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Happy

Why More or Less Everything Is Absolutely Fine
Narrated by: Derren Brown
Length: 14 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (361 ratings)
Regular price: £23.99
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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Happy, written and 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?

Across the millennia, philosophers have thought long and hard about happiness. They have defined it in many different ways and come up with myriad strategies for living the good life. Drawing on this vast body of work, 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. 

This brilliant, candid and deeply entertaining audiobook exposes the flaws in these ways of thinking and in return poses challenging but stimulating questions about how we choose to live and the way we think about death.

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 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

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

What members say

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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.

8 of 8 people found this review 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.

3 of 3 people found this review 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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant book on philosophy and happiness

Derren Brown delightfully narrates his own interesting thoughts and musings on happiness: where it comes from, the way he attempts to achieve it and how it shouldn't always be the ultimate prize. He uses philosophy, psychological studies and anecdotes from his life to illustrate his points in a smart and sometimes humourous way. Some heavy philosophical elements may detract from the experience, but he attempts to explain these concepts in layman's terms and for the most part, I understood (though I do have a little, broad knowledge of philosophy myself).

Overall a brilliant book which I thoroughly enjoyed listening to and will happily do so again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful Book

An amazingly broad investigation of what it means to be alive. Could have been called The Meaning of Life or Hitchhikers Guide to Existence. Highly recommend the audio version which is beautifully read by the Derren

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Happy with this book!

I haven't reviewed a book before but really enjoyed Derren's narration of his book, so thought I would. Thought provoking without being sickly or holier than thou and with practical advice, I'd recommend it to anyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thought provoking

The author is very sure of his beliefs, which is fine, though the book could be read as didactic. Or rather, misread.

There’s many interesting ideas and concepts from ancient times to modernity, especially from the stoics.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book even though I found myself disagreeing with much of what he says. However, it’s the areas that I don’t concur with that I found most rewarding as it challenged and left me pondering deep questions.

Such books are good for ones own growth and self introspection.

An enjoyable, satisfying and thought provoking book.
I’ve ordered many of the books Derren mentioned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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My sentiments exactly !

There are so many points made in this book that resonated with me. Derren articulates his thoughts on happiness so well that they almost become tangible... Put into order and backed up with research there are great tools here for how to approach things within your control and how to identify and think about things that aren't.

It's fast for an informative book and there is a lot of information... But it isn't overbearing and by the end of a chapter seemingly complex thoughts feel simplified enough to grasp.

Bravo, great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Luc
  • London
  • 19-12-18

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.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • MR
  • 22-11-18

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..

27 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • Gerald
  • 15-02-19

I really enjoyed this.

After hearing Derren on Sam Harris' podcast I immediately put this book in my Wish List and I'm so glad that I purchased this book. If you're looking for a "self-help" book then this is the book for you.

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  • mizzaga
  • 14-02-19

A must-read for anyone in existential crisis.

A must-read for anyone in existential crisis. This will be read again and again throughout my life. Many thanks to Mr Brown for sharing these beautiful thoughts with the world.

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  • Trevor Crandall
  • 14-02-19

I will treasure this book.

this book has changed my mind on mindfulness, and changed my life to purse more meaningful activity in my personal life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-02-19

Hard to follow and listen to

The author Mae a few good points but overall hard to listen to and follow

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  • W. Machanik
  • 23-01-19

Good summary and perspective of the western philosophy towards “happiness”

If you are looking for a western perspective of philosophies of happiness, acceptance and all things stoic then this is a great book. I would recommend it to anyone that is interested in a good summary of what western man has philosophize around the meaning of life, luck and happiness. Darren does appear to enjoy the performance too, making the listening never dull.

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  • D. Berzack
  • 07-01-19

A philosophical chat with a smart, charming buddy

"Happy" is a survey of applied philosophy. like Derren himself, it's very intelligent and approachable. But unlike his TV specials and stage shows, it's not especially memorable.

The value of this book depends heavily on where you stand. I'm quite familiar with philosophy and already on board with Stoic ideals, so this provided a pleasant review, but nothing groundbreaking. For some, this book may be life-changing.

In any case, the audio format is key. Derren's charismatic intellect resonates through his reading, and I think much would be lost in a text version.

Note: Derren, if somehow you read this, they definitely did muck up the cover.

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  • Kyle Downs
  • 26-12-18

Life changing

whether you are new to philosophy or an avid consumer of thoughts about thoughts, you are guaranteed to be delighted

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  • Louis Macareo
  • 24-12-18

Love this book. Loved it.

I was expecting much much less from this book and maybe if all of life is about expectation management than that is why I'm so happy with it, but I think it is more than that. The author takes on way more than a superficial journey through the major schools of philosophy and most of the big names in the history of thinkerswho have written about happiness, how to achieve it and what it is. While his main focus is on the Stoics and cognitive behavioral therapy, which admittedly I have a penchant for, he does not simply leave it there. Derren justifies and supports his ideas as to why he believes in these approaches and then rounds them each out with additional commentary. In the end we are left with a picture of life that is not boring, nor requires deep suffering and neither does it subscribe to the philosophy that we must always be happy like a AAA battery and that we can control things that we cannot control. Very simply the book was eminently reasonable, practical and I might also say quite funny and Derren's delivery due no doubt to his years of practice on the stage. Overall a simply wonderful wonderful book.

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  • GabbyVW
  • 10-12-18

Good enough

A brilliant mix of psychology, philosophy, and Derren Brown’s unique and intelligent interpretation of human society.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew Fisher
  • 15-11-18

Derren, try some drugs.

Happy is a nice way to feel, if feeling nice is what you're trying to do.

Derren can't help but try to control the world, even if only by constructing a worldview in which control is maintained through self-reliance. He's afraid of the true unknown, the question of what if there is no true order, and thus, no self and no reliance. It is the inevitable "truth," but Derren cannot risk facing it. If he could, he would find the beauty beyond happiness. Watch "The 13th Floor." Take mushrooms alone. Read "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." They all tell the same story - if story is the metaphor you like. It is the story of the ever-arbitrary, Infinite Chaos. The only story that matters.

I love Derren, but he really needs to try drugs. Poor Rogan felt like he was talking to a sweet, innocent child. Come on, Derren. It's time.

As for the book, I'm glad Derren took the time to narrate it. So far so good.

3 of 24 people found this review helpful