Apparently, de Botton was caught off guard by the public attention given to his comments on Crain's blog. He has since learned an important lesson on how the internet works:
I think that a writer should respond to a critic within a relatively private arena. I don’t believe in writing letters to the newspaper. I do believe in writing, on occasion, to the critics directly. I used to believe that posting a message on a writer’s website counted as part of this kind of semi-private communication. I have learnt it doesn’t, it is akin to starting your own television station in terms of the numbers who might end up attending.
De Botton's comments on the "quasi moral responsibility" of book critics are also interesting:
Books will sink without review coverage, which is why authors and publishers care so acutely about them — and why there is a quasi moral responsibility on reviewers to exercise good judgement and fairness in what they say.
The entire interview is worth reading. Also, look for a review of The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work here at Literary License in the next week or two.