Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Happiness” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,973 ratings  ·  266 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 HarperPerennial (first published April 17th 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsGood Omens by Terry PratchettLamb by Christopher MooreThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanMe Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Best Humorous Books
3,804 books — 6,881 voters
The Blue Castle by L.M. MontgomeryTo Catch a Pirate by Jade ParkerWildwood Dancing by Juliet MarillierThe Seer and the Sword by Victoria HanleyBeauty by Robin McKinley
Best Lesser-Known Books
1,356 books — 1,357 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,973 ratings  ·  266 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

As much as I enjoy quirky satire, few books have consistently made me laugh--and think--like Will Ferguson's 2001 unexpected (albeit a wee bit dated) delight Happiness(TM), a book that hilariously yet poignantly eviscerates Americans' consumerist bent and the pursuit of happiness at any cost. He focuses his sights on the publishing world: specifically the Random Houses and HarperCollinses and Simon & Schusters responsible for churning out Self-Help books (everything from fad diet re
Murat S. Dural
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Çınar Yayınları'ndan çıkan "Mutluluk" Will Ferguson'un yazdığı "müthiş" bir roman. Kıymetli dostum ve editörüm Yankı Enki'nin önerisi ile listeme almıştım. Kolay okunan, alaycı, dengeli, esprili metin beni sararken bir taraftan da "acaba hep bu dinginlikte mi ilerleyecek?" diye sordurdu. Ancak final yaklaştıkça artan fikri yükseliş, daha felsefi, daha hayatı yorumlayan tarzı beni benden aldı. Mutluluğun distopyası olur mu sorusuna verilmiş en net cevap gibi. Kesinlikle bayıldım, hala kendi kendi ...more
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Ron Charles
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very funny and witty book about a low-level editor at a fictional Publishers in NYC, that gets handed a huge paper manuscript, that turns into the world's most phenomenal Self-Help book of all time. How this all happens is the hilarious and somewhat suspenseful story within. Problems occur however, when everyone stops smoking, drinking, eating, etc. and the world economy starts to tank! Who's going to find the real author, oops; and stop the wild circus ride?! Edwin de Valu, that's who! The lo ...more
B. M.  Polier
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
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Guillermo Galvan
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Jennifer Rayment
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wry and funny and quite frankly just bloody marvelous. Perfect for anyone involved in any way in the creating, marketing and selling of books. And bang on commentary on the self help book market! It is absolute perfection.

Thoroughly enjoyed the Caveat Emptor, the alternate ending (which quite frankly will be truly appreciated by most Canadians - well except for maybe those from Quebec). Ok and got a kick about the line with Stephen King in Bett's Bookstore (which I have been to)

Favorite Quotes

Belinda Lorenzana
Jul 04, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
Alice Mc
May 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Interesting premise but actually quite boring. I lost interest about halfway through but ploughed on as it was a bookclub read. The writing style is satirical and there are some vaguely amusing bits but it just wasn't gripping at all.
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.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, rb, bp, romance
Não achei piada nenhuma e senti-me ludibriada pela sinopse que prometia "uma divertidíssima sátira" e usou palavras como "hilariante"... Onde?!?
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
He suddenly felt weary, weary beyond words. This morning he had been happy. Cranky, bitter and weighed down with life, but otherwise generally happy. He had been in a groove, or at least a very comfortable rut. His life, such as it was, fit together. But ever since this morning, ever since that manuscript landed on his desk, it was as though everything had begun to unravel. The end of the wharf and the deep waters beckoned…

A quintessential editor finds a self-help book on his desk one morning
Mar 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Some clever stuff, genuinely funny at times, but the story drags on a little and the "end of the world" stuff is maybe a bit of a letdown.

To summarize, a self-help book actually works and mostly solves everyone's problems, but the protagonist realizes that the world is left in this kind of purgatory and that being content and satisfied with all things in life isn't natural or even desirable. The main point is that the pursuit of happiness is what drives us, not the actual happiness (TM). This is
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
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Feb 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marilia Chaves
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"There, stacked high on his desk, was a tower of paper. Thick slabs of manuscript. Slush. Unsolicited, unagented, unloved. This was where dreams came to die. Book proposals, cover letters, entire manuscripts – they gathered like so much detritus on the desks of publishers everywhere.”

My favorite kind of book: a story about book publishers and the making of titles. A laugh out loud portrait of our industry. Highly recommended for editors everywhere.
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
What a fun read! I loved the story, the plot, the wry humour and the very satyrical take on the self-help books industry. Happiness also reminded me of books by Max Barry (Jennifer Governement, Syrup and Company), which I love. I'll make sure to watch out for books by Will Ferguson in the future!
Read up to page 107, leafed through the rest.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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!
Dana Mavilla
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ferguson Will, Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2,, 2002. 339 pp. ISBN 0-14-301271-1. CDN$10.99.

Happiness is not only about satirizing the self-help community, but it also showcases the vitality of the flaws that’s being seen as a burden in today’s society. The book allows the readers to experience a whole euphoric world where the people experience nothing but utter happiness. The author, Will Ferguson is a Canadian travel writer
La idea de esta novela está bien. Un tipo misterioso escribe el libro de autoayuda definitivo. Un libro que funciona y que deja a todo el mundo en estado de perpetua armonía con el universo. Cualquiera puede enriquecerse, adelgazar, dejar de fumar, conseguir sus metas. ¿Cuál es el problema? Pues que el mundo de la moda, las tabacaleras, los gimnasios, los publicistas, los fabricantes de licores, cosméticos y de miles de productos que buscan tapar nuestras carencias se van al carajo, y con ellos ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I want to give it more than 4 stars but not quite 5 stars. 5 stars are for books like To Kill a Mockingbird and Lies My Teacher Told Me and Letters from the Earth. Happiness™ does not quite go to those heights but there are very few books that have made me laugh out loud so heartily or so often as this one did. You already know every character in this book under one name or another from your own day-to-day and just like in the book, those people will surprise you sometimes. In these days of digi ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Happiness Review 1 1 Oct 18, 2018 11:25PM  
What's the Name o...: [s]A Book about a self-help editor who finds a book that changes the world [s] 7 142 Nov 05, 2012 12:47PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Whale Music
  • Alcatraz: Jack Folla un DJ nel braccio della morte
  • Rick Mercer Report: The Book
  • Resurrection Man
  • Enigma in luogo di mare
  • O Senhor Valéry
  • Cão Como Nós
  • L'isola dell'angelo caduto
  • The Drive-In: A Double Feature Omnibus
  • Una questione privata - I ventitre giorni della città di Alba
  • The Grotesque
  • No Coins, Please
  • La cura
  • The Street
  • Musica. Un'interpretazione psicoanalitica di un caso di frigidità
  • Debaixo de Algum Céu
  • As Rosas de Atacama
  • Until Death Do Us Part: My Struggle to Reclaim Colombia
See similar books…
Will Ferguson is an award-winning travel writer and novelist. His last work of fiction, 419, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. He has won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour a record-tying three times and has been nominated for both the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. His new novel, The Shoe on the Roof, will be released October 17, 2017. Visit him at ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“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.” 66 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.” 11 likes
More quotes…