Bunhill: Bright future for Alain de Botton

LAST week saw the publication of The Romantic Movement, the second novel from a fellow called Alain de Botton. Does the surname sound familiar?

It should do because young Alain is none other than the son of the powerful international financier, Gilbert de Botton, the head of Global Asset Management. He founded the investment house in 1983, after his departure from Rothschild Bank in Zurich.

Indeed, if recent accounts are anything to go by, de Botton junior is as clever and talented as his father is rich. His first book was published to great acclaim at the precociously young age of 23.

The Spectator called it 'civilised, funny and cool . . very entertaining'. While the European said: 'De Botton is both trenchantly down to earth and sensitively intuitive'.

What is more, de Botton junior is horribly clever. He achieved a double-starred first in history from Cambridge (this apparently only happens every 30 years or so), and was then approached by Harvard University to do a six-year PhD in history. He hated it, left after a month and became a perfume salesman. This boy will go far.

(Photograph omitted)

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