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Hector and the Search for Happiness

I’m over a week removed from when I finished Hector and the Search for Happiness (and I just finished The Alchemist today) so I feel that it is time to record my thoughts about Hector and his travels.

Hector is a psychiatrist in an unknown, but affluent, country. “He felt dissatisfied because he could see perfectly well that he couldn’t make people happy” (5). This dissatisfaction (along with fears that the discontent of his wealthier patients make be contagious) prompts him to start a journey to many different places in order to discover the truths about happiness.

“You must be careful when you ask people whether they’re happy; it’s a question that can upset them a great deal” (15).

“The basic mistake people make is to think that happiness is the goal!” (38).

“He wondered whether belief in God was a lesson in happiness. No, he couldn’t make that a lesson because you don’t choose whether to believe in God or not” (68).

“This is something all children wanting to survive should know, then: people are kinder to a child who smiles, even if it doesn’t always work” (80).

“Here, there are plenty of reasons to be unhappy, even for people like us who are relatively fortunate. So when there’s an occasion to be happy we want to make the most of it! We don’t care about the next day, we never know what it might bring!” (99).

“Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think” (129).

“True wisdom would be the ability to live without this scenery, to be the same person even at the bottom of a well. But that, it has to be said, is not so easy” (151).

These are the lessons that Hector wrote in his notebook:

Lesson 1: Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
Lesson 2: Happiness often comes when least expected.
Lesson 3: Many people see happiness only in their future.
Lesson 4: Many people think that happiness comes from having more power or more money.
Lesson 5: Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.
Lesson 6: Happiness is a long walk in the mountains.
Lesson 7: It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal.
Lesson 8: Happiness is being with the people you love.
Lesson 8b: Unhappiness is being separated from the people you love.
Lesson 9: Happiness is knowing your family lacks for nothing.
Lesson 10: Happiness is doing a job you love.
Lesson 11: Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own.
Lesson 12: It’s harder to be happy in a country run by bad people.
Lesson 13: Happiness is feeling useful to others.
Lesson 14: Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are.
Lesson 15: Happiness comes when you feel truly alive.
Lesson 16: Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.
Lesson 17: Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love.
Lesson 18: Happiness could be the freedom to love more than one woman at the same time.
Lesson 19: The sun and the sea make everybody happy.
Lesson 20: Happiness is a certain way of seeing things.
Lesson 21: Rivalry poisons happiness.
Lesson 22: Women care more than men about making others happy.
Lesson 23: Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy?

The most important lessons for me from this list are Lesson 3, Lesson 7, Lesson 8, Lesson 13, Lesson 17.

I am falling asleep so I must continue this post another time!

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  1. Liesha says

    I love this book too! I like to observe about human and I think that what we always do is searching for happiness. It’s the ways to find it that is different and very exciting to explore! The most important lessons for me from the list are Lesson 3, Lesson 15, and Lesson 8. And right now, I’m still working on Lesson 10.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Lessons From Hector at Exploring Happiness linked to this post on March 25, 2011

    […] my last post I mentioned that Lesson 3, Lesson, 7, Lesson 8, Lesson 13, and Lesson 17 were the lessons that made […]