He has followed the blood-soaked journey of a tuna fish from the Indian Ocean in Maldives to a dinner table at London for his book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.
And this summer, he got himself a desk at Heathrow's Terminal Five to people-watch and chronicle the modern travel experience for A Week at the Airport.
Not unusual tasks for Alain de Botton who has written novels that are not just novels and non-fiction that's more than just reporting and commentary.
The Swiss writer's books have connected Madame Bovary to sex and shopping (The Romantic Movement), found poetry and philosophy in warehouses (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work), stoicism and Seneca in architecture (The Architecture of Happiness).
He has pointed out that most of us are still working at jobs that were chosen for us by our 16-year-old selves. He has explained how a little-read writer could help you find the right doctor (How Proust Can Change Your Life); or how a dose of Epicurus could cure you of the envy that sets in when your neighbour buys the BMW you've always dreamt of (The Consolations of Philosophy).
Little wonder, then, that most bookstores in India are still confused about where exactly to place a de Botton. You'll find him sitting smugly among a Keats and a Byron, coyly between a Princess Daisy and a Georgette Heyer or, slightly embarrassed, in the self-help section.
The writer, however, prefers to defy labels, and tells sify.com that he considers himself an essayist first and foremost.
In an interview with Sarita Ravindranath, Alain de Botton speaks about his fascination with airports, his hopes for the next decade, his views on success and on reviews that hit hard. Excerpts:
This has been a busy year for you. Two books, The School of Life, a highly-viewed and talked-about TED talk...Your long-time fans would detect your unseen presence even in an Indie movie - (500) Days of Summer! How does it feel? Do you consider this your most productive year?
Every year feels pretty busy.
I'm haunted by an awareness of death. Most members of my family appear to die rather suddenly at quite young ages - and that keeps me working with a certain frantic energy.
Also, as I approach 40, I've gradually been able to make use of experiences learnt over the last two decades in the media and publishing business - and exploit these to my advantage.
Most fittingly, I am slowly seeing interest in my work grow in countries that I haven't been read in before. I'm thinking of India, but also the Philippines, South Korea, Brazil and Iran.
In Picture: Alain de Botton at work on his desk at Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5.
Image copyright: Richard Baker, who has collaborated with Alain de Botton for The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary. For more, log on to http://www.bakerpictures.com/. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited