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The Happy Brain

The Science of Where Happiness Comes From, and Why
Narrated by: Matt Addis
Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)
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Summary

Do you want to be happy? 

If so - listen. This audiobook has all the answers! 

Not really. Sorry. But it does have some very interesting questions and at least the occasional answer. 

The enthusiasm for and expectation of happiness are so widespread today that fundamental questions about it are often overlooked. For starters, the most basic question of all: where does happiness come from? Is it your brain - a mere concoction of chemicals or network of neurons? Is it in fact your gut? (Spoiler alert: yes. Sort of) Or is it external? Is it love or sex or money or success? And what are these doing to our brains anyway? 

In The Happy Brain, Neuroscientist Dean Burnett delves into our most private selves to investigate what causes happiness, where it comes from and why we are so desperate to hang on to it. The questions he raises are ones we so rarely ask today, but they address a major part of what it means to be a modern-day human. 

©2018 Dean Burnett (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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  • John
  • Cheshire UK
  • 08-05-18

Interesting and good listen

Good and well narrated. Interesting subject and extremely well delivered. Breaks down complex ideas into more easily understood chunks

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Well worth a read...

This is Dean Burnett's second book (First was 'The Idiot Brain') and it was as equally informative, entertaining and humorous. Matt Addis' narration style complements Dean Burnett in such a way, you can almost hear Dean talking in the first person because the narration brings out the emotion and humour in the book perfectly.

Despite Dean's claim that both his books are NOT 'self-help books', the information within the books has driven many positive changes in my life. I have not read any other books that have had such a profound and positive effect on me, so they are the best NOT 'self-help books I have ever read.

Thank you Dean for such an excellent book, and thank you Matt for bringing it to life with your flawless narration style. When are you releasing the third? How about a book on Pain Management?

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Better than Idiot Brain!

Very injiyable and informative. Excellently narrated too. I will certainly listen to it again. I thought it better than his first.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Neath, United Kingdom
  • 16-05-18

A neuro adventure, facts, honesty and fun

The Happy Brain tickled my dopamine neurons and made my brain happy. The book is superbly written by Dean Burnett with his mix of high quality science writing, making complex ideas easier to understand, punctuated with sharp yet good natured humour. Matt Addis deserves great credit for his narration too, his perfect pace, rhythm and tone bring the words to life. Most impressive is how both Dean & Matt move between the science and the humour so effortlessly, there is a cheeky grin behind both the writing and delivery I'm sure. Writing and narration in perfect harmony.

The book is a real adventure into the multiple complex causes of happiness and just how different we all are. The book journeys through the whole range of life experiences from childhood, to home, work & fame, money, sex, drugs, social connection, the darker sides of happiness, health and ultimately mortality. The overriding message is that we have find out what makes us happy, there is as far as science knows, no one single answer.

The book added to my understanding of the current neuroscience and there are a number of studies referenced that were new to me. What Dean adds is his ability to make all that science so human with real world stories, his own sometimes painful emotional experiences which he then breaks up with some unexpected humorous twist, some skill that.

For me, The Happy Brain accords with the better science-based books on positive psychology that suggest many ways people have found meaning and happiness in their lives. Just like the best of those books the conclusion is that you have to try the ideas for yourself and see what works for you. Even then the happiness may be fleeting and will almost certainly change over time. The one theme that remains constant across all the work I've seen to date is our need for social connection and to be part of something.

A fact filled, honest, truthful and balanced book that can help us understand that most human search for happiness and just how individual a journey it is for each of us to find it.

More simply, I flippin loved it, thanks lads.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Brain pleasing duo

The combination of Dean's humorous writing and Matt's delivery makes this an instant classic. Thanks guys!

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A good summary of how the brain works and how Happiness is affected

This was a close call between a 4* and 5*. I opted for 4* as I felt it was a little too much on the analysis rather than the mechanisms to achieve happiness, it was more geared towards the breakdown of what goes on in the brain.
Having said that, I would recommend it as there is plenty to keep you interested. Plus the narration was very good. I would even put it on my list to read again.

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Disappointing

I was very disappointed with this book (the audio version). Having a book devoted to 'the science of where happiness comes from' I would have hoped that at the end I would have a definition of happiness and know how it affects the brain, what causes it and so on. Unfortunately, I do not.
The book comes across to me as long-winded waffle. There is some useful nuggets of information, but they are embedded and almost hidden in a lengthy ramble. The book is more of a story about the author's journey exploring the subject rather than concentrating on the subject itself.
The author provides most of his insights from interviews he undertook with various people. To derive conclusions from the commentary of a few individuals seems to me to be quite unscientific. However, the circumstances of each interview are described in excruciating detail. How the author travelled to the interview, where they met, what they ate, etc. etc. In the chapter covering the importance of home to happiness, the author describes at length how he travelled to his childhood home and his feelings on finding it abandoned.
The narration is excellent, but I found the subject matter so dry and drawn out that at times I found myself switching off and not really listening. At other times I wanted to shout out 'Get on with it'. I think that the information provided could have been condensed into a book a tenth of the size.
In the early part of the book the author describes why you cannot see happiness in the brain with an MRI scanner for various reasons, but partly because all of the brain is active all of the time to a greater or lesser degree and emotions such as happiness affect so many parts of the brain. Therefore, it is not possible to point to certain parts of the brain and say they are responsible for happiness. Yet for the rest of the book that is exactly what he did. He kept listing parts of the brain that responded to certain stimuli, but no normal person could have possibly remembered the parts of the brain he was naming so I really did not see the point of doing that apart from trying to add weight to his ramblings.
In the end, I learned that happiness means different things to different people and that all sorts of things can contribute to happiness and some things that can contribute to happiness can have the opposite effect when experienced in excess. Not exactly ground breaking stuff.



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  • Ian D
  • Woodley. Berkshire
  • 11-10-18

Happy Brain, Happy Me!

Loved the first book and loved and enjoyed this one even more. Interesting, amusing and exceptionally well narrated.

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Too much work for the brain

I couldn't finish this book. It's a long listen and the constant identification of various parts of the brain intruded on my ability to absorb the information. At times the author named about six different areas of the brain and, by the time he had finished, I couldn't remember what it was he was talking about. This constant reference to the brain areas completely disrupted the flow of the narration. This happened so often that I just couldn't keep listening. The story could have been half as long (and still would have been more than 5 hours) and more focused. It seemed to wander and ramble and I eventually lost interest. It could have been a much more succinct and positive listen and I can see why it is popular... I just run out of energy to keep my ears open.

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A book about everything AROUND happy brain

A book about everything around HAPPY BRAIN but not focused on the subject in a direct sence. Still a good book to readx but if you are into workings of the brain, you won't find anything new in it. I am a bit dissapointed as it wasn't a good follow up after the previous book "The Idiot Brain" If you however have no knowlende in this major, you shall enjoy the book.