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Publisher's Summary

“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 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?

Combining the winsome appeal of The Little Prince with the inspiring philosophy of The Alchemist, Hector’s journey ventures around the globe and into the human soul. Lelord’s writing inspires us to consider life’s great questions. Uplifting, empowering, and optimistic, this is a fable for our times and all time.

©2002 Hector and the Search for Happiness © 2002 Éditions Odile Jacob. English translation © 2010 Gallic Books. All rights reserved. Recorded by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (P)2010 (p) 2010 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"Intelligently naïve.” ( Marie Claire)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    33
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful, uplifting, full of wisdom ;-)

Wonderful, uplifting, full of wisdom ;-)
Wonderful, uplifting, full of wisdom ;-)
Wonderful, uplifting, full of wisdom ;-)

Liked it a lot... Really ;-)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Simple read

The narrator was clear and wonderful and the story was short and sweet! I would def recommend this book to others!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • TG
  • 03-21-15

Enjoyed this audio book

Liked the repetitive themes and the stories to support the themes. These are great grounding principles to reflect on. Thank you

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • JoAnn
  • Boston, MA, United States
  • 08-06-14

Light, cute, but a lost in translation/narration

This was a fun little read, but I definitely felt that there were some challenges along the way.

First, as a listener, I found it confusing to determine the narrator's country of origin- I assume M. Lelord is a Frenchmen and his protagonist was either coming from Paris or London, though it was difficult to ascertain as the narrator was, I believe, Australian and never dropped his Aussie accent. Part of the charm of this book was clearly intended to be that such details aren't supposed to matter (the lessons are universal), as he never specifically named countries or cities... but as a listener, I couldn't help being distracted as to why he changed the accents of the speakers to reflect their hometown (e.g., giving speakers "from the Land of More" American accents) but I was supposed to believe that an Australian was a European?

Second, this book is written very much in a French style. If you are not accustomed to French writing, you might find this off-putting. French writing tends to trend "simpler" with very concise, almost elementary, sentences carrying great weight. Compounding this writing style, I found that the translation of this book appeared to be done by a French person who is fluent in English, rather than a native English speaker who is fluent in French. The vocabulary is stiflingly limited and there were many times I felt that the translator, unaccustomed to natural English/American semantics/pragmatics, generated very stilted phrases which did not sound natural.

As a result of questionable narrator/translator decisions, the book might appear to be written from the point of view of a more literal/borderline autistic person, which is sharply in contrast to the protagonist's character of a debonair and well-educated psychiatrist. Furthermore, the narrator sounds VERY similar to Dan O'Grady who narrated The Rosie Project (a great read written from the POV of a man with Asperger's) and the writing style follows suit. Therefore, I found myself repeatedly surprised when the protagonist would do something with great social graces or casually seduce a woman to "do the things people in love do."

While this book was clearly intended to be whimsical, I found some of the translator/narrator decisions too distracting to lose myself in the message.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant & Inspiring

I would read this book again and again. It is beautifully told with clarity, simplicity and great wisdom.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

It's okay

I decided to listen to this as I had watched the movie on Netflix and LOVED it. So I figured I would really enjoy the book. This was one of those very rare cases when I actually enjoyed the movie more than the book.

To start off he starts his trip by sleeping with someone, while having a girlfriend. I realize some people may not consider this to be a big deal, and they were boyfriend and girlfriend, not married. But I wasn't a fan of that. He goes on to sleep with on other girl later in the book. And he constantly keeps bringing up the first girl he sleeps with, even though they had spent very little time together. In the movie he didn't sleep with anyone, and I preferred the ending in the movie then that of the book.

There were just some odd lines as well. My husband said it was originally written in French so many the English translations are odd at times? I'm not sure.

It's not the worse book I have ever read. There were a lot of things I liked about it, and quotes that I wrote down that I really liked. But this is one of those rare cases when I think you are just better off seeing the movie.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

watch the movie for free on Netflix

the movie was better, and the movie was not great. If you like third person baby book style, (which I do) then read the whole thing at a Barnes and noble and then buy another book.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Don't bother, you will not find happiness

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A better story line would have made this book better. I don't feel like I know Hector at all or why he seemed compelled to find and define the pursuit for happiness. The book only stated the obvious and had nothing more to offer. If you are a "glass half empty" type of person you will still be that person at the end of this book.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I enjoy a good history book with a historical setting. I'll probably lean towards on those after this book. I found nothing interesting here.

What didn’t you like about James Clamp’s performance?

The narrator did not make or break this book. It wasn't an outstanding performance and the narration didn't anything to liven it up either.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Hector and the Search for Happiness?

There are many scenes that just felt unbelievable. Any one of them I would cut from the book. Perhaps even start over.

Any additional comments?

I'm a bit silly about books like this, I actually listened to it twice since it is relatively short and because I thought perhaps I missed something the first time around. Nope, I didn't miss a thing, it was just as boring the second time.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent book and great form

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Its good to read, or listen to a good story. Life is so complicated and a good simple story can be a real reliefe. Lets smile.

Have you listened to any of James Clamp’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

James reads clearly and his voice is easy on the ears.

If you could take any character from Hector and the Search for Happiness out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Having diner with Hector would be really memorable. The adventures, his lessons and his narrative are really admirable.