I saw Alain de Botton speak at Hay a few years back with Roisin. I think he was talking about an Architecture project he's involved in I can't really remember now. I'd heard of him before but never read any of his books until this one. I'd felt that while they might be interesting topics they might be a bit pretentious - dealing with philosophy as they do - but it was really well written and covered a few theories without getting too heavy or too light.
I read the book on holiday. It tells the story of a relationship and brings in various theories in line with the what's happening to the narrator. It was pretty good and interesting enough that I'd read sections out to my friends and we'd talk about how it related to us.