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Summary

Happiness is something that we can spend our entire lives chasing. It can be fleeting, elusive and yet harder still to define on a deeper level. Sometimes, all it takes is a shift in perception for us to change how we feel. This thought-provoking audiobook challenges our view of how we define happiness.

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 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)2016 Random House Audiobooks

What members say

Average customer ratings

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

A disastrous narrator. I'll be asking for a refund

I pre-ordered this book because I enjoyed Derren Brown's previous book, "Confessions of a Conjuror". That previous work had a few flaws with regards to the text itself, but the perfomance (by the author) was superb. It quickly became one of my favourite audiobooks of all time.

This is quite the reverse. The material seems very interesting indeed (if quite similar to "The Antidote" by Oliver Burkemann), but I was unable to finish even the first chapter due to the lifeless droning narrator. Seriously, a text-to-speech program could have done a better job.

I have been an Audible user for a few years now, and have over 100 books in my library. This is the first time I have ever asked for a refund.

A message to the publisher: withdraw this book, and get the author to narrate it himself. I don't care how long it takes, or how much it costs. We can wait.

122 of 124 people found this review helpful

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

Narration is awful and distracting

It even says in the blurb for the audio book that it's narrated by Derren Brown and Jot Davis. In fact it's entirely Jot Davis and he's not doing a good job, the way he reads the book is truly distracting from the contents which is a massive shame. I'll be reading this on kindle instead. Giving up half way through. Luckily audible refund without a quibble.

71 of 72 people found this review 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

Bad narration

I don't think I'll be able to get to the end of this book. The narrator's overly sing-song style makes it really hard to follow what's going on. He somehow removes all the meaning from the words so I lose concentration really fast and am not getting anything out of it.
I'll probably try again if someone else rerecords it though.

48 of 49 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

terrible narrator

What disappointed you about Happy?

not read by derren brown and what is it with the gasp of breath. I could not get past the first chapter. What a shame I was so looking forward to this book. Surely Audible listen to these people before sending this rubbish out

What was most disappointing about Derren Brown’s story?

never got to read it

How could the performance have been better?

stop gasping, the bit I read was gasp after after sharp intakes of breath

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Happy?

change narrator

Any additional comments?

These should be vetted by audible

71 of 73 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Impossible to follow due to the narration

Like several others, I'm really disappointed by the narration of this book. Not being narrated by the author wasn't a deal breaker but this guy's inflections and sing-song tones are so annoying it makes the book impossible to follow.

46 of 47 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Can't take any more!

I'm 3 hours into this book and have given it a good go but the narrator is doing my head in and I'm feeling quite un-"HAPPY" listening to it sorry Derren.

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

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

Buy the physical book

I like Derren, and preordered this audiobook. With great excitement I started listening to it, but alas I could not. Some stranger was narrating it - badly. Actually that's probably unfair: the bottom line is he's the wrong choice of narrator. It doesn't *have* to be Derren, but at the same time he detracts so much from the content that believe me when I say you won't get through the book by listening to it. If you can get the actual copy to read, then please do so. It's a great book, with some profound insights. Just avoid this version.

15 of 15 people found this review 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

RUINED BY DREADFUL NARRATION!!

What disappointed you about Happy?

I pre ordered this audiobook. It didn't say who the narrator was. I had hoped it would be Derren Brown, but was still looking forward to listening even if it wasn't.

Imagine my dismay when I discovered that this is yet another good book that has been ruined by Jot Davies!
It's just unlistenable. Every sentence is delivered with exactly the same irritating cadence which gets more infuriating every time you hear it until, after about 2 minutes, you have to turn it off to stop yourself from punching something. Such an effort is being made to try to add inflection to each individual word that the overall modulation is jarringly unnatural and bears no relation to the message of the sentence, making it impossible to follow.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I haven't been able to get past the first 5 minutes. I'll be returning it and buying the paperback book instead.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Jot Davies?

Derren Brown. Failing that LITERALLY ANYONE ELSE.

What character would you cut from Happy?

Jot Davies.

Any additional comments?

Please stop ruining good books with this narrator. Please.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

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

Very disappointing .

Content was rambling and lacked purpose. Narration was worse. I like the author normally, but don't bother with this one.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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

Look at the reviews before you buy this!

What disappointed you about Happy?

The narrator is truly awful! I am so annoyed with myself that I didn't look at the reviews prior to the download.

Would you ever listen to anything by Derren Brown again?

Not if Jot Davies reads it!

How could the performance have been better?

To stop reading each sentence as if it were the only one on the page - someone else has mentioned the upwards inflection of each sentence - deeply, deeply irritating - sapping each sentence of life and meaning,

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It may have done but I couldn't get passed the narrator.

38 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Esmee
  • 12-11-16

Lovely book - but read, don't listen

Would you listen to Happy again? Why?

No unfortunately not. I would definitely re-read the book, but I didn't like Jot Davies's voice at all. I pre-ordered the audiobook, while it still said Derren Brown would narrate it. I listened to his other audiobooks - narrated by himself - which I immensely loved. I was therefore quite disappointed to find it was narrated by someone else, and unfortunately with a voice that wasn't easy to listen to. However, taking a more Stoic approach: nothing to do about it and fortunately I have the story in book-form. No harm done.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The narrative gives a very helpful approach to different aspects of life with many references to ancient Greec philosophy.

What didn’t you like about Jot Davies’s performance?

The tone of his voice went up every few words. This made it very annoying to listen to his voice.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • D.S. Moss
  • 22-05-17

Unbearable narrator

I'm a fan of Derren Brown and was looking forward to this book, however, the narration voice is unbearable. It's as though Jot Davies is reading a children's novel to a room of 5-year-olds. Not happy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lawnchair King
  • 04-05-17

Well supported and thought out. Terrible narration

What did you like best about Happy? What did you like least?

It is a light approach to some serious subject matter. I think Derren Brown has put a lot of thought and work into it. But the entire narration is painful to listen to, as though every word or every other word is emphasized to be 'happy'. Literally, I have to repeat what is said in my head to make sense of the reading that is much more suited for a Dr. Seuss book read for kids. It is a shame. It is almost a parody or sarcastic tone. I sampled some other narrations by Jot Davies, and he does a much better job on those. Perhaps he needs a plot and characters to be able to visualize what he is reading.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jot Davies’s performances?

Not without sampling it. Sorry to be so critical, but listening to him narrate this is painful, distracting and frustrating.

Any additional comments?

It is a harsh review I know, but now that there is an Audible version of 'Happy', I suppose it will be almost impossible to have another made.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Bryan
  • 10-11-16

I wish it was read by Derren Brown...

If you could sum up Happy in three words, what would they be?

Derren didn't read.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Happy?

One of the most memorable moments of Happy was that it wasn't read by Derren Brown.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jot Davies and Derren Brown ?

Instead of Jot Davies and Derren Brown, I would have cast Derren Brown as narrator for the book in its entirety.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I had an extreme reaction to this book. It was when I was disappointed that it wasn't read by Derren Brown.

Any additional comments?

I would have paid more money to have it read by Derren Brown.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • jason
  • 06-12-16

Good book bad narration

Really hard to get pass the narration, wished Derren narrated it. Good points explored and brought up! Although Derren likes to ramble on a bit at some instances, I would have enjoyed all of it if the narration could have delivered it better.

If you can't get past the narration, its still worth buying the book~

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 10-11-16

No Derren

The book is good. It espouses the benefits of stoic philosophy. It gives good examples. It teaches you about languaging and how you can control your reaction to things. Which is why I'm not upset that Derren didn't read it *sob* no really I'll be ok. Things are neither good nor bad but thinking makes them so...... If you need me I'll be in my room.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Netman
  • 31-01-18

Thought provoking

Interesting book, very thought provoking and made some very good points. Read it for yourself, but if you listen...I hope you can cope with moronic interrogative. I almost turned it off because of the narration. I shall avoid this narrator at all cost.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Edward
  • 16-10-17

Couldn’t listen to another minute

The content sounded like it might be worthwhile but I was too distracted by the narration. Imagine having Siri read to you in a male British voice and that’s pretty much what this is like. Or, even worse, it sounded almost like he was trying to sing the words, to make them have a musical cadence or...something. Maybe a Brit would love it? I don’t know. I did not.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • 05-10-17

I never finished the book.

Although the content appears interesting and I love me some Derren Brown the sound of the Jot's voice reading the book along with his tonal changes is impossible to endure. I thought I could but I need to get better at picking up on the performance of the reader. Another book I can't stand another minute of listening to. I will read the paper back instead.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-18

Like everything Derren Brown does

this book contains deep thinking about what really can make us happy. Derren always respects his audience, and his work is evidence of that.