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Happy Brain: Where Happiness Comes From, and Why

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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  669 ratings  ·  87 reviews
The pursuit of happiness is one of the most common and enduring quests of human life. It’s what drives us to get a job, fall in love, watch stand-up comedy, go to therapy, have questionable obsessions, and come home at the end of the day. But where does happiness come from, and why do we need it so much? Is lasting, permanent happiness possible—or should it be? And what do ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 2018)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡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)
Tony
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Will Once
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
...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
...more
Mahmoud Ayman
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Cherry To
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Shreekant
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Daniëlle Van den Brink
"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
...more
Kat
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
#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
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 🤗
Uka
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
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
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.
Bod Adegboyega
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Burnett hit!
Jenny in Neverland
May 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
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
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Storme De
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamy
Jun 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Susan
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
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
Dusan Tatransky
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was well written with a nice pinch of humour and overview. I enjoyed reading it. It contains a very good and simple explanation for neurotransmitters. Or the brain development during childhood and teenage. In each chapter, there is always some new insight or information for me with good examples.
On the other hand, the author's method in searching what makes us happy is not well thought out as you would expect from a scientist. He doesn't have a plan or hypothesis set out. It's basicall
...more
Dolizoss
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: popular-science
Nice, lightweight pop science book to relax with.
It is written in so accessible way that I occasionally doubted it's scientific bases, but taking various things into consideration I decided to trust the writer to actually have done his research and just skipped the sources, references and descriptions of methods of how the referred data was gathered for readability. And not, just based the entire book on anecdotal evidence he quotes.
With that hope, the book is easy and fun and quite interestin
...more
Chloe
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book to give a very large breadth of information around happiness relating to different factors in life, but felt that due to the wide scope of it it lacked depth in any of these areas. The book uses interviews with different people to illustrate and link points, which I guess makes it more widely consumable, but to me it felt like this narrative took away from the research being cited and points being made. Overall, a fairly entertaining and interesting book, but I'm not sure how much know ...more
Meghan
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Happy Brain provide enticing insight of how our brain functions in our "happy state." The examples presented in each chapter conveyed an important lesson and concepts that are easy to forget and apply to our daily lives. I received this book as an advanced reader's copy as a potential book to order for our New Year New YOU! Display and from the information presented in the book, it is the perfect fit for this category! A definite recommendation in the self-help category.
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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
...more

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