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The Pleasures & Sorrows of Work (First Year Read, 2022)

A guide to the 2022 First Year Read Program pick, The Pleasures & Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton (2009).

The Pleasures & Sorrows of Work

Alain de Botton

2022 First Year Read Selection


Welcome to the reading guide for the First Year Read's 2022 pick, The Pleasures & Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton, created by librarians Courtney Walsh and Vicky Ludas Orlofsky. 

The staff of the Samuel C. Williams Library looks forward to meeting you in fall 2022!

The First Year Reading (FYR) program is part of New Student Orientation from the Office of Undergraduate Student Life.

Office of Undergraduate Student Life Summer Engagement Contest 2022

This is an optional reading contest meant to highlight and showcase the different perspectives students have after reading our 2022 First Year Read book. The first place winner will receive a $200 bookstore credit. The second place winner will receive a $100 bookstore credit. 

Pick one of the prompts listed below and create a submission that captures the essence of the prompt or question. 
  • "My First Job": Create a writing piece detailing your first job, similar to the style of Alain de Botton’s descriptions in The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.  Your writing should include what your day-to-day looked like, the pleasures and sorrows of the work, and what you learned from the experience.  Each submission should be approximately 500 words.
  • Work in Art: Depict a job you have held or a job you aspire to through art. This can be in the form of a poem, painting, drawing, 3D art piece, multimedia, or any medium you see fit.  Please submit a photo of your art for review for the contest. 
Contest concluded August 12, 2022. Winner to be announced during Orientation!

Questions about New Student Orientation or the FYR contest can be directed to:

Guide creators

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