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Hector and the Search for Happiness: Hector's Journeys 1 Paperback – 1 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Gallic Books (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906040230
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906040239
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,984 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

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

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

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Catkin on 12 April 2010
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Riane Revah on 4 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a chance purchase, at an airport where the rather unusual cover suggested a closer look. I was not disappointed. The book is an enchanting tale written in an ingenuous simplistic manner, about a psychoanalyst who is facing emotional burn-out, is encouraged to go on holiday, and decides to travel all over the world to find out if there is a magic recipe for happiness. He meets his old friends, drinks, and engages in sexual activity, questioning what it is that makes people happy. The places he visits and the people he meets provide some answers, which he compiles into a list; a list which should be compulsory reading for everybody. Every page had me smiling. Stranded in the Alps because of the volcanic cloud, with a fractious 12 year old,it was a blessing. I read it, and smiled. Then she read it, and smiled. Then I passed it on to our very generous host, Guillaume. I have no doubt he smiled too. On our eventual return, I bought another copy for another daughter, who loved it. So much so that we could hardly wait for the next book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Barnes on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CKobrak on 12 July 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
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 novel as this one is more about searching for happiness and the different people Hector meets. I am about to start reading the next book in the series Hector & the Secrets of Love (Hector's Journeys)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By nickyboy1 on 4 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
A friend recommended this book. I could barely manage 10% of it. The writing style would patronise a 4 year old. The 'intelligent' pychiatrist Hector goes on a world tour. He arrives first in China and is surprised to find modern office buildings and men in business suits rather than scenes from his childhood Tin Tin book. Through a series of dull, laboriously described encounters, Hector discovers a series of banal observations about happiness. I don't know if Hector absent mindedly discovered marmalade on his jacket at some point but it would not surprise me. Trite, condescending and irritating
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By Annabel Gaskell VINE VOICE on 10 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book has a simple premise. Hector is a young psychiatrist; he loves his job and is good at it, but he's finding that sorting out depressed people every day was beginning to drag him down too. Also his longterm relationship with Clara is stagnating. So he decides to take time off and travel around the world visiting his friends and colleagues to see if he can find out the secrets of happiness. He flies off around the world where he meets and falls for a Chinese callgirl, encounters a very wise old Chinese monk, negotiates with drug barons and gets kidnapped in Africa, and visits a professor of happiness while staying with friends in the land of `More' before returning to work via another visit to the Chinese monk to tell him what he'd found out. All ends are tied then up neatly.

Hector's author is himself a psychiatrist, and in the short Q&A at the back, he tells how he wanted to write a sort-of self-help book as a novel, but it is this epithet of `self-help' that seems to have put peoples' backs up. If you ignore this aspect and read it as a novel, it is great fun, full of great observations about life, and it definitely has a droll sense of humour. The naive fablelistic (is that a word?) style may not be to everyone's liking but suited me fine, although the neat ending was a bit of a copout.

This the fourth title I've read from 'Gallic Books' and I've enjoyed all of them, finding a strong liking for contemporary French literature.
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