Finding Happiness by Reading A Novel?

November 17, 2010 Katharina Lochner
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François Lelord On Happiness

A lot of the literature on happiness and how to get there is very scientific and kind of dry. However, there is a good option for everyone who is interested in getting in touch with the science of happiness in a more entertaining and pleasant way: books by the French author François Lelord. His first novel, “Le voyage d’Hector ou la recherche du Bonheur” (“Hector’s Voyage or the Search for Happiness”) is about a psychiatrist who travels around the world, looking for what can make people happy.

There is a review of the book in The Independent.

The conclusions he comes to are pretty much consistent with what researchers have found out about happiness:

  • Making comparisons is a good means of spoiling one’s happiness.
  • Happiness often comes as a surprise.
  • Many people see their happiness only in their future.
  • Many people conceive of happiness to mean being richer or more powerful.
  • Sometimes happiness means not grasping something.
  • Happiness is hiking between beautiful unknown mountains.
  • It is a mistake to believe that happiness is the goal.
  • Happiness means being with the ones you love.
  • Happiness means the family is not lacking of anything.
  • Happiness means having an occupation one loves.
  • Happiness means having a house and a garden.
  • Achieving happiness is more difficult in a country that is governed by bad people.
  • Happiness means feeling that one is useful to others.
  • Happiness means being loved for what one is like.
  • Happiness means feeling truly alive.
  • Happiness means celebrating
  • Happiness means thinking of the happiness of those one loves.
  • Happiness would be being able to love several women.
  • The sun and the sea make everybody happy.
  • Happiness is a way of looking at things.
  • Rivalry is poisonous for happiness.
  • Women are more concerned with other people’s happiness than men.
  • Does happiness mean to care more for the others‘ happiness?

About the Author

Katharina Lochner

Dr Katharina Lochner is the former research director for the cut-e Group which was acquired by Aon in 2017. Katharina is now a researcher and lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Europe in Iserlohn, Germany. In her role at cut-e, she applied the research in organizational and work psychology to real-world assessment practice. She has a strong expertise in the construction and evaluation of online psychometric tools.

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