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Hector and the Search for Happiness Paperback – 31 Aug 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (31 Aug. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143118390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143118398
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,576,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Utterly charming...

"Utterly charming..."Hector and the Search for Happiness" turns psychological research into a fast-paced, enchanting story. Lelord himself is a psychiatrist, and his interest in the human mind is infectious... Fans of "Eat, Pray, Love" and "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" won't want to miss this gem of a book."
-"BookPage"

"Unexpectedly cheering."
-"The Independent" (London)

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

"A feel-good gem . . . Francois Lelord has created a 21st-century hero."
-"Good Housekeeping" (UK)

About the Author

Francois Lelord has had a successful career as a psychiatrist in France, where he was born, and in the United States, where he did his postdoc (UCLA). He is the co-author of a number of bestselling self-help books and has consulted for companies interested in reducing stress for their employees. He was on a trip to Hong Kong, questioning his personal and professional life, when the Hector character popped into his mind, and he wrote Hector and the Search for Happiness not quite knowing what kind of book he was writing. The huge success of Hector, first in France, then in Germany and other countries, led him to spend more time writing and traveling, and at the height of the SARS epidemic he found himself in Vietnam, where he practiced psychiatry for a French NGO whose profits go toward heart surgery for poor Vietnamese children. While in Vietnam he also met his future wife, Phuong; today they live in Thailand.
Hector and the Search for Happiness is Francois Lelord s first novel, and the first in a series that includes Hector and the Secrets of Love and Hector and the Search for Lost Time."


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market 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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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Oct. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hector is a psychiatrist and a very good one as he likes listening to people. He has noticed that he has an increasing number of patients who seem to have everything they could possibly want in life - good jobs they enjoy, loving families, good health and plenty of money but who are somehow just not happy with their lives. He decides to set out on a quest to find out what makes people happy. In the process he compiles a list of the rules of happiness.

On his journey he meets all sorts of people and falls in love more than once but he starts with a Chinese monk and then visits him again at the end of his quest. This is an amusing, quirky story with a lot of useful insights into life in general and happiness in particular. If you prefer reading novels to self help books but would like some insight into what makes you - and other people - happy then try this one.

I'm not always keen on literature in translation but this book is very well done and Hector comes over as a thoroughly likeable character with an offbeat sense of humour and an ability to analyse the world around him. I liked the simple style in which the book is written and I loved all the characters he met. I really enjoyed this and recommend it to anyone who would like to read something entertaining and insightful. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.
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Format: Mass Market 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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Format: Mass Market 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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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was given this book in French by my mother a few years back. As my son is doing some soul-searching, I thought this would be a lovely book to give him to read. I was bowled over by the simplicity of the book and the life lessons it contained. Beautifully written in easy language and uplifting!
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