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Happy Hardcover – 1964
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"Witty, useful and beautifully written... this book grapples expansively with the most profound questions any of us face" * The Sunday Times * "Brilliant. Really brilliant and just crammed with wisdom and insight. It will genuinely make a difference to me and the way I think about myself. I'm going to recommend it to everyone I know." -- Stephen Fry "Brown tries to resurrect the original Stoic ambitions here: not just to live well but to die well, too. His book is thoughtful, insightful and ultimately, well, helpful." * Sunday Times Books of the Year * "Til now, we've known Derren Brown as a supreme illusionist and magician. Now he surprises us with a new and brilliant identity: as a philosopher. Not just any philosopher. Brown takes philosophy back to its truest task: that of helping us to live and die well. His book is deeply informative, moving, wise and full of love. It sets out to change lives - and it will. Derren has pulled off a properly implausible trick: that of making the deepest ideas relevant, humane and urgent." -- Alain de Botton "In this wise and perceptive book Derren Brown has conjoined personal experience, profoundly sensible psychology and the magic of philosophy to produce a really excellent account of how to be happy - really, maturely, properly happy. This is a wonderfully educative - and enjoyable! - book, and should be on everyone's reading list, always. " -- A.C. Grayling --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Derren began his UK television career in December 2000 with a series of specials called Mind Control. Since redefining the genre of magic for intelligent, modern audiences, he has become synonymous with the art of psychological manipulation. His TV shows have become must-see events. Amongst a varied and notorious career, Derren has played Russian Roulette on live television, convinced middle-managers to commit an armed robbery in the street, led the nation in a séance, stuck viewers to their sofas, successfully predicted the National Lottery, motivated a shy man to land a packed passenger plane at 30,000 feet, exposed psychic and faith-healing charlatans, and hypnotised a man to assassinate Stephen Fry. On top of this he tours the UK every year w ith a sell-out stage show .
He has published three books: Tricks of the Mind, Confessions of a Conjuror and a book of his caricatures, Portraits.
At home, Derren is a quiet 41-year old w ho paints, keeps a parrot and enjoys Bach. He dislikes mushrooms and blue cheese, and w ishes he could play the piano. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
All of which brings us to this: Happy. Not to mince words, I believe that Derren’s latest book will be truly life-changing for the right type of reader. It is that rarest of books: one that I felt had been written for me personally. There’s very little about magic or illusion in here. This is essentially a 400+ page discourse on the ancient Greek philosophy of Stoicism, and how one might usefully and practically apply it to their own life in order to help bring about that most elusive of goals: Happiness.
Stoicism wasn’t anything new to me. I had fallen in love with the Mediatations of Marcus Aurelius when I was a teenager, and it’s still a book that I pull regularly from the shelf to this day. Derren Brown’s success is in taking the teachings of Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and the other Stoics, and making them both accessible and understandable to a 21st century audience. His method for doing this (the “trick,” if you will) entails the reader coming to understand that his or her entire life is a story; a narrative; one that we tell ourselves about ourselves, and one which ultimately shapes our self-perceptions and worldview.
Many of the principles which can be found at the core of the Stoic philosophy are utterly simple; the devil lies in the execution. Brown explains in great detail how supposedly negative events themselves rarely hurt us; it is usually our beliefs, feelings, or judgments concerning those events which do.
Much space is devoted to the fact that material goods, money, and other ephemeral pleasures rarely serve to bring true lasting happiness. Brown talks about the reasons why this is, citing a great deal of scientific research in addition to quoting other learned authors on the subject of happiness. He also discusses helpful, practical ways in which we can deal with anger, hurt, aggression, addiction, and the ever-present fear of death (the book ends on a tour de force note, with a section on how we can die well).
The book can also be seen as an assault on the multi-billion dollar industry of self-help and positive thinking. Derren reserves much of his ire for fads such as The Secret, and details extensively how “the power of positive thinking” can actually be harmful to us. Take the example of the U.S. airman captured by enemy forces during the Vietnam War. It is both saddening and enlightening to hear that many of those men who did not survive their brutal captivity were optimists by nature, and insisted on thinking positively: “We’ll be out by Christmas…OK, we’ll be out by the 4th of July…OK, we’ll be out by Thanksgiving…” When holiday after holiday rolled around and they found themselves to be still incarcerated, many of these POWs began to literally curl up and die…whereas the officer who fell back upon the principals of Seneca and the Stoics made it through eight years of hell, ultimately surviving to regain his freedom.
I am going to make a concerted attempt to incorporate some of these concepts into my own way of thinking and living, and I heartily commend Derren’s book to everybody. Everybody. We can all learn something from this well thought-out piece of philosophical writing, and I would go so far as to say that it is currently my favorite book of 2016.
Pick up a copy and read it carefully. I doubt that you’ll be disappointed.
A wonderful vocabulary, I am now completely enamoured by the concept of eudaimonia. The only reason for not giving it a 5 is I found the book a little verbose, even though the content was fantastic.