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Hector and the Search for Happiness

(Hector #1)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  14,573 ratings  ·  1,678 reviews
Once upon a time there was a young psychiatrist called Hector who was not very satisfied with himself...

Hector is very good at treating patients in need of his help. But he can't do much for those who are simply dissatisfied with life, and that is beginning to depress him. When a patient tells him he looks in need of a vacation, Hector takes a trip around the world to lea
Audio CD, 134 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by HighBridge Audio (first published 2002)
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Petra Miocic This book is written in a very simple manner, the way we all should, after all, think of happiness. As happiness is a part of our everyday lives. It i…moreThis book is written in a very simple manner, the way we all should, after all, think of happiness. As happiness is a part of our everyday lives. It is suitable for a teenager, there are some erotic allusions, but never too explicit. (less)

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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  14,573 ratings  ·  1,678 reviews

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Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I am not really sure how Hector and the Search for Happiness became a best-seller. In fact, I found it fairly offensive mostly because I found "Hector" (who, as far as I understand it, represents the author) unlikeable. Primarily, his relationship with women is troubling as they are either fetishized, exoticized or objectified throughout the novel--Hector is constantly noticing how attractive women are, and commenting on this impulse as uncontrollably male, bleck. Secondly, most of the people He ...more
Nov 20, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
More like Hector and the Search for Fine Ladies to Sleep With. I found this book annoying and overly cute, and the more I think about it, the more irritated I get. Shut up, Hector.
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
So I studied to be a psychologist, a cognitive scientist, mind you, but as it turned out later I didn't become one. The moment came when I had to grow up and choose a profession and, being as I am, I chose one that didn't bring me a lot of happiness, but had a considerable influence on the amount of my alcohol-intake (which, if you ask Hector, can be really beneficial for your levels of happiness). Still, in this pain-in-the-ass job of mine I find happiness because my paycheck is big enough for ...more
Jul 01, 2015 rated it liked it
The cutest and most memorable part of this book is the cover, which looks like the movie Up except Parisian. And if that's not a dream I don't know what is.

It's like 42 pages long, so theoretically I could probably reread it and review it in the span of a couple hours, but that sounds like the logical thing to do and therefore I won't do it.

I am nothing if not ruled by whimsy and cute book covers, in conclusion. And when I read this I thought it was fine but nothing to write home about.

Or a revi
Hana Candelaria
I picked up this book because I was intrigued by the title, the artwork, and the idea that a psychiatrist might travel to other lands in pursuit of a formula for happiness. It's a fast read, and the writing is extremely elementary (some reviewers equate it to 5th grade level). At first, the child-like style was interesting, but it became increasingly annoying as the psychiatrist gets into some stupid situations, including his cheating (with no remorse whatsoever) on his lady-who-remained-at-home ...more
Hector was sitting on another airplane, and he was reading a novel he had bought at the airport just before leaving. Curiously enough, it was called Le Voyage d'Hector, and it was about another young psychiatrist with the same name, who took it into his head to wonder what happiness was and went on a long journey to find out. From time to time, Hector looked at the man next to him, who was also reading. He had a thick book, but Hector noticed that he only read one or two pages at a time, and in ...more
I gave up in the middle of the book. I can't take it anymore, I can't take anymore of his pseudo-psychological bullshit which has nothing to do with "happiness" or how to achieve it. This book is degrading women and relationships in every possible way while being extremly racist on the side. I had to stop reading so I don't scream and rip the whole book apart. ...more
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: librarybooks
Hector is a Psychiatrist who cannot make his patients happy so he decides to go on a pilgrimage to see what makes people happy. Will he be satisfied with the answers he seeks? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good read. I saw the film first starring Simon Pegg and it went just like this book which is a good and sad story. Definitely check this book out at your local library and wherever books are sold.
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those times I really wished I would have checked out the reviews here first before I picked the book up. I bought this book on a whim at a used bookstore without really knowing much about it, and being totally honest the adorable cover art really had a lot to do with the purchase. I had heard some buzz about the book but had not looked into it much and I haven't seen the film and definitely won't now. As many reviewers have stated(much more eloquently than I can) the "lessons" Hec ...more
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lesson no. 1: Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
Lesson no. 2: Happiness often comes when least expected
Lesson no. 3: Many people see happiness only in their future
Lesson no. 4: Many people think that happiness comes from having more power or more money
Lesson no. 5: Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story
Lesson no. 6: Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains
Lesson no. 7: It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal
Lesson no. 8: Happiness is being with
Description: Hector is very good at treating patients in need of his help. But he can’t do much for those who are simply dissatisfied with life, and that is beginning to depress him. When a patient tells him he looks in need of a vacation, Hector takes a trip around the world to learn what makes people happy—and sad. As he travels from Paris to China to Africa to the United States, he lists his observations about the people he meets. Is there a secret to happiness, and will Hector find it?

Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book immensely! It was an utterly charming little book. I haven't been so amused & charmed & fallen in like with a main character this much since Mma Ramotswe from the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Hector's search in trying to understand what makes people happy or unhappy was touching & funny & quite insightful. Loved it. Can't wait to read book 2. ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Maybe I've became cynical... I noticed I can't enjoy those philosophical full-of-meaning yet so straightforward kind of book anymore. Once upon a time I've loved Coelho's The Alchemist. I found it so profound and it enriched my life to the point of overflowing. Now I cringe each time I read deep-meaningful sentences. I run away from books that were marketed as insightful, life changing, etc. I bought Laskar Pelangi series for my mother and refused to touch it despite her being wax poetic about i ...more
Mar 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hector is a psychiatrist. A successful psychiatrist who enjoys his job and is very good at it. Because he likes people and is interested in them.

But Hector had a concern. Why were so many people who had everything - career success, money, family, friends - not happy. It really worried him.

And that was why, when one of his patients told him that he looked tired, he decided to take a holiday. To travel the world and uncover the answer to the question that caused him so much concern.

Where does happ
May 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: one-star
Hector's search for happiness includes traveling around the world, sleeping with women while cheating on his girlfriend and making it okay by saying it is "what people in love do", making a list of pretty basic things that make a person happy, turning people into clichés and kind of racist comments, and all of this in a childlike almost too simple language.
نیکزاد نورپناه
Sep 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
This was my first “pop-psychology” book, and I got it for free. The first few pages were good and didn't sound like the usual cliché; the author was hinting at more fundamental problems like the empty depression of the middle class as opposed to the more fundamental problems of the poor and less-privileged. I guessed it was hinting on the unfair class system pertinent to the modern world societies. At least the author starts his quest to quantify and understand “happiness” based on such paradoxe ...more
Jan 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Francoise Lelord has had a successful career as a psychiatrist in the USA and France, and now writes full-time.

'Hector and the Search for Happiness' is almost child-like in it's simplicity, yet is so intelligent. It's really difficult to compartmentalise this novel into any specific genre - it's fictionalised self-help in a way, and could be classed as a modern-day fable.

The lead character, Hector, is a psychiatrist, he is successful in his career and enjoys helping people. Hector has noticed th
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I thought that this was an amazing book. I practically couldn't put it down, and the entire time I was reading it I felt like everybody I knew should read it.
I saw that this book got an average rating of about 3.5, and I think that's probably because of the simplicity of the book. The author was very careful to present people in almost generalities. I appreciated it, because although you find yourself wanting more detail because that's what you are used to, the fact of the matter is more detail
Aug 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: books-i-gots
I found this book on the clearance shelf at Borders and I'm very glad that I didn't pay full price for it. The book is a simple story about a psychiatrist who travels the world looking for the basis of happiness in different cultures. The author - a real psychiatrist - comes off as preachy and patronising to the reader, making assumptions that the average person doesn't understand basic terms and situations encountered in the course of Hector's travels. While I admit that some of the lessons of ...more
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Paulo Coelho, fans of Mitch Albom
This is not usually the kind of book I read. The first thing that caught my attention was the cute-looking cover. It was so pleasant to look at that I couldn't help myself and bought it. When I read the introduction and the first few pages, I was immediately reminded of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist and Mitch Albom's Five People You Meet In Heaven. It seemed like that type of books that tried to 'spiritualize' its readers by churning out life lessons and whatnot through a fictional tale... which ...more
Oct 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
this is definitely a 'self-help' book in the guise of fiction. not buying it, but thanks for the boost in morale.

the long and short of it: this book explain therapy and medication as well as unhappiness and happiness. it does all this by having a psychiatrist, HECTOR!, travel and analyze people's mundane lives. Hector makes assumptions on what would make these mundane lives better, and then calls these assumptions 'lessons on happiness.' He also accosts happy and smart people and picks their br
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
this is a really great book.

Hector is a psychiatrist, a good one, but he is getting tired from people, who fortunately had no serious illness but still feeling unhappy. Kenapa? Kenapa seorang yang mempunyai segalanya masih tidak merasa bahagia? So, Hector decided that he wanted to find what exactly made someone happy.

In what way does this book interesting? Cara penceritaan yang menarik. Buku ini seolah-olah buku philosophy yang langsung tak membosankan. Bagi aku, Hector adalah seorang individu y
Sep 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: movie
“(Be very wary of people who declare that they’re going to create heaven on earth, they almost invariably create hell.)”
― François Lelord, Hector and the Search for Happiness: A Novel

This was definitely a laugh-out-loud moment as Hector writes in his notebook -- "Lesson no. 18: Happiness could be the freedom to love more than one woman at the same time.

The problem, of course, was that women wouldn't agree."

This is a fun read because it is written in the language of a traditional fairy tale whil
Paula Vince
Jun 17, 2016 rated it did not like it
This is written like a fairy tale for grown ups. Hector is a young psychiatrist who is concerned that in spite of the advice and pills he administers, he can't seem to make his patients as happy as he wishes. He decides to take a trip around the world, taking in China, Africa and the USA, with the aim to understand what makes people happy or unhappy. If there's a secret, he's determined to find it.

This book has a simple, whimsical format, as if it's a kids' story book, and even begins with 'Once
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-french
I did rate this quite highly at first because I LOVED my reading experience of this. This is the first proper french novel (that I have read in french) for a looong time and I was super proud of myself that I understood it so perfectly and actually had zero problems getting back into the language.

Granted, this was a re-read for me but still, but it was an accomplishment nonetheless. I read this at first during my graduate year in high school and then I didn't see the problems that I see now (may
Jason Pettus
Sep 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

This slight little French tale, originally published in 2002 but just now coming out in the US, has apparently become one of those quirky global hits that has now sold over two million copies, and has spawned a whole series of sequels; essentially an autobiographical tale about the psychiatrist author's mi
Misha Ali
From the very brief preview I read before starting this book, I expected it to be like The Alchemist: a simple story with interesting lessons about life to be learnt along the way.

My first problem with this book was that the main character is a psychiatrist (and apparently a fairly successful one to boot) and yet his narrative would be better suited to a very sheltered child. Hector apparently does not understand what prostitutes are, refers to having sex (every single time) as "what people in l
Sep 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: kind-of-read
I did not like this book for a list of reasons. First of all the babyish writing. At first this childish language was interesting and cute, and then it just starts to get really annoying, obnoxious, and ridiculous. I literally could not stand this style of writing. I'm not 7. Secondly, this man cheats of his girlfriend. He sleeps with other woman and yet its no big deal. It's not even acknowledged, it just seems like a normal thing. The book was so boring and slow for me that I gave up on page 8 ...more
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

Overall I really enjoyed this book. The thing that kept my going was the overall tone of this book. I loved the writing style and how it flowed through the story. I also really enjoyed Hector and his slight tunnel vision at times.

I'm knocking off a half of a point just because of the pacing. This book never made me feel compelled to read it. Though I really enjoyed it, I could have put it down and would have never picked it up again and would have been okay with that!

I recommend everyo
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François Lelord, born 22 June 1953 in Paris is a French psychiatrist and author. He studied medicine and psychology. After getting his doctoral degree in 1985, he was a post-doctorate researcher with Robert Liberman at the University of California (UCLA), Los Angeles. He then worked as an attending physician at Hôpital Necker (which is affiliated with Descartes University) in Paris for two years.

Other books in the series

Hector (8 books)
  • Hector und die Suche nach dem Paradies: Hectors erste Reise
  • Hector and the Secrets of Love
  • Hector and the Search for Lost Time
  • Hector & Hector und die Geheimnisse des Lebens
  • Hector und das Wunder der Freundschaft
  • Hector fängt ein neues Leben an
  • Hector und die Kunst der Zuversicht

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