Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine
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.
"Witty, useful and beautifully written... this book grapples expansively with the most profound questions any of us face" * The Sunday Times * "Brilliant. Really brilliant and just crammed with wisdom and insight. It will genuinely make a difference to me and the way I think about myself. I'm going to recommend it to everyone I know." -- Stephen Fry "Brown tries to resurrect the original Stoic ambitions here: not just to live well but to die well, too. His book is thoughtful, insightful and ultimately, well, helpful." * Sunday Times Books of the Year * "Til now, we've known Derren Brown as a supreme illusionist and magician. Now he surprises us with a new and brilliant identity: as a philosopher. Not just any philosopher. Brown takes philosophy back to its truest task: that of helping us to live and die well. His book is deeply informative, moving, wise and full of love. It sets out to change lives - and it will. Derren has pulled off a properly implausible trick: that of making the deepest ideas relevant, humane and urgent." -- Alain de Botton "In this wise and perceptive book Derren Brown has conjoined personal experience, profoundly sensible psychology and the magic of philosophy to produce a really excellent account of how to be happy - really, maturely, properly happy. This is a wonderfully educative - and enjoyable! - book, and should be on everyone's reading list, always. " -- A.C. Grayling
Derren began his UK television career in December 2000 with a series of specials called Mind Control. Since redefining the genre of magic for intelligent, modern audiences, he has become synonymous with the art of psychological manipulation. His TV shows have become must-see events. Amongst a varied and notorious career, Derren has played Russian Roulette on live television, convinced middle-managers to commit an armed robbery in the street, led the nation in a seance, stuck viewers to their sofas, successfully predicted the National Lottery, motivated a shy man to land a packed passenger plane at 30,000 feet, exposed psychic and faith-healing charlatans, and hypnotised a man to assassinate Stephen Fry. On top of this he tours the UK every year with a sell-out stage show. He has published three books: Tricks of the Mind, Confessions of a Conjuror and a book of his caricatures, Portraits.