My Thoughts About Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord (Book Review #92)

One of the reasons why I read Hector and the Search for Happiness is because of it’s promising premise. The book is about Hector, a successful young psychiatrist, who wants to know what happiness really means. He has this innate ability in being good in talking to people until he realized that he’s not becoming much of a help to his patients. He begins doubting himself which eventually resulted in him questioning his own happiness then he started to become depress.


Taking the advise from one of his patients, he set off and took a holiday. He decided to take this opportunity to refresh himself and also look for what’s really the meaning of happiness that he can eventually use to treat his patients. No country was mentioned as to the countries that Hector visited but based on the description of the places that he visited, the first is probably somewhere in China, then a country in Africa and some place in the Americas.

His first stop is somewhere in China where he plans to consult an old monk about his search. In there he meets an old school friend who is very successful in his field , a beautiful Chinese young girl who works as a prostitute that became both the cause of his happiness and sadness. Then he found himself somewhere in Africa where he was introduced to the lives of the poor, he meets a drug carted boss, gets kidnapped by local criminals and meet a young and beautiful woman whom he shared a night with.

Francois Lelord, Hector and the Search for Happiness


His next stop is somewhere in the Americas where he meets a renowned Professor of Happiness to show him his list that he has written during his travels. There Hector learned that happiness can be measured through methods employing calculations. Then lastly, he found himself back in the first country that he visited where he tied-up loose ends and fulfilled a promise.

I like how the book was so simply written. The author used plain language with clever and wit inserted in-between making it an easy read. It’s a wise choice I may say because by doing that the author was able to explain the jargons in simple terms that is not what should be expected from a book that tackles a topic like as big as looking for an answer to what happiness really means. The book was originally written in French and was translated into English by Lorenza Garcia.

Francois Lelord, Hector and the Search for Happiness


As he traveled to different places and talked to locals, his observations became his guide in making his list for what makes people happy. The book offers a lot of insights about happiness. Like for instance, the reason why some people seems more happy and positive than others is because some people have more gifts for happiness. In his journey, Hector came up with a total of twenty-three lessons on happiness. The lessons are weaved well into the story. It includes being with people that you love, your attitude and outlook in life, material wealth, having a job you love and appreciating the place where you’re at among others.

What annoyed me though about this book was the main character’s attitude towards women and sex. It’s so annoying that at one point he’s thinking about Clara, the girl he’s having mutual understanding with in his country, but when he sees a lovely woman in a country that he’s at it seems like he forgets everything and falls in love with whoever girl he meets. Then he regrets it and do it again. It’s a little bit disturbing how the author represented women in the book.

Francois Lelord, Hector and the Search for Happiness


Written by a psychiatrist himself and a self-help author, this 165-page international bestseller book is heart-warming overall and charming in it’s own way. Taking from how the author introduced the book, it’s sort of based on the author’s real life experiences. The author created characters that are diverse and amusing. The main character’s skill in having genuine interest towards people came very useful in getting him out of dangerous and strange situations. Overall, this is an intelligently written book.

Some on the list of Hector might be too known or obvious but neverthelss offers new insights and still inspiring as it is reflective as to what happiness and contentment really means. I am not much of a self help type of books because I am not comfortable in reading a book about what should I do but I did somehow enjoyed this book. Hector’s on-point observations will help readers assess themselves and realise just what real happiness is. The book is the first in the series, the second being Hector and the Secrets of Love and the third, Hector and the Search for Lost Time and if I get the chance to get my hands on them I’ll definitely check it out.

Francois Lelord, Hector and the Search for Happiness


The film adaptation of Hector and the Search for Happiness was released in cinemas in August 2014, the movie stars Simon Pegg and Rosamund Pike.

3 stars out of 5.



Author: François Lelord, translated from French by Lorenza Garcia
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Part of a Series: Yes, Book #1
Release Year: August 2010
Publisher: Penguin Books
No. of Pages: 165 pages

About the Author

1851836_6_2307_francois-lelord_f9f5772393a7f576f9fc5e03a863bbd2François 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.
In 1989 he opened up his own practice which he closed down in 1996 to work as an advisor on stress and job satisfaction for several companies. Having co-written various self-help books, he was commissioned to produce another but found himself instead writing a novel, Hector and the Search for Happiness, the first in a series of adventures featuring a psychiatrist protagonist. In 2004, Lelord went to work for an NGO in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. He now lives in Thailand with his wife and son. (Photo courtesy of Quotestagram /  About the Author text courtesy of Goodreads)

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