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Happiness

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,003 ratings  ·  174 reviews
When an enormous, self-help manuscript lands on Edwin de Valu's desk, it seems destined for the trash can. The trouble is this doorstopper is a unique thing--a self-help book that actually works--and before Edwin knows it, a chain of events has been started that will have enormous consequences not just for his own life, but for the world at large.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 3rd 2003 by Harpperen (first published April 30th 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rumi
I bought this book on a whim. It was hardback, categorized under "Psychology" and it had its price dropped from $24 to 9 leva (which is about $4.50) I liked its name and cover so I took it. Later on, I remembered the last time I did that: I was unpleasantly surprised by a chick-lit with no literary value whatsoever. The sole reason I chose that book was its title - "Wish Me Sunflowers", which, I later discovered, was a huge mistranslation. (Really, what does this have to do with "Remember Me"?!)...more
Sasha
Apr 26, 2012 Sasha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys redemption, wit, and foriegn verbage.
Hate overly buzzed-out-on-bliss New Agers constantly trying to choke you with Depak Chopra and Conversations with God? Tired of colon clensings, mediums, crystal chakra aligning, "only thing positive", doped out on wheat-grass leisure class America?

Me too.

Read this book. It's hilarious, it's realistic (in the most outrageously allegorical way), it's snappy and ugly, it's pissed off and dejected, it's decadent and insecure. It's hellbent on showing that real life is grand and spectacular, even if...more
Ron Charles
Forget the problem of evil. The problem of goodness gets all the attention lately. Nick Hornby took a stab with "How To Be Good," a comic novel just out in paperback that shows the destruction of an average family when Dad devotes his life to charity. Carol Shields's recent "Unless" pursues essentially the same plot, but this time, it's the daughter who disrupts life with her decision to drop out of college and pursue virtue. And now, let's all give a warm Monitor hug to "Happiness(TM)," a zany...more
Brandi
Here is the reason that this book is so wonderful: (Quoting a passage from the book as long as I don't get slapped with a huge fine for copyright infringement)

"And let's keep the total length of the book to 356 pages exactly. That's the average for current bestsellers. So make sure it comes in exactly - what did I say? Three hundred and fifty six pages. Okay, Edwin?"

(At which point I stop reading and think to myself, I wonder if... and then I proceed to turn all the way to the back of the book a...more
Belinda Lorenzana
Nov 06, 2008 Belinda Lorenzana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Belinda by: Érika Zaragoza
Shelves: narrativa
Una novela disfrutable, muy divertida. Sin embargo tiene algunos huecos que no decido si son asunto de verosimilitud. Ciertos conceptos no me resultaron convincentes:

¿Por qué Edwin y el señor Mead son inmunes al "poder" del libro? ¿Qué pasó con los intelectuales?, ¿también se fueron de pesca?, ¿eran inmunes también? ¿Qué no era May una persona inteligente? Las personas inteligentes no leen superación personal (y si lo hacen, no se dejan lavar el coco).

Aciertos: el tono pesimista, el sentido del...more
Rachel
Loved it.
And I think working at chapters just made it more enjoyable. Being faced with so many...too many self help books and their readers, I felt like I could relate to Edwin. At times I couldn't help myself but break into hysterics over some little quip.
The underlying themes were quite sad and heavy. How we are destined to be unhappy and discontented and constantly search for satisfaction and, in fact, that is what makes our world go round...yet, as I was reading, I felt comforted by that....more
Yolanda
Este livro, que pode parecer ser de auto-ajuda, é na realidade uma sátira a todos os livros do género e à industria envolvente e relata-nos o que aconteceria se realmente existisse um livro desses que funcionasse. O efeito que isso teria.
Acaba por focar aspectos importantes da sociedade actual e consegue fazê-lo de uma forma engraçada.
Há quem o tenha achado hilariante, eu só achei uma leitura leve. Contudo é só a minha perspectiva ;D
Não foi tão bom como eu pensava que seria após ver várias críti...more
Yedy
Mar 05, 2010 Yedy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: self-help book fanatics and to those who do not believe in it
I chanced upon this book while browsing at a bookstore and when I read Anthony Bourdain's praise about this book at the front cover, I knew I have to have this. I am a big fan of satirical form of writing and this book does not disappoint me.

Happiness is elusive and everyone seems to be in search of it and just when you thought that this book is all about it, you are wrong. This novel would show you what would happen in the event that a self-help book about finding happiness would really work. W...more
Valissa
"Troublemakers grow up to become priests and politicians and social reformers. They are always meddling in other people's lives. Hellraisers don't meddle. They rage and roar, and they celebrate life and they mourn its shortness. Hellraisers destroy only themselves, and they do it because they love life too much to fall asleep."

"To the written word! To characters who exist only on the printed page. To characters who exist only in books and aren't even aware of it - who exist only on the printed p...more
Emily
A cynical, satirical novel about what would happen to the world if self help books actually worked. The book pulls no punches making fun of every aspect of the self-help and enlightenment industry, not to mention big publishing houses, marketing, and office work in general. It's an entertaining read but very bleak humour and the ending felt a little flat and anticlimactic. Although this book seems to have won the "Stephen Leacock award for humour", I would actually recommend the author's earlier...more
Lieke
In een klein tweedehandsboekenwinkeltje in Washington zag ik tussen allerlei stoffige boeken ineens deze felblauwe kaft met regenboogletters. Ik werd gegrepen door de flaptekst over de auteur:

"If Douglas Adams and P.J. O'Rourke ever had an extraterrestrial Satanic love-child, it would probably write like Will Ferguson. That is, it would be observant, attitudinal, occasionally offensive and funny." -Los Angeles Times


Voor zeven hele dollars kocht ik mijn gezelschap voor die dagen in de hoofdstad...more
Kate
I hated, hated, hated this book. I only finished it so I could write a proper review about how much I hated it.

"Happiness" the book is utter crap. (A favorable blurb from a celebrity appears on the cover. I think less of that celebrity than I did before.) If anyone ever gives you this book, rest assured that they either secretly hate you, or have terrible taste in literature, and in each case the solution is the same: never talk to that person again.

The premise of the book is that someone--named...more
Morné
The premise is golden. The writing great, poetic, tastefully ironic, the sarcasm imaginative and truly witty. I found myself pleasantly reminded, in all my literary snobbism, that a book can be funny and still qualify as great literature. Will Ferguson's book is exquisitely balanced, fast paced yet internal, lyrical, philosophical.

I found the characters so fully realised and so charmingly captured by Ferguson's humour, that they were hard to judge as either good or bad people.

But I feared that...more
Kitty-Wu
La historia de "Happiness" parte de la publicación de un libro de autoayuda que se convierte en el éxito editorial del milenio, ya que consigue la Felicidad™ para todo el mundo. ¿�Qué sucede entonces? Obviamente la sociedad capitalista se viene abajo y.....

Crítica del mundo editorial, de los libros de autoayuda y de los valores de las sociedades actuales (especialmente, de Estados �Unidos), todo ello impregnado de un gran sentido del humor.
Ismael Galvan
Crazy, stupid, funny book. I hella enjoyed Ferguson's sarcastic sense of humor and ridiculous story. A commentary on our plastic culture and crappy books. There was a portion of the book that lost a little steam so I couldn't give it 5 starts but besides that it was a great read. I'd love to burn one down with this guy.
Anne
3.5 stars

I can't say that I've ever read a self-help book (Too lazy. Not to mention, I always think I can just read an article or two and get enough information), but even without having done that I was able to thoroughly enjoy all the jabs at that segment of the publishing industry. Ok, and all the jabs at corporate life, generational differences, and random bits of modern life. My slightly bitter little heart appreciates snark. Mmmm, snark.

Also, I appreciate a book that gives me lots of laugh...more
Moloch
Molto, molto divertente, caustica e piena di trovate la prima parte, peccato che verso la fine l'autore si conceda qualche lungaggine (e qualche predica) di troppo, e il ritmo e lo humor ne risentano.
Sahar
I've read a lot of books and this is my favourite book of all time. I read it in one sitting! It's so underrated and really difficult to find but give it a chance, I promise you'll love it!
Emily-Jane Orford
Edwin de Value is a tragic character, really. Everyone seems to hate him. Well, he is an editor of a big publishing house and his job is to reject book manuscripts, so perhaps, as a writer myself, I can understand why he might be hated. As I read Edwin's story, though, as I start to get to know Edwin, I really don't understand why everyone hates him so much. He's a man of words and a clever man at that, so it's no wonder that he name is Edwin de Value. He puts great credance in the meaning of wo...more
Books-treasureortrash
Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes

Imagine a self help book that actually worked resulting in an end to all of humanities problems. What would happen to our world if everyone’s woes were immediately resolved and there was no longer any conflict of any kind for 97% of the population?

Will Ferguson is the author of 12 books, written in a number of different genres, which include literary fiction, satire, and travel adventure. Happiness is a satire and has received several literary awards. The story is to...more
eleonora -
Mettiamo che non abbiate mai comprato un libro solo per la copertina, ma poi vi capiti di essere a dieta ferrea e di vedere un libro con ben sei cioccolatini in copertina di cui due al cioccolato bianco, uno fondente e gli altri tre al latte. Il titolo è "Felicità", voi collegate la felicità ai cioccolatini e pensate che forse della dieta non ne avete poi tanto bisogno. In più è dell'universale economica feltrinelli, con quelle belle strisce oblique sul bordo superiore e con le traduzioni solita...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in May 2003.

It is easy to ridicule the self help book; every Christmas parodies just as forgettable as their subjects appear to take advantage of the seasonal sales of humour before disappearing in their turn. Happiness TM (a great improvement on the original title of Generica) is not this kind of parody; instead, it is a novel about a self help book.

The central character, Edwin de Vallu, works as an editor in a soulless American publishing house. He is in ch...more
Brittany
Jan 04, 2010 Brittany rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: If you've read 1984, read this for a totally backwards view
Recommended to Brittany by: Sarah
How I Came To Read This Book: My friend Sarah lent it to me in the early days of our KLM book-sharing initiative.

The Plot: Edwin is, for lack of a better term, a schlub. Hacking it out as a book editor resigned to going through the ‘slush’ pile, Edwin wants to make a difference in the world, and unwittingly does so when he picks up a 1,000 page nightmare of a self-help book promising endless wealth, perfect bodies, and undying happiness. The book becomes an unwitting phenomenon and soon everyon...more
esterb
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pythia
Chi non ha mai letto un libro di auto-aiuto scagli la prima pietra: vuoi per la dieta, vuoi per il fumo, vuoi per lo stress, vuoi per la vita in generale, credo che tutti prima o poi ci inciampino.
Il fatto che le case editrici ne sfornino continuamente di nuovi è segno che nessuno funziona al 100%. Ferguson immagina invece che ad un editore un po' sfigato capiti in mano *il* libro, quello che contiene la soluzione a tutti i problemi, calvizie compresa.
Si ride tanto e di gusto, con i calci al gat...more
Eleonora
L'idea era buona. Davvero.
Una casa editrice pubblica un manuale di auto-aiuto pieno di banalità, scritto pure male. Tuttavia il libro funziona e in breve diventa un best seller. Chi lo legge dimentica rancori, ambizioni fallite, desideri e sofferenze, raggiungendo la felicità(R). L'industria della consolazione crolla, e con essa l'economia ed il mondo occidentale così come l'avevamo conosciuto: nessuno più beve, fuma, si droga, mangia cioccolatini, va in palestra o compra vestiti firmati. Le cas...more
TonyAlmeida
Will Ferguson constrói uma sátira que expõe de forma corrosiva os vícios e as idiossincrasias da nossa sociedade sobre os quais ela se sustenta. Neste livro temos uma perspectiva muito peculiar sobre o nosso relacionamento enquanto parte da sociedade e sobre a nossa incansável busca pela felicidade. Do ponto de vista de Ferguson, a nossa sociedade vive desta busca e deixaria de fazer sentido, deixaria de existir tal como a conhecemos, se tal ânsia fosse colmatada.

A sátira em construída de dentro...more
Brian
May 20, 2007 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who love satire
A biting satire of the publishing industry, the story focuses on a cynical editor at a huge publishing house in New York who, desperate to find a hit book that will save his job, green lights a sprawling self-help book that promises to help one lose weight, stop smoking, increase sex drive and every other problem imaginable. To his surprise, the book really is a hit because it really works. Suddenly, everyone is reading it and losing their vices, leading happier and more fulfilled lives. But thi...more
Lana.
Happiness is... Generica.

Was a bit surprised at how familiar the beginning of the story seemed - and then it hit me: Happiness is Generica! What I thought was the second Will Ferguson book I was going to read, was in fact the same. But it wasn't a waste.

Ferguson leads his reader into the book publishing world, where, under duress, an editor, Edwin de Valu, promises a self-help book (from his "slush pile") as the next big thing. Only, to realise realise moments later, he'd thrown it away. Some...more
Julia
The central character, Edwin works as an editor in a large publishing house. His job is mainly to sort through stacks of newly submitted manuscripts to find the next best seller. The last manuscript entitled "what I leaned on the mountain," he tosses into the garbage. It is a very large tome of self help advise that promises the reader ultimate happiness and complete bliss.

Several hilarious and witty scenes later, this book has been found & is being published, becomes a best seller and is c...more
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Will Ferguson (born William Stener Ferguson) is a Canadian writer and novelist who is best known for his humorous observations on Canadian history and culture. His success as a writer can be attributed to an innate ability to view Canada much the same way an outsider would, as described in his debut book, the ironically named Why I Hate Canadians. Ferguson talks about this in a recent CBC radio in...more
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“The two most important phrases in the human language are "If only" and "Maybe someday". Our past mistakes and our unrequited longings. The things we regret and the things we yearn for. That's what makes us who we are.” 52 likes
“Obviously, he needed to kill Bubba, but how? The man was a trained prison guard twice his size. The tax auditors had been easy. Mr. Ethics had slapped them to death with their own attaché cases. And even then, his neighbours had chipped in to help him hide the bodies. "A tax auditor, you say? No problem. Let me get my spade.” 9 likes
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