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The Happy Brain: The Science of Where Happiness Comes From, and Why

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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  985 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Do you want to be happy?

If so - read on. This book has all the answers!

Not really. Sorry. But it does have some very interesting questions, and at least the occasional answer.

The enthusiasm for and expectation of happiness are so widespread today that fundamental questions about it are often overlooked. For starters, the most basic question of all: where does happiness com
...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 3rd 2018 by Guardian Faber Publishing (first published 2018)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Well, this is provocative.

Q
Well, let's just say that in no other research I've done did I ever hear the term 'sex dungeon' used so freely and often. (c) Must have been one hell of a research!
Q
Would you like to be stuffed into a tube? Head first?
Don't answer yet, because there's more. (c)
...more
Tony
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the way that all books about Science should be written. Well, not just Science but all non-fiction. This is a robust romp through all that makes us happy. And sad… and angry… and depressed… and, well, you get the picture.

Mr Burnett is a neuroscientist and takes a line of reasoning through the absurd to the latest in thinking and all on the back of humorous anecdote and real-world evidence.

I loved this book in its entirety. There’s something here for everyone, from casual interest to usin
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Will Once
I started this book with high expectations. I had really enjoyed Dean's first book "Idiot Brain". He is a good writer who mixes solid science, extensive research and a witty writing style. Neuroscience is a topic that fascinates me, because a lot of the decisions we make are strongly influenced by the way that our brains work. All the signs were good. This was going to be a corker.

So I bought this book almost on the first day it came out. I snuggled down in my favourite armchair, closed the door
...more
Brian Clegg
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was sitting on my desk for some time, and every time I saw it, I read the title as 'The Happy Brian'. The pleasure this gave me was one aspect of the science of happiness that Dean Burnett does not cover in this engaging book.

Burnett's writing style is breezy and sometimes (particularly in footnotes) verging on the whimsical. His approach works best in the parts of the narrative where he is interviewing everyone from Charlotte Church to a stand-up comedian and various professors on asp
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Mahmoud Ayman
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-brain
Dean Burnett again dives into the fundamentals and complexities of the human brain looking for answers for many questions about happiness. The book goes into depth with the effect of family, love, friendship, jobs, laughter and success on our happiness, discussing the physiological aspects and what increases and decreases it. Also, he points out the changes in interests and methods to achieve happiness starting from childhood up to elderly.

It’s very satisfactory knowing more about our own brain
...more
Gabbi Levy
My interview with Dean Burnett:

IT'S HUMAN NATURE TO want to be happy, but people know relatively little about the science behind the emotion.

Scientists are only just beginning to grasp how the human brain processes emotion – the chemical processes and how they affect our thoughts and behaviors. What does it mean to be happy? And what's actually happening in people's brains when they are?

These are the questions neuroscientist Dean Burnett set out to explore in his new book, "Happy Brain: Where Ha
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Cherry To
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This neuroscience book was fantastic. The author Dean Burnett researched on the interesting topic of happiness. It touched on various topics like makes us happy, how wealth, family, relationships make us a happier person. It also talks about where does happiness come from. I love the author's writing style, it's quirky and he manages to captivate the reader. Overall a good book to read, would recommend it to my friends. I can't wait to check out Dean Burnett's other works. ...more
Shreekant
My brain is unhappy after reading this horrible book!
Ramalakshmi shanmugavel

We often stumbled to respond immediately for a certain questions/words to realize or to take it into brain,almost mostly we tend to give pessimistic response to desire optimistic results as like rider doesn't know the destination though he/she has a robust horse but the game has unlimited rules,especially seeking approval or recognition from people around us.Author's quest over such a intriguing topic arouse us to dive deeply into the self-analyzing process,however our brain is not so static on
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Daniëlle Van den Brink
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Maybe, labelling endorphins as 'pleasure-inducing' is like describing a fire engine as 'a machine that makes things wet' ; yet it does that, but no, that's not what it's for."

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Before I started to read it, I didn't think Burnett could live up to the success of his first book (The Idiot Brain). To my surprise, I have to admit that I find this second book better than his first. Rather than picking out random facts about the brain and taking them apart, Burnett takes
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Kat
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#HappyBrain
Great read if you are interested in how the brain works and why it creates feelings in the manner we are exposed to as human beings. It defiantly can be considered a self-help book in the idea that our mental state is important to how we maintain a healthy attitude through out our life span.
Sabine Terky
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an entertaining exploration of the neurophysiological basis for happiness.
He goes on exploring co-related topics: humour, love, lust, fame, etc.
Burnett lightheartedly explains what goes on inside the brain in different situations.
Such an enjoyable read!
Ilja Isphording
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
While I think that Burnett's first book, The Idiot Brain is more interesting, this book is enjoyable too. Burnett uses humour and many easy-to-understand examples to explain his work. I'm curious as to see what he'll write next. At least, I hope he'll write another one 🤗 ...more
Uka
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Azeez Al Rayyes
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And once again the human brain continues in impressing me more and more, there is always another side of the story, the brain always has another opinion in everything we endure everyday, it was an endless joy reading this book.
Rebecca
The best chapter is #8, “Happiness through the Ages.” I didn’t take to the author’s jokey tone.
FlyingBulgarian Svetli H.
Could have been better - I don’t like the tone, but some of the points he makes were quite good.
Bod Adegboyega
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Burnett hit!
Paula Duncan
May 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was really enjoyable and felt like a really accessible read. A varied and interesting perspective!
Jenny in Neverland
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
I was kindly sent a copy of this book to review, after receiving an email about it. I’ve never been one to read a lot of non-fiction but it’s certainly a genre I’m getting into more and more lately. I’m just finding the vastness of it exceptionally appealing; there’s so many different, interesting things I could learn and read about. So much knowledge from other people to consume and so many incredible stories that deserve to be read. So thank you to the publisher for sending this over – I absol ...more
Amin Mo
Disappointing, the first book was amazing because it shows you how weird,interesting and amazing the brain can be(which is the exact reason I think most people read about neuroscience). Literally almost nothing of this sort was in the book,it’s actually the first book I couldn’t afford to fully read it.
But I still hope Dr.Burnett will come up with another book similar to “The Idiot Brain”
Michele Feng
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's interesting to know that the brain from a very young age starts to mould into shape of a certain kind. The book says social isolation and rejection at a young age can affect the brain's neurochemistry at a cellular level, particularly at its reward center of the brain. But the study doesn't mention if it's isolation or social rejection (i.e. being bullied) as young children and then have consequential evolvement in neurochemical imbalance of the brain as adults. Is there a benchmark as to t ...more
Tina
Jun 16, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-have
This is a type of a book you could give to people to actually make it entertaining for them to learn "dry" material. I think more scientific books could have been more entertaining with this writing style. Even though some words I had no clue what meant, I think I can safely say I got the main concept of things, and felt a bit more knowledge within after reading this. I like how well reasoned things are for why we behave the way we do looked at from an evolutionary perspective. For instance why ...more
Storme De
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ahmed Suliman
Mar 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
That’s the first book I read for Prof.Dean I like the way he talks and presents his ideas in a scientific sort mixed with pretty nice sense of humor. at the beginning I didn’t like too much talking about his way and roads to meet people and how they were dressed and their physical characters, but at the end I appreciated his great efforts to meet those experts to talk about his topics in a professional way not from his POV.
I made the most of this book scientifically; knowing some interesting in
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Jamy
Jun 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After reading "Idiot Brain" I had high hopes for Dean Burnett's second book and I was left utterly diappointed.
I got halfway through the book and flipped through the rest of its pages as I did not want to continue. A lot of the educational and scientific information is similar or even identical to the one found in "Idiot Brain", except there is a lot less detail all in all. The little stories told were neither interesting nor funny to me. They seemed a little repetitive and also took up way too
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Susan
Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist who set out to explain how the brain allows us to experience happiness. He addresses various things that stimulate the brain in just the right way to make people happy, but then concludes that there really isn't a key to lasting happiness. Mr. Burnett's unique gift of humour (he is a part time standup comic) makes this book a very enjoyable read as it helps to explain the complexities of the brain in a relatable and humourous fashion. I.e. "Trying to truly unders ...more
Theng Min
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this review, I will introduce an english book named 'The happy brain'. This book is neuroscience related and it's about the research of happiness.
It talks about where happiness comes from, what happiness is made of and other very interesting facts.
It also talks about the things that trigger our brain to feel happiness. My favourite part is about how wealth and money causes happiness and the reasons why some specific things can make us happier. This book helped me learn a lot about happiness w
...more
Kevin
A pleasure to read. Unfortunately, the original intent of the book was not able to be followed through with, even according to the author himself. What he does instead is to discuss various aspects of happiness, or common sources of happiness, such as social groups, relationships, love, sex, jobs, laughter, homes, etc. Each chapter provided insightful perspectives backed by research (the author being a legit neuroscientist was helpful) yet was entertaining and full of relatable stories. Written ...more
Kasandra
Surprises and novelty. Good gut bacteria. Interaction with nature. Other people's happiness. A job with control and responsibility. Feeling that your geographical home is an appropriate extension of yourself. Belonging to a group, or even better, being a leader or tastemakers in a group. Having social status. Thrill seeking or risk taking. Food. Sex. Sleep. Exercise. Socializing. Learning new things. Pick one, they all work at various times for various reasons. This book was interesting but more ...more
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Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist and psychiatry lecturer at the Centre for Medical Education at Cardiff University and is the author of the Guardian’s most-read science blog, Brain Flapping. He lives in Cardiff.

The following is from his website:

This is the website for Doctor Dean Burnett, neuroscientist, lecturer, author, blogger, media pundit, science communicator, comedian and numerous other
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