Happiness is famously elusive and tricky to define. How then are we to lead happier lives?
In A Little Happier Derren Brown condenses the lessons of his international bestseller Happy into 17 beautifully-wrought, wise and profoundly reassuring mini-chapters, each one challenging us to think differently so as to overcome anxiety in a difficult world.
None of this is real when each of us tells stories about our lives in too tidy narratives that are seldom true and rarely helpful.
We should be wary of goal setting: long-term goals fixate us on a future that may not happen and we may not wish for when we get there.
Our partner isn’t right for us because no-one is. None of us is born for someone else. But perhaps those areas of frequent conflict are useful indicators of where we might ourselves be insufferable.
Life is hard, messy and complex; our friends will probably let us down; most of what has got us here is blind luck and a series of false starts. But if we can learn to separate what we can control – our thoughts and actions – from all else beyond our control, we can find a surer footing with which to greet the world.
“Derren Brown is a mine of wisdom, humanity and kindness – everything we need to sustain and nourish ourselves.”
– Alain de Botton
Everyone says they want to be happy. But that’s much more easily said than done. What does being happy actually mean? And how do you even know when you feel it?
Across the millennia, philosophers have thought long and hard about happiness. They have defined it in many different ways and come up with myriad strategies for living the good life. Drawing on this vast body of work, in Happy Derren Brown explores changing concepts of happiness – from the surprisingly modern wisdom of the Stoics and Epicureans in classical times right up until today, when the self-help industry has attempted to claim happiness as its own. He shows how many of self-help’s suggested routes to happiness and success – such as positive thinking, self-belief and setting goals – can be disastrous to follow and, indeed, actually cause anxiety. This brilliant, candid and deeply entertaining book exposes the flaws in these ways of thinking, and in return poses challenging but stimulating questions about how we choose to live and the way we think about death.
Happy aims to reclaim happiness and to enable us to appreciate the good things in life, in all their transient glory. By taking control of the stories we tell ourselves, by remembering that ‘everything’s fine’ even when it might not feel that way, we can allow ourselves to flourish and to live more happily.
“Brilliant, really brilliant, and just crammed with wisdom and insight… I’m going to recommend it to everyone I know”
– STEPHEN FRY
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