It had been a while since I picked up some non-fiction to read, but this book kept me captivated toward the end. It was in my search for a “self-help” book that I stumbled upon Happy. This is ironic, however, as Derren Brown takes a very anti-modern-self-help approach to aiding us in our search for happiness. Brown takes us on a journey through history, as we learn of the ideal of being happy, in its ever-changing form. He has us challenge these ideals, as he discusses old and new psychotherapies, and his personal experiences.
Much of this book is heavily leaned toward giving an introduction into the philosophical stance of the Stoics (or so I felt). This certainly isn’t a negative, however, as it has convinced me to research further into this ancient philosophy, to aid my own self-improvement. Could this be this answer to a happier life in a modern world that’s so chaotic and exhausting? Perhaps.
Brown uses many great quotes in his work, from philosophers and leaders, such as Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca, and puts them fully under analysis. Most interestingly, I found, he discusses with us the fear of death, and its potential hindrance in our life. This book will have you questioning much about your life, but then if you picked it up for the reason I did, you have probably already begun questioning. It is through questioning ourselves about our situation and choice, that we can make change, and this book is a perfect stepping stone to that longer journey of discovery.
In short, this book is engaging, thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining. I would highly recommend this to anyone that is uncertain about their meaning in life, and would recommend this over much of the self-help literature out there. I give this book 5/5.