de Botton, with the hope of helping people live a calmer, wiser, more fulfilled life.

For those of you with traumatic schooling histories, never fear. Unlike traditional education – where children are sent into a frenzy over Geography and Ancient History –  The School Of Life provides lessons on the arguably more immediately relevant stuff: love; work; friends; mental health etc. Plus there’s no way to fail.

If classrooms aren’t for you, they have a website which is free to use, where you’ll find a whole range of beautifully-written, eye-opening, often comforting articles on everything from status and success, to art and architecture. Alternatively, they have a real-life part-shop, part-school where they sell a whole load of really interesting de Botton-authored books; games; stationery; and more; as well as hosting a rotating list of drop-in classes; one day workshops; and five-day schools.

The School Of Life


How To Be Confident, How To Make Love Last, How To Fail, and The Meaning Of Life are just a few of the breezy topics they regularly take on. Classes are £55, and offer a starting point to begin exploring your chosen topic. They’re often a mix of lecture (the interesting kind), and exercises followed by discussions. They’re also a great place to meet new, likeminded people, if you’re in the market for that kind of thing, over the kinds of conversations that really matter.

One-day workshops are on a similar selection of topics, although more in-depth. They’re a full day and £150.

Five Day Schools are basically a big chunk of the one-day workshops all rolled into one. Sure, they don’t come cheap at £950 – but you’ll leave having undergone what The School Of Life would consider to be the absolute best of their teachings, and the tools to make meaningful change across every aspect your life (if you want to).

They also offer a yearly calendar of bigger events, where they’ll often hire out a beautiful space and invite well-known performers, speakers, and thinkers to share some of their life experiences and insights, before a Q&A.

It’s hard not to get hooked.


NOTE: The School Of Life shop-cum-school is open Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, and Sat-Sun 12-6pm. For everything else the dates and times vary, so best to take a look at their website here.

The School of Life | 70 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AB

Last Updated: 9th April 2019

Big into this learning stuff? Take a look at our guide to Lectures & Talks In London (there’s loads of ’em)

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The School Of Life

70 Marchmont Street, King's Cross, WC1N 1AB
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