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  • Happy

  • Why More or Less Everything Is Absolutely Fine
  • By: Derren Brown
  • Narrated by: Derren Brown
  • Length: 14 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (2,787 ratings)

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Happy cover art

Happy

By: Derren Brown
Narrated by: Derren Brown
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The audiobook edition of Happy, read by Derren Brown.

Everyone says they want to be happy. But that's much more easily said than done. What does being happy actually mean? And how do you even know when you feel it?

In Happy Derren Brown explores changing concepts of happiness - from the surprisingly modern wisdom of the Stoics and Epicureans in classical times right up until today, when the self-help industry has attempted to claim happiness as its own. He shows how many of self-help’s suggested routes to happiness and success – such as positive thinking, self-belief and setting goals – can be disastrous to follow and, indeed, actually cause anxiety.

Happy aims to reclaim happiness and to enable us to appreciate the good things in life, in all their transient glory. By taking control of the stories we tell ourselves, by remembering that ‘everything’s fine’ even when it might not feel that way, we can allow ourselves to flourish and to live more happily.

©2016 Derren Brown (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Deeply informative, moving, wise and full of love." (Alain de Botton) 

"Crammed with wisdom and insight.... I'm going to recommend it to everyone I know." (Stephen Fry)

"Witty, useful and beautifully written." (The Sunday Times)

What listeners say about Happy

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Death defying

It must be a truly great audio book to keep an old, self help book cynic entertained for fourteen and a half hours. I was lucky to have the former Chief Rabbi; now Lord Sachs, as my philosophy lecturer at Middlesex Poly but I'd have settled for the audacious Derren Brown. His enthusiasm for the Stoics considered lives as contrasted with our daily pap of positive thinking is great fun. The. last chapter makes clear that the Stoics didn't have all the answers to a fulfilled life and the current focus on mindfulness is beneficial but they'll do for me. As well as being superbly presented this book is well researched with direct quotes from philosophers, psychologists, authors, songwriters, celebrrities and, poignantly, from his fans. One of his fans dying of cancer, provides the most uplifting, happy way of facing death I,he ever read. This is a serious book on balancing our thoughts and actions against the slings and arrows, but there is humour too. The author's views on why being rich and famous is unlikely to be a recipe for happiness is worthy of a stand up comedy spot. He is refreshingly honest throughout and never patronising. I felt even luckier to have lived 66 fulfilling and fun years after listening to this and I learned so much that this is now the top self help book I will, happily, recommend:

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60 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Really Derren? What were you on?

After the last recording of this book with the previous narrator was so bad, I was so pleased to discover that Mr B was enlisted to read his book. Normally he is good, so was excited to at last listen to this book. I bought the paperback book but just don't have time to read, hence the wonders of audible. I was so excited when I downloaded this and started to play, only to find a ridiculously over the top narrative sing songing like a Victorian showman, or the master of ceremonies at a Victorian music hall. Not unlike the previous narrator. Why in the world the producers and director allowed this to happen (maybe they were to scared to say anything in case he mind warped them or something)? Why Mr Brown didn't just read it naturally like himself, is beyond me. Yet again I shall have to take up the actual paper book version as I believe the book to be good. Maybe it's the universe telling me something..

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35 people found this helpful

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

Privileged perspective

In general terms I think this book has a lot to offer. The chapter about death is very useful, eye opening and made me feel a lot better about it.

However, I can't help but feel the points Derren makes throughout the book, are very easy to make when you live a life of privilege. And also very easy to practice when you have certain privileges.

As someone struggling with debilitating pain, illness and disability, no way to make an income and the range of problems that come as a result of that- there is so much in this book that I simply cannot apply to my life. Sometimes the generalizing statements Derren made in the book, were very triggering just because they assumed a lot about the reader and weren't very inclusive. Sometimes an acknowledgement would be made to people in very difficult life changing situations etc. But it seems Derren views that to be a very small minority of people, smaller than perhaps the reality.

I read this book because I hoped I could learn something to help manage the struggles in my life. But instead I felt like I was reading a book that would help me if only I didnt have these struggles at all.

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34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Derren the intellect & sage....emerges!

As shared by many others this is a witty & entertaining book.
Derren peels back the layer on parts of his “manipulation“ model in psychology and equally importantly he dives deeper and thoughtfully into how the mind builds reality.....moment-to-moment.
His reflective qualities also shine brightly throughout and some of the commentary is certainly uncomfortable & provoking, as it should be.
In my view, if you rate the tremendously talented Mr Brown - then this is a must listen/read.

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25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Happy

The liberation of reconnecting with my own story, as this book so delicately suggests, has provided me the means to begin to live a more full and considered life. The historical significance of where our modern day notion of happiness derived itself and how best to apply the interest of self and simply being leave me in a state of otherwise unknown bliss and tranquility. Certainly I may more than likely at some point return to a bad time and adopt my old erroneous ways of thinking but I feel now able to step away and examine situations and events with clarity accepting that simply not everything is within my control and that’s fine. Much like the difference between attempting to stop road traffic which would inevitably cause anxiety and stress, I am reminded that to merely sit back and observe things which otherwise are out of my control and embrace them for the way they are, rather than how I would like them to be, is an extremely beautiful and yet simple notion and one which I intend to embody in my day to day life. Amazing book and would recommend to anybody and everybody.

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21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Boring & rambling... Lost interest.

I really like Derren Brown. But this is a really boring book.
After 2 hours of listening, I completely lost interest.

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16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Expecting more

Being a fan of Derren I was disappointed. I found the book over baring and pretentious. His ego and faux pas of people’s beliefs was annoying. Iv been trough a lot the past couple of years especially recently and I am by no means religious but I do believe in positive thought and keeping happy demeanour can change an outcome because it has the power to help you and the others who rely on you. Maybe this book went there but like I’v stated his arrogance and disregard for people’s beliefs put me off.

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12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not about being happy

Thought this book would be about how to be happy but instead all he does is rip apart religions and beliefs like the secret and tv evangelists.
Expected more positivity but found it rather negative.

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8 people found this helpful

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

rather a lot of focus on fame!

Enjoyed the book overall but felt Derren focused for a long time on things that may affect happiness levels in himself maybe? i.e fame and thoughts of death! Overall through enjoyed this book and took some good content from it and it has caused me to delve deeper into stoic thinking.

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6 people found this helpful

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

interesting. bit long winded

A great introduction to a few philosophical perspectives regarding Happiness. worth reading/Listening to. Derren at time quite humorous. but as stated a little drawn out at times, but we'll worth a listen/read.

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5 people found this helpful