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Egg-head stationery from the School of Life

I have never been to London's School of Life, and though mildly pretentious and Alain de Botton-y as it is, I am always drawn to its unusual philosophical seminars and events, in theory at least if not in practice (yet).

Indeed, some of them are more than intellectually diverting: right now, the summer school is hosting How to Find a Job You Love – though plain old How to Find a Job might get more punters in the current climate. There are also talks on Commitment, the regular Bibliotherapy sessions, How to be Creative and thought-provoking themed tours of the capital, plus much more. It's kind of seductive.

But if you don't have the time, funds, loved-ones or geographical convenience to become a big-brained entrepreneurial super-couple with a stack of nurturing tomes on your bedside tables: you can now buy the stationery instead.

Yep. School of Life stationery is the affordable way to get a bit of Botton and pals in your life. And it's way prettier.

Above is the pleasingly hued Twenty Aphorisms; Cards with Short Sentences and Large Truths, £18. The boxed set of "short, pithy statements designed to provoke a thrill of recognition at valuable, amusing, dark and perhaps awkward truths", each printed onto stiff, grey A5 card in this good font (type nerds will I hope be able to quickly identify which... do share if you know).

The Key Word Pencil Set, £12, is a box of six embossed pencils with one of three themes: Psychoanalysis, Literature or Art.

As TSOL explains: "The School tries to find answers to life's big questions through the use of culture, which includes academic disciplines like literature, art and psychoanalysis. These disciplines often work with some rather complicated words; beautiful, useful but perhaps slightly forbidding terms (like BATHOS or PROJECTION). We thought it would be helpful to emboss a selection of these words elegantly along some finely crafted pencils so that we'll get them more clearly in our minds while we write." Good colours too.
School Of Thought Notebooks, £15 set of three, feature "Three notebooks, three thinkers" – and you can choose from three themes: The Stoics, The Pessimists or The Existentialists.

I'll let TSOL elaborate: "The history of philosophy is filled with some fascinating 'schools of thought' dedicated to tackling life's big problems in distinctive ways. We're especially keen on The Stoics (who know how to suffer), The Pessimists (who know how to sigh) and The Existentialists (who know about angst)."

Each notebook carries an introduction to a great thinker on the inside front page, his name beautifully printed on the cover, with otherwise blank pages for you to fill with shopping lists and scribblings made during conversations with the gas board/your mobile phone network/the bank etc. Which could kind of be philosophical...

All of this and more in the range is available from the Southbank Shop.


  1. What a fantastic range. Really love them-I think!

  2. Probably just the reaction they are intended to provoke!