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Hector & the Search for Happiness: Hector's Journeys 1 [Paperback]

François Lelord , Lorenza Garcia (Translator)
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

1 April 2010 Hector's Journeys
Can we learn how to be happy? Hector is a successful young psychiatrist. He's very good at treating patients in real need of his help. But many people he sees have no health problems: they're just deeply dissatisfied with their lives. Hector can't do much for them, and it's beginning to depress him. So when a patient tells him he looks in need of a holiday, Hector decides to set off round the world to find out what makes people everywhere happy (and sad), and whether there is such a thing as the secret of true happiness...

Soon to be a major motion picture.

Frequently Bought Together

Hector & the Search for Happiness: Hector's Journeys 1 + Hector & the Secrets of Love: Hector's Journeys 2 + Hector Finds Time: Hector's Journeys 3
Price For All Three: £18.65

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Product details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Gallic Books (1 April 2010)
  • Language: German
  • ISBN-10: 1906040230
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906040239
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

François Lelord studied and practiced psychiatry in Paris, and was a consultant for companies interested in reducing stress for their employees. On a trip to Hong Kong, the Hector character popped into his mind. The huge success of 'Hector and the Search for Happiness' led him to spend more time writing and travelling, ending up in Vietnam during the Sars epidemic. There he practiced psychiatry for a French NGO and met his future wife Phuong. Today they live in Thailand. The Hector's Journeys series is available in English from Gallic Books.

Product Description

Review

Provides a dollop of warm, fuzzy, feel-good escapism --Woman

Intelligently naïve --Marie Claire Marie Claire

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

A feel-good gem ... Francois Lelord has created a 21st-Century hero in kind-hearted psychiatrist Hector, who travels the globe to find out what makes people happy. --Good Housekeeping

A series of philosophical bonnes bouches ... their effect is unexpectedly cheering --The Independent

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

This book is really quite funny.Dryly funny. It also has a genuine edge to it, with on-the-button observations about human behaviour and the way they think and behave. It is these qualities that make this book so clever and enjoyable. Written in the style of a children's book or fairytale in simple language, this book is quite knowing: the faux naive style contrasting with a plot that sees Hector consorting with prostitutes, cosying up to drug barons and being kidnapped by criminals. I found Hector's journey hugely enjoyable and with just that little cynical edge to make it doubly delicious. --Rosy Barnes

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

This book is really quite funny.Dryly funny. It also has a genuine edge to it, with on-the-button observations about human behaviour and the way they think and behave. It is these qualities that make this book so clever and enjoyable. Written in the style of a children's book or fairytale in simple language, this book is quite knowing: the faux naive style contrasting with a plot that sees Hector consorting with prostitutes, cosying up to drug barons and being kidnapped by criminals. I found Hector's journey hugely enjoyable and with just that little cynical edge to make it doubly delicious. --Rosy Barnes

About the Author

François Lelord studied and practiced psychiatry in Paris, and was a consultant for companies interested in reducing stress for their employees. On a trip to Hong Kong, the Hector character popped into his mind. The huge success of 'Hector and the Search for Happiness' led him to spend more time writing and travelling, ending up in Vietnam during the Sars epidemic. There he practiced psychiatry for a French NGO and met his future wife Phuong. Today they live in Thailand. The Hector's Journeys series is available in English from Gallic Books.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple, charming and insightful 12 April 2010
By Catkin
Format:Paperback
I heartily recommend this wonderful little book. It only takes a few hours to read and is written in such a simple style, as if the author was speaking to a child. Yet you soon find yourself reading about prostitution, globalisation and death, as Hector attempts to uncover what makes people happy (or unhappy) around the world. Hector's discoveries about happiness are not new information - you'll find them in any literature on happiness - but the way they are presented, woven into the story, is clever and much more thought-provoking. The penultimate chapter, when Hector meets the professor, is a bit clunky and laboured compared with the rest of the story but I finished the book with a smile on my face and a sense of clarity about what I wanted to do with my career. Not bad for a little book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational yet down to earth 8 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
This book seems deceptively simple and naive in its style but manages to pull out life lessons in each chapter. Hector's search for happiness is actually about what is really important in life. There is no preaching but gentle questioning and a variety of experiences help Hector and the reader to come to a positive conclusion. It is an easy read that has hidden depths which made me smile and ponder.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My mate, Hector! 22 April 2010
By Verve
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hector is a real gem of a character, and this book is an easy-ride in the nicest, cuddliest kind of way... smooth prose and dry wit that translates beautifully. I bought this recently and have just ordered another copy as a birthday gift. It's not that it's an everyman story it's that it probably couldn't offend a soul and will most likely amuse and warm the hearts of most readers. And it's true, despite being a light read, it is thought provoking, and I found myself working through a few things as I went along, hard not to given the subject matter. But there's a light touch at work here and the humour is totally uplifting.
Though much deeper, I will also recommend,
Soothing Music for Stray Cats by Jayne Joso especially for those interested in psychology and how to deal with the heavier stuff in life.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Jackie
Format:Paperback
Hector and the Search for Happiness is a short, quirky book about one man's search for happiness.

Hector is a young psychiatrist who decides to travel around the world finding out what makes people in other countries happy. As he learns about their feelings he makes notes, developing a set of rules which he uses to find happiness within himself.

The writing was very simple, almost child-like and the entire book can be read very quickly.

I think my main problem with this book was that it wasn't really a novel. It had much more in common with a self-help guide, a type of book that I avoid. Perhaps I'm just lucky enough to already know that the secret of happiness relies on strong relationships and not material wealth, but I felt I gained nothing from reading this book.

I found the lessons to be patronising and there were several points when I wanted to throw this book across the room.

"Lesson no. 12: It is harder to be happy in a country run by bad people."

and possibly even more annoying:

"Lesson no. 22: Women care more than men about making others happy. "

I think this book will appeal to fans of The Five People You Meet in Heaven and self-help guides, but I found it to be overly sentimental.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Light-Hearted and Easy Read 1 April 2010
By Mrs. C. Colbert VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This took me quite a while to get used to the child-like style of writing, and at first I wasn't sure if it was meant for adults or children, but once I'd got further into Hector's story I really, really enjoyed it.

As he travelled round the world from China to the country of MORE (we never actually know the name but would presume it's the USA!) he met many people and as he got to know them and talked to them, he compiled a list of the things that he thought made people happy. I won't list them all here as there's over 20 but I will mention a few :-

Lesson No. 2: Happiness often comes when least expected.

Lesson No. 6: Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains.

Lesson No. 8: Happiness is being with the people you love.

Lesson No. 13: Happiness is feeling useful to others.

This is a lovely simple story told in a way that makes you think about what makes YOU happy. Also, Hector came to realise what really made HIM happy as well, though he didn't know it when he first started his journey.

I thought Hector was a wonderful friendly character who brought out the best in people (probably due to being a psychiatrist), he made me smile more than once, as well as feel sad when we both realised that the beautiful young Chinese woman wasn't just being 'friendly' to him but was just doing her 'job'..... aaahhhh. It was then I also realised that it wasn't a children's book! Not that it was overly graphic or descriptive, some things were left to the imagination.

If you're looking for a light-hearted and easy read then why not give this a try?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is happiness? 29 July 2010
Format:Paperback
Brilliant little novel - a sort of current day 'Sophie's World' (Jostein Gaarder) but much more simplistic in approach and single-minded in ambition - amounting to a deceptively simple exposé of the philosophy of happiness.

Join psychiatrist Hector as he leaves his successful practice and disillusioned clients and journeys around the world in pursuit of the true meaning of happiness. An entanglement of emotions in China, a close shave with a powerful drug lord, interview with a Buddhist monk and a foray into family life in the country of more and plenty all help Hector compile his list of lessons to understand happiness.

I've spent many an idle moment wondering about the modern preoccupation with 'being happy' and 'happiness' and this cleverly-written, witty book narrows my own thoughts in just the right way. It reads so well that I can only assume the translator has done an excellent job, though I like the book so much I'm almost tempted to brush up on my French and have a go at the original (with the aid of my dictionary!). Short and lightweight reading - perfect for holidays, journeys, or just a few spare hours at any time. Fiction, philosophy, self-help? - it doesn't matter how you see it, it's a great book. An unreserved 5 stars - *****.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt Hector
A psychiatrist's chair of a book as Hector searches for happiness as a child would look through a chest for his favourite toy. Read more
Published 1 month ago by nickyb
5.0 out of 5 stars looking at happiness across the world
Great romp through the world looking how the other half live and that really no one can complain about their lot. Can't wait to see the film
Published 1 month ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I am writing this 5 star review by way of thanks to M Lelord for writing such a beautiful piece about life. Read more
Published 7 months ago by olivia
3.0 out of 5 stars Different
I read this a few weeks ago, and don't recall a lot of it now, so it can't have been that amazing. I do remember some of it being quite amusing though.
Published 8 months ago by Mary Rayment
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely uplifting book
Not quite what I expected (not as didactic and without firm endings), but I think this a good thing. Warm, funny, human. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Ms. AC Hodges
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Brilliant little book. I read it in a few hours and enjoyed every page. Simple easy reading with a heartwarming message
Published 14 months ago by SD
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
I simple straight forward book and easy to read. It kept me interested all the way through and I am thinking of getting more in the series.
Published 15 months ago by Barbara Stead
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, brilliant book.
I read this book last summer, and it was just fantastic. However as a warning to people who expect a strong story with lots of drama and adventure maybe you should try a different... Read more
Published on 12 July 2011 by CKobrak
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple lessons about happiness
The strength of this book resides in its simple language, written as if it were a fairy tale. We join Hector in his journey around the world looking for what makes people happy and... Read more
Published on 10 May 2011 by M.I.
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming and thoroughly enjoyable
An incredibly easy read and a quirky and enjoyable book. I loved it and couldn't put it down. It's charming and different and I highly recommend it
Published on 23 Feb 2011 by CAROLINE
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