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

142 customer reviews

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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.
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Review

"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."
-BookPage

"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)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143118390
  • ASIN: B004J8HWX2
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,284,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 93 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?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By H. Koegler on November 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
Francois Lelord describes in an easy manner Hector’s travel and his search for happiness. He is a psychologist, successful at his job, but left with the feeling of lacking happiness in his life. He not only feels dissatisfied with himself, but his inability to make his clients feel very happy also saddens him. So he is starting a journey to discover happiness. The book is an easy read, very recommendable!

To discover your own happiness, I also recommend: "Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work" by Ariel and Shya Kane. The magic of each moment is the key to satisfaction: if you are able to value each moment of your life, happiness will come along. But if your mind is occupied with expectations of what should happen, you cannot appreciate what is given to you in this moment, because you are not there for it. The authors describe in a humorous way how you can “develop” a neutral way of seeing your own behavior and how unexpected ways bring you closer to happiness.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful By K Sprite VINE 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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Meredith VINE VOICE on August 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I overlooked this book more than once, thinking it was a children's book. Thank goodness I finally gave it a go!

From the moment I started reading the first chapter, I was hooked. The language is that of a child's fable, explaining things in simple language. It certainly made it entertaining from the start.

The book itself, a tale about a psychiatrist's search for the meaning of happiness, isn't a new one. Hector's search takes him on many adventures to China, Africa and the country of "More". He meets several people who help him define happiness in different ways.

If you are looking for an end of the book heart swelling moment, you will be disappointed. It does not take away, however, from the joy of reading this tale. Simply written, simple story, wonderful experience.
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