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Happiness Paperback – 1 Jun 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (1 Jun. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006052510X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060525101
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,264,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

"The Age of Nice is at hand, and there's nothing we can do about it." But the main protagonist of Will Ferguson's Happinesss terminally luckless book editor Edwin de Valu does want to do something. In fact, he feels obliged to put a stop to the Age of Nice, because it's all his fault. Desperate to save a flagging career in the world of self-help publishing, Edwin has staked everything on a dubious, thousand-page manuscript bearing the motto "Live! Love! Learn!" Promising its readers endless wealth, effortless weight loss and everlasting happiness, the book has become a runaway success. And that's where Edwin's problems really begin. Not just the murderous cartel of drug and tobacco barons who want Edwin's head on a plate. Also the fact that misery, cynicism, irrational hatred, draught beer--all the things that once made Edwin's life as an underdog bearable--have become outlawed. It's down to one man to save the globe from the tyranny of the Group Hug. But can Edwin do it, before the world economy melts down and a bestselling serial killer called Dr Ethics enacts his own deadly revenge?

It has been said--possibly by the sort of homily-peddling guru that Ferguson attacks so masterfully in his debut novel--that there are many routes to happiness. The general effect of reading this razor-sharp satire on the self-help industry is to understand that these routes lead us nowhere, except perhaps to a cul-de-sac called Hell. This would be depressing to realise, except that Happiness clubs its readers into submission with the sort of zany, almost other-worldly wit that makes us profoundly glad to be alive. --Matthew Baylis --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

A gleeful satire of the self-help industry. -- Jonathan Coe

A mean, wonderful, hilarious rant, both poisenously funny satire and dead-on indictment. The nature of true evil exposed. -- Anthony Bourdain

Happiness is a wonderfully assured, gleefully twisted and deeply irreligious satire which manages to be as moving as it is funny. -- Independent on Sunday

Hilarious. Ferguson takes no prisoners: Happiness TM is a caustic and outrageously funny send-up of society's foibles. -- W.P.Kinsella

Will Ferguson is a very gifted writer. -- Bill Bryson --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Edwin de Valu is your typical American Gen-X anti-hero. Each day he stumbles out into the roar of a city he hates, to a job he hates, with a baby-boomer boss he hates. He lives beyond his means in a trendy rehabbed neighbourhood with a wife he, well, doesn't like very much. It's the contemporary, urban, American dream! As editor of the non-fiction division of Panderic Books, Edwin is put on the spot during a meeting. He has been promising an idea to fill the gap in Panderic's up-coming catalogue - a gap created by the prosecution of Mr Ethics, Panderic's biggest self help author, for tax evasion. Before he knows it, Edwin is pitching a book found in his "slush pile" that morning.' What I Learned on the Mountain', by Tupak Soiree, is a typewritten manuscript covered with stick-on daisies and a hand-written note on the bottom of the title page, which reads, "Live, Love, and Learn". Hardly the kind of sentiment Edwin is likely to applaud, but it's too late, he's pitched it and his boss loves it.
Edwin rushes from the meeting to retrieve 'What I Learned on the Mountain' from his rubbish bin and finds it missing. A chase for the book, and subsequently its author, ensues. Along the way Edwin discovers that the self-help book actually works. Its readers become fabulously rich, quit smoking, and have enhanced sexual prowess. Unfortunately, it turns out that a society full of enriched, happy people has dire consequences for the world economy and eventually someone figures out Edwin is responsible.
The humour in Happiness TM is needless to embrace - from Canada to Denmark via England, Ferguson's laissez-faire satire proves itself universally insightful. Now, for the idea of this anti-hero being the Satre of 21st century... perhaps.
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Format: Paperback
Although it starts off well, Will Ferguson's book loses momentum along the way. This biting satire into the self-help world starts to get lost in too much repetition and becomes more laboured. The characters aren't developed beyond stereotypes and after a point, you cease caring what atually becomes of them. That said, it is an entertaining read and it's good to see a writer taking a shot at some of the self-help dross that gets served up today!
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Format: Paperback
I bought this between a horrendous train journey and a horrendous tube journey and I was very glad I did. In fact I read it at every opportunity I had until I had finished it. The premise of a self-help book that works and the subsequent effects amused me and the author's handling of the subject did not disappoint me. The book was dark, full of satire and made me laugh, if not out loud (I was on the tube!) but inwardly.
The book was easy to read, not to wordy and relaxing. I like a book that is not hard work but stimulates the mind.
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Format: Paperback
Edwin de Valu is your typical American Gen-X anti-hero. Each day he stumbles out into the roar of a city he hates, to a job he hates, with a baby-boomer boss he hates. He lives beyond his means in a trendy rehabbed neighbourhood with a wife he, well, doesn't like very much. It's the contemporary, urban, American dream! As editor of the non-fiction division of Panderic Books, Edwin is put on the spot during a meeting. He has been promising an idea to fill the gap in Panderic's up-coming catalogue - 'What I Learned on the Mountain', by Tupak Soiree, is a typewritten manuscript covered with stick-on daisies and a hand written note on the bottom of the title page, which reads, "Live, Love, and Learn". Hardly the kind of sentiment Edwin is likely to applaud, but it's too late, he's pitched it and his boss loves it.
This turns out to be a self-help book actually works. Its readers become fabulously rich, quit smoking, and have enhanced sexual prowess. Unfortunately, it turns out that a society full of enriched, happy people has dire consequences. Oprah and the founders of buddhism and New Age would think again, if they read this book.
The humour in Happiness TM is needless to embrace - from Canada to Denmark via England, Ferguson's laissez-faire satire proves itself universally insightful. Now, for the idea of this anti-hero being the Satre of 21st century... perhaps. He enlights the issues of instant gratifaction/gloricifation and concludes that our vices make us the protagonists we are - not by mocking the people who try and fail, but the people who succeed. For people like me who hate the way the world's turning - this is a must-read.
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By Mr. G. Morgan TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 April 2015
Format: Paperback
Occasionally, even here in the U.K. I feel like Edwin, our hero, beset by linguistic inanities, invariably American imports, which no-one else seems to find remarkable, let alone infuriating. Our plucky, unlucky hero actually has someone he believes is to blame: the fashionable, facile Mr Tupac Soiree (who he? Ed.). As befits a satire (see Amis, M,) the characters are no more than caricatures but I didn't care, I wanted our boy to at least find out who they were and where and why they peddled such obvious banalities. I didn't mind the two-dimensionality and the simple plot is not actually simplistic. I was pleased to follow Edwin and a small part of me was pleased at the denouement. Satire always has its limits, but the pleasures of seeing someone deal in any way with the deadly prose of a world of TM (a nice pun) with ire in his heart for numbskulls gave me a feeling of mild exhilaration. Not exactly a deep book, but cathartic and highly entertaining. Very British; this is a man defending his and our ethos, in this world-gone-a-bit-mad. We perforce seem to inhapit a world where we no longer say 'Health' but 'wellness' , not sympathy' but 'empathy' (why?), which is worth being annoyed at in itself. Tm indeed...or perhaps I can translate this into my own, skeptical 'Hm.'
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