In a nutshell
Hector, a successful young psychiatrist, sets off round the world to find out what makes people happy and sad, and whether there is such a thing as the secret to true happiness
What I liked
I liked the overall simplicity – from the front cover to the language and style. Hmmm….and Hector (on the front cover) somehow reminded me of Dilbert. But what I don’t understand is, why have 2 different depictions of Hector? (Refer to another cover below) Is it because it’s published by different publishers? Even so, they could have avoided depicting two different versions of Hector and stuck with consistency.
And Hector’s voice in the book, somehow, to me, resembled Alice in Alice in Wonderland (Probably due to the fact that I read this book after reading Alice in Wonderland haha).
I also liked the simple list of ‘What’s Happiness’ that Hector keeps. These are some of my favourites.
Lesson no. 7: It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal.
Lesson no. 8: Happiness is being with the people you love.
Lesson no. 14: Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are.
But these are some that I can’t agree:
Lesson no. 5: Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story. (If it were to be my version, I’d list it as ‘Happiness is knowing the whole story and being able to accept things as they are.’)
Lesson no. 11: Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own. (I’d do with just ‘Happiness is having a family and a home.’)
What I didn’t like
The simplicity concept didn’t quite work for this story. I mean, we’re dealing with a complex issue here – finding happiness – and for it to be written with such simplicity and so lightheartedly, made seeking happiness sound trivial.
For an experienced and successful pyschiatrist, Hector sounds so child-like and naive. He uses word like “bad people”, one night stands as “we did what people do when they are in love”, or first class as “the most expensive part of the plane….” or France as “the country where Hector is from” and US as America as “the Big Place with the most psychiatrists”, or as “the land of More”. I don’t see what’s wrong with mentioning the country’s name…
I couldn’t quite place this book, because the tone and manner used is much suited for a children’s book, but this isn’t one.
After finally arriving at the final page, I didn’t find anything new or inspiring. Most of them are either stuff you’d already know or have read about somewhere, or in those ‘positive notes/postcards’ you see in bookstores.
If you wanna know more about happiness in depth, you’re better off reading ‘The Art of Happiness’ by Dalai Lama, or ‘Eat Pray Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert.
My suggestion? If you’re really thinking of reading/getting this book, read it when you’ve got nothing else to read or you’ve got a couple of hours to kill. But who knows, you might enjoy its simplicity after reading those complex books on happiness.
Definitely not my cup of tea.
My verdict? 2.7/5