Hector and the Search for Happiness: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Hector and the Search for Happiness Paperback – Bargain Price, August 31, 2010

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Paperback, Bargain Price, August 31, 2010
$5.00 $3.00
Multimedia CD
"Please retry"

This is a bargain book and quantities are limited. Bargain books are new but could include a small mark from the publisher and an Amazon.com price sticker identifying them as such. Details

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143118390
  • ASIN: B004J8HWX2
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This trite debut follows a psychiatrist named Hector as he attempts to understand "what made people happy." At a crossroads professionally and personally, Hector resolves to take a trip, first landing in China, where he reconnects with an old friend and encounters Ying Li, with whom he spends a night. He also meets an old monk who offers a bit of happiness-related wisdom. Having suffered disappointment in his relations with Ying Li, Hector next heads to Africa, where he makes the acquaintance of a drug lord with a depressed wife, is kidnapped, and learns that "it's harder to be happy in a country run by bad people." Next up is the "big country where there were more psychiatrists than anywhere else in the world" and a meeting with a professor of "Happiness Studies." Lelord, a psychiatrist, writes in the simple prose you'd find in a children's book, and this stylistic choice quickly becomes irredeemably grating. Though the book is an international bestseller, it is far less a novel than a maudlin self-help guide that substitutes pat aphorisms for development.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Utterly charming...Hector and the Search for Happiness turns psychological research into a fast-paced, enchanting story. Lelord himself is a psychiatrist, and his interest in the human mind is infectious... Fans of Eat, Pray, Love and The Elegance of the Hedgehog won't want to miss this gem of a book."

"Unexpectedly cheering."
-The Independent (London)

"Even the most aloof, the most detached reader will be won over by this book."
-Cosmopolitan (Germany)

"A feel-good gem . . . Francois Lelord has created a 21st-century hero."
-Good Housekeeping (UK)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

The writing style was very refreshing.
Isabel Tan
Do you go through life not believing in God because "you don't choose whether to believe in God or not"?
Amazon Customer
I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book, but it was decent.
A. E. Handley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Z. Barr on January 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
My name is Zach and I work as a loss prevention associate at well known chain of stores in the US. Over the past few weeks I kept noticing a book in our "bargain bin" titled "Hector and the Search for Happiness". On a whim I decided to buy it because I had recently finished all of the books I had received as Christmas presents and thought that the title was interesting.

Needless to say, I was on my lunch break and found myself devouring this book. Page by page I found myself not only loving the whimsical writing style but the simplicity of the character and his encounters. I have noticed that a lot of people have written negative reviews about this book because it seemed so childish...which I found amusing because who in the world can claim they are more happy than a child? Anyway, after reading the book I found myself reflecting more and more about the true meaning of the book which led me to a few conclusions. First of all, I believe this book was specifically written this way because most people dig far too deep into the issues that make them unhappy. If this book has taught us anything it is that happiness is solely reflective of the simplicity of happiness. Be happy about your friends and family, be happy about your ability to survive, be happy about the things that would make you happy if you weren't as fortunate as you are now, etc...I must have read at least 50 reviews that claimed the book was too basic and I think that all those people have unfortunately missed the point. Over-analyzing brings unhappiness. If you think in terms of simplicity, you will find that Hector's adventures are true for all of us. Sure, he dabbles in some questionable behavior throughout the book but what reader hasn't?
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By K Sprite TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have totally mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, you have to really give some love to someone who writes a book about happiness. There seemed to be a lot of thought put into this book, genuine research with real scientists at UCLA who study what makes people happy, because it is somewhat of an art and skill that can be learned. So kudos to the author for writing a book that tries to share with us his the formula for happiness. And really, there are some good reminders in there for us. If you write down the list (that Hector keeps), which is a pretty simple list, you can pretty much keep remind yourself of when you are straying from thoughts and behaviors that keep you happy. Though some are intagible, like "Living in a country where the government treats you well." So, I compliment the author on his good intentions.

Ok, so why only three stars? I found the whimsical parable-like children's book style of writing to be completely inconsistent with the character's behavior. It seemed kind of charming and adorable at first, but then it got totally annoying. Especially since you'd be skimming along quite nicely, thinking it was a Universal tale with Universal themes (and thus the parable-like narration)and then next thing you know the author is sleeping with a prostitute. Of course, the character writes in such a naive tone that he didn't realize it was a prostitute - Oops! But I thought that was really jarring - especially since the main character, Hector, had a girlfriend at home when he did this. He went off and slept with another woman too, just because he could. I realize that he is a young French man, and that is what young boys can do in their quest for happiness, but it really didn't fit in with the tone of the book at all.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By H. S. Wedekind VINE VOICE on November 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
After reading this little book, which is quite humorous, especially if you've ever been seen by a psychiatrist, I decided to find out if there was, indeed, a college or university somewhere that actually has a Happiness Studies Department like the one Hector visits on his quest in "the country of More" (aka the USA, though the author calls some countries by their name and makes up different names for others). I mean, we've all heard about ridiculous courses offered at Institutions of Higher Learning, like the old joke about students being able to take "Basket Weaving" for credit, or a college course being offered at the University of South Carolina called "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame". But there are other real programs of study that make you wonder where all the money is going that you shell out to send your child to such a school. I know first hand how incredibly expensive a college education is today, as my son's college is siphoning money out of my bank account as I write this. Anyway, there actually is a Happiness Studies Department at Harvard. It's part of their medical school and they've followed something like 5,000 people over the course of twenty years to find out what makes people happy. It seems that happy people associating with other happy people can make them happy. Having happy friends, who have happy friends, who have happy friends, on and on exponentially, leads to happiness all around, I guess. Thankfully, or should I say "happily", the study showed that sadness cannot be passed on from person to person like the flu.

So maybe Hector's search for happiness is not that strange after all. Perhaps Dr. Francois Lelord, the author, started out writing what he thought would be a funny book and ended up with a serious position paper on that very subject, or vice versa.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?