Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £25.99

Buy Now for £25.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The Sunday Times best seller.

Perhaps being happy is not the answer after all.

In this thoughtful and brilliant new book, the internationally best-selling author of Happy considers the value of friction in our lives.

In chapters revealing his own moments of anger and prejudice, anxiety and shyness, loneliness and loss, Derren Brown examines the means to a more rewarding life, be it saving yourself from small talk or navigating middle age. Referencing the ideas of some of the world's great philosophers, he has to wonder if the Greeks were right - unless we tend to all aspects of our lives - our whole flawed natures - the snubbed secreted aspects of ourselves will wreak revenge. Perhaps we need to accept and experience complexity, and allow uncertainty? Is anxiety in fact a pointer for growth? Rather than being true to ourselves, might we instead prioritise better interaction with other people?

Considering these questions leads him to surprising sources of consolation and compassion.

©2021 Derren Brown (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about A Book of Secrets

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    305
  • 4 Stars
    61
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    310
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    4
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    261
  • 4 Stars
    53
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    5

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

What is he on about?

Honestly tried my best with this, but constantly found myself stopping it and wondering what the hell he's on about. Trying to be way to clever for its on good. (or I'm probably just too thick)...

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Different

Loved this book, it's difficult in places compared to Happy and confessions of a conjurer - dealing with a darker subject matter. Read as brilliantly as ever by the author.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good but not near ' Happy'

This book was available just after I finished ' Happy ' , which I really loved. I did enjoy this, however, I may have wrongly rasied my expectations to high.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly beautiful

Achingly poignant and beautifully written. I listened to this on long journeys with my husband in the car and it had a profound impact on both of us and how we understood our relationship as well as that of encounters with others.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

He didn't really had anything to say...

I had a feeling, that the book was written for the sake of just publishing another book. It would make sense, Darren sells well for a reason that he had things to say and to contribute for your wider knowledge. Not so in this book, in this book he discovers phenomenology and he rambles a lot, a lot... And yeah, at the end of the book you find that happiness is to be with someone, a drastic change of course only because D. Brown is now in a relationship! So yeah, I would not recommend this one, I really loved Happy, and will continue doing so!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Great Performance of Well Written Mess.

The use of language is at times sublime, the performance is top notch as you would expect from the author. The chapters rollick by enthusiastically and deep rabbit holesque thoughts flitter in and out of your ears as you gradually realise you are listening to a stream of random mania.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Like trying to walk through a wall built of thesauruses!

I have had many books by the author found them insightful, thoughtful and entertaining but this I gave up on half way through.

The meandering storytelling and the use of unnecessary elaborate language heavily sprayed with word after word that required a thesaurus to hand became just too exhausting.

If you have the stamina maybe this is one for you but my energies were spent so moved onto other titles.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A follow up to Happy

It's hard to imagine anyone else narrating Darren's books. If you liked Happy you will probably enjoy this. Happy is a book trying to place an older philosophy in context. This is a series of reflections on modern life. Different in approach, but similar in literary style and more revealing of the author. Very enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Absolute nonsense

This book is an obvious attempt to appear more intellectual and fails miserably. I guess this is what happens when you switch the thesaurus writing assistant tool to maximum. The end result is a diatribe of unlistenable nonsense. My advice is don’t waste your time with this.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Sensational

Insightful, fascinating and laugh out loud. Plus Derren is an excellent narrator. Loved it!

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mykhaylo Fedor
  • Mykhaylo Fedor
  • 17-12-21

Must-listen for those in the “middle passage”

I remember when I got curious about Derren Brown - he was a guest at one of the sports podcasts, and he said something along the lines that precise goals are tricky in that they provide a fuel to move towards them, but once achieved the person might feel lost, as life, at least temporarily, loses its meaning.

So this book is partially about what happens when we meet goals that were supposed to make us happy and accomplished, or when we just realise midway those might not be the goals to pursue, yet we can’t tell what is it that we should pursue. It’s about middle life crisis when the “old way” of doing things just doesn’t work anymore, and new ways, along with one’s true personality, are yet to crystallise.

I heard Happy and Bootcamp for the Brain from the author, and Derren Brown is very confident in what he broadcasts there, he has it figured out, the narrative just flows and makes it an entertaining listening.

In this book though, one could hear this is the subject that author is yet to fully settle in, this is still very sensitive matter for him. It is even clear from the manner of narration and how his tone of voice changes depending on the chapter (from rambling to calm recollections of the past).

So, this is not a book from celebrity, that wants to simply entertain, but rather a book from a person in search of a meaning (who just happens to be a celebrity). This also feels like a very personal book, and I imagine it required quite a lot of courage to let it out into the outside world. There’s a lot of wit and humour, but also plenty of very personal details and thoughts and observations.

To sum up these chaotic thoughts about the book, it’s not a must-read for those who just enjoy Derren Brown the entertainer as it is not an easy listen. It would be interesting to those who want to know him as a person, but it is certainly a must-read for those who are in the “middle passages” of life themselves.

…and big thanks to Derren for mentioning James Hollis and other authors when doing promo for this book, Passages were right on time for me.