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Happy

Why More or Less Everything Is Absolutely Fine
Narrated by: Derren Brown
Length: 14 hrs and 32 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (1,554 ratings)

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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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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.

18 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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    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:

9 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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interesting listen but rushed performance

derren weaves together many interesting philosophical view points & gave a nice overview of stoicism. his delivery is incredibly quick so often found myself rewinding to try and catch the main points & concepts which became a little frustrating towards the end. after several repeated listens i gave up on fully trying to understand the last chapter. a bit disappointing also there was no need for this book to be so long as main points could have been covered in half the time.

1 person found this helpful

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I just got bored.

Language was too much and became hugely unrelatable. I like Derren but this was so hard to follow at times.

1 person found this helpful

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Psychology meets Philosophy meets Derren

This will easily go down as one my favourite listens of the year (despite it having only really started). Derren Brown makes philosophy digestible and relevant to the everyday. This book is a trove of intriguing ideas which help you to examine your own life and experiences. It goes beyond 'how to be more happy' and becomes a book about life, death, relationships and everything in between. I highly recommend this to anyone with a unexplored interest in psychology. It is a fascinating listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Waffle

Derren is a great entertainer but I thought the waffling on was to much.

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Not bad

There are some ideas and theories within this book which are interesting and thought provoking. However, the latter section is dedicated to Death and how we shouldn't fear it. This may be interesting for those who do but it didn't work for me. I finished the book though and did enjoy Derren's narrative. Did it make me Happy? Hmm not really!

1 person found this helpful

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  • sarge
  • 30-05-19

Stoicism for the ages!

If you want to know how to live life and live it well then this is the book! Derren Brown explains how Stoicism can be applied to help oneself live in the present moment & to let go of what cannot be controlled. It’s like cognitive behavioral therapy delivered in a methodical, approachable, & reality centered way. It left me feeling well...quite happy.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sam Russell
  • 07-04-19

A witty and thoughtful take on stoicism

This is a breath of fresh air in a genre cluttered with empty platitudes and wishful thinking. One would expect no less from the renowned debunker of charlatans, but even Derren manages to leave the listener pleasantly surprised. Derren wades slowly but surely into the murky waters of life's biggest questions. Why are we here? What should we do with our short time on earth? What would we like to do with our lives? This book will make you think hard and probably leave you with more questions than answers, but it will definitely point you in the right direction and leave you better than it found you.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-06-19

Excellent primer on living a considered life.

The book isn't a stoic book exactly. It's philosophical, and the philosophy that he leans on most is certainly Stoicism. The book is partly a much needed corrective the mawkish and naive pablum that fills the self help bookshelves and, unfortunately, people's desperate minds. This book is a serious, realistic look at what can really be done to live a better, more fulfilled and happy life. This is a book about what matters, really, and how to focus on that. If you're new to Stoicism this is an excellent place to start. It's modern, engaging and relavant. If you are long down the road of Stoicism much of this book will be retread, and that's okay. But, there is a lot of this book that isn't Stoicism. He draws from many sources, referencing all sorts of sciences, philosophy and schools of thought. It's worth a read for that alone. And, Darren reads it. He's an excellent narrator and you get the benefit of the passion and inflection that only the author could convey, with no downsides. He could no doubt be a narrator if he cared to. He's fully professional. This book is underrepresented by the quantity of reviews and accurately represented by the quality of them. It's excellent. I'll be recommending it to many people for the foreseeable future.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mike A Klotz
  • 26-03-19

Must read/listen

The timing of this book couldn't be any better. In our modern world full of victim-hood and the cult of me, me, me we can all use the quiet, but firm, reality check Derren so eloquently delivers.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Diane
  • 06-08-20

Meta-recommended

There are few books that I would actively recommend literally everyone to read. That’s kind of a recommendation is more than just a recommendation. I’m not sure what to call that kind of recommendation. Meta-Recommendation? Hyper-Recommendation? He touches on topics that affect everyone at one time or another. He unabashedly tells the truth, but remains sensitive and empathetic. For me, this book is a shot in the arm to seize my life as my own, and to make of it whatever I wish.

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  • benjaminlgoodey
  • 20-07-20

Great listen.

This book actually gave me the chills. I’ve recommended to allot of friends. Derren is a pleasure to listen to and shows a lot of insights that is easily (?) incorporates it to my own personal life. I believe this is my first review, and I’m a long time listener so me taking the extra effort to rate and review speaks for it self 😊

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-06-20

tiresome

rehash of other ideas. very little value or aha moments. tough to finish. Hoped for much more as I appreciate Brown.

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  • Alex Hut
  • 15-06-20

A Great Journey Into How We Torture Ourselves

Derren Brown does an incredibly clear-minded job of methodically taking the listener through every alleyway of philosophy on the subject of happiness, and his conclusions. A must-read for malcontents like myself.

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  • user-MXTR9P1
  • 15-06-20

Real talk

Derren is a great narrator and the book is pure gold - very genuine information.

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  • Joanna T. Bopp
  • 12-05-20

Self-help book not wanting to be a self-help book

While there are some interesting parts to this book, there are many times it rambled. Being aware that Interesting is subjective, I don’t think many would find a whole section on how to deal with people who come up and want your picture and autograph to be relatable. There were a bit too many references to how he’s famous or recognizable that are strewn throughout the book for my taste. He also does not want it to be self-help book (as stated repeatedly), but when you have conclusions about how best to live, it cannot help but be a self-help book.