This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: July 15, 2008- I was standing in the checkout line leafing through a book on modern architecture I intended to purchase. A woman standing next to me, noticing my book, said she hated modern architecture and thought it ugly. Though I should have praised her interest in the subject at all, I directed her, in a somewhat condescending tone of voice, to a book I had flipped through moments before with the name of The Architecture of Happiness by the essayist Alain de Botton. Its cover, depicting a very modern "machine for living in" and an 18th century bucolic cottage, promised another diatribe against modern architecture. So I put it back on the shelf. Lucky for me, my wife gave it to me as a present.