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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended
This is an excellent and thought-provoking read. The Happy Depressive isn't another self-help book but then I don't think Alastair Campbell set out to write one of those. The book sees the author draw very candidly upon many of his own personal experiences, setting them in a context that will be recognised by most readers, whether or not their lives have been affected...
Published on 13 Jan 2012 by johnmc72

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3.0 out of 5 stars More of an Essay
Whilst an interesting enough read in its way, this book is much more of an elongated essay than anything else. To paraphrase Dr Johnston on the Giant's Causeway (worth seeing but not worth going to see) I would rate it as worth reading but not worth buying.
Published 8 months ago by BabyBoomer1


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommended, 13 Jan 2012
This is an excellent and thought-provoking read. The Happy Depressive isn't another self-help book but then I don't think Alastair Campbell set out to write one of those. The book sees the author draw very candidly upon many of his own personal experiences, setting them in a context that will be recognised by most readers, whether or not their lives have been affected by mental illness. The book challenges the political classes to consider more carefully than ever before how policies impact the wellbeing of individuals, communities and countries. This is especially relevant in this period of austerity.

Where the book is particularly effective is in distinguishing between depression and unhappiness. Depression, like any other illness, pays no respect to relationships, income or lifestyle. If this book achieves just one thing, I hope it can help explain to sufferers and non-sufferers that a feeling of unhappiness is not the same as a state of depression and perhaps more importantly, depressives can feel great happiness. That's why the title of the book really works.

So I would thoroughly recommend this book to you if you suffer from depression or don't, if you are in a relationship with a sufferer or not, if you're a parent, a political animal or party animal! I hope this isn't the last time Alastair Campbell writes on these issues.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Happy Depressive, 23 Jan 2012
What is happiness? That's the question Alastair Campbell tries to answer in this searingly honest account of living with depression.
Yes, the politics and policies that can contribute to our happiness are examined, but the most moving sections are his personal battles with the down days.

It's hard not to read the part about his breakdown, without tears. The picture of this strong, clever man, reduced to piling his possessions on the floor, and being arrested, is heart-wrenching.

As Tony Blair's Director of Communications, he was a formidable figure in British politics. You may like him or loathe him. But few would deny that it takes huge guts to admit things like his battle with alcohol.

The methods for coping are in here too -- with an acknowledgment that they're not always foolproof.

And he writes openly about the nature of friendship and family, including the death of close friends, that will make you think carefully about what and whom you value in your life.

I was reading it on a grim, grey, wet January morning. When I finished, I looked out the window, and a patch of blue had appeared. Read this, it will make you think, and be happier.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful meditation on happiness from a personal and political perspective, 10 Feb 2012
By 
joc66 (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I was lucky enough to hear Alastair Campbell give "The Happiness Lecture" in Birmingham last year, and reading this e-book reminded me just how much I'd enjoyed the lecture at the time. Although this is short, Campbell has much to say about his two main themes. Firstly, the role governments should play in happiness creation, and secondly, how and when individuals can be truly happy. Of course, Campbell's work as a journalist and within government and also his struggle with depression mean that his is a view that is worth listening to. He is very willing to draw on personal experiences to develop his arguments whether about the trial of following a football team that plays four hours away from where you live, the sheer panic of suffering a breakdown or the emotions felt watching a dear friend die of cancer. As others have noted, it continues Campbell's efforts break down the taboo about mental illness but it is also much much more. This is a quick read, packed with insight and I thoroughly recommend it as an antidote to the materialism and short-term gratification we all too often mistake for happiness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading, 14 Jan 2012
By 
LyzzyBee (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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(Bought 13 January 2012 - Kindle)

"I hope that by the time I die I will have played a part in ending the stigma and taboo surrounding mental illness". Alastair Campbell, I think you've played that part already, and this book will help you do more to achieve this goal.

I bought this book on a whim, because a friend Tweeted that she'd bought it (internet marketers, take note: it wasn't even a review. It was a note that she'd bought it). And I'm glad I did. Loosely based on Campbell's Happiness Lecture at Birmingham University (my alma mater and ex-employer, but no, I didn't manage to get to the lecture), this extended essay is a very honest and personal discussion of what it's like to be depressed: what it's actually like, in detail. It's also a musing on what "happiness" is and whether a depressed person is every truly happy, and a discussion of the things that help Campbell, and might help other people. He's careful to avoid preaching and telling people what to do, but the concrete examples about how altruism, exercise and the application of his mind to new things help him will surely bring comfort to people who aren't so used to managing their depression. I'd forgotten he's a runner, but that made sense - running certainly keeps me sane, and not just because I've got a busy lifestyle. And there's much more to identify with, personally - I'm glad I'm not the only person to sob my way through Olympic or other major sporting events, for a start!

But it's not all personal stuff: the political features heavily, too - but that shouldn't put people off, as it's the author's main arena, or was for many years, and he has much to say that's of real and practical interest. I was pleased to find an actual explanation of the Bhutan Gross National Happiness idea rather than the usual glib reference to it - spelled out and explained, it makes a lot of sense with its discussions around sustainability and support. There's a fair treatment of Cameron's aim to improve happiness in the UK population, and a notable discussion of the way newspapers have become more and more negative, feeding, to some extent, a culture of miserable envy.

Brave, intelligent, moving - often funny - well-written ... the only fault of this book is that it's not long enough! I've already recommended it to someone looking for resources on how to explain their depression.

This should be required reading for anyone who deals with the political, medical and social implications of depression and other mental health issues. Anyone who is or has been depressed (I'll count myself in that band: this is about honesty, after all). Anyone who has a friend or family member going through depression. Oh: that would be everybody, then.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ, 30 Jan 2012
This is one of the BEST books i have ever read, it is well worth purchasing you will NOT be disappointed Buy it now it is an Amazing read !! My favorite book of ALL time remains ALL IN THE MIND by the same Author again a must read book !!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars happy depressive, 28 Jan 2012
An excellent read. You can't read this and not see bits of yourself. An honest account of dealing with life and what it can through at you. A Campbell explains in quite a graphic way what is like to live inside the depressives bubble. I hope his recommendations to Cameron are acted upon but I dout it.It does show there is light at the end of the tunnel. A must read and a real bargain on the kindle
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read, 24 Jan 2012
As a person who suffers from depression I must admit I was a bit sceptical about reading this book,how wrong I was,Alastair has used the English language in a great way to describe the mental health problems,if anything the book could have been a bit longer as there were things that I feel were missed but we all suffer in different ways.Would love to write a longer review but I don't have a great command of the English language.Maybe looking at people's working habits could be a subject for how it affects depression .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Happy Depressive, 17 Jan 2012
I felt this was an honest and thoughtful account by Alastair Campbell . I have to admit this was the first e book I have bought and wondered whether it would live up to my expectations and it certainly did. From the moment Alastair stated he wondered why he had been chosen to do a happiness lecture , I knew I wanted to find out and to find out what he felt. I wasn't disappointed. I found it an emotional journey , where I cried and laughed at times with his honest approach to his life . I thought , yes I feel like that at times !! I enjoy books that make me think , one's I can relate to and this book had all this. I don't want to give too much away as sometimes reviews can reveal too much. What I do say is , I recommend his book and I am sure you will enjoy the book as much as I did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any idiot can be happy - clever people have to work harder at it, 12 Jan 2012
As an insomniac packing a Kindle this one hit my brain before 9.00am on the date of publication and I can certainly think of worse ways to start the day. Alistair Campbell is a proper journalist and writer with a refreshingly rigorous, honest and (thank heaven) unsentimental approach. If you want to know how he has climbed out of a crappy place and found a way of living that encompasses an intelligent and pragmatic approach to dealing with life's biggest questions read on. If you want to listen to some wierdo with hairy socks and sandals talking about how lighting a candle and writing a rude letter to the people who bullied you at school will heal your troubled soul this probably isn't the one for you. Personally I could listen to this man all day and I don't even agree with his politics - I certainly don't agree with his football loyalties....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 July 2014
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N. Blake - See all my reviews
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Loved this book, as I have all his books on addiction and mental heath.
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The Happy Depressive: In Pursuit of Personal and Political Happiness
The Happy Depressive: In Pursuit of Personal and Political Happiness by Alastair Campbell (Paperback - 12 April 2012)
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