Cover image for Happy brain : where happiness comes from, and why / Dean Burnett.
Happy brain : where happiness comes from, and why / Dean Burnett.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2018]
Physical Description:
344 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
"First published in 2018 in the UK by Guardian Books and Faber & Faber Limited under the title The Happy Brain: The Science of Where Happiness Comes From, and Why."
Happiness in the brain -- Happiness at home -- Working on the brain -- Happiness is other people -- Love, lust or bust -- You've got to laugh -- The dark side of happiness -- Happiness through the ages.
Examines cutting edge theories on the science of emotion and interviews with people presumed to be "happy" to investigate where happiness comes from, why humans need it so much, and what it has to do with the human brain.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
612.82 BUR Book Adult General Collection

On Order



The pursuit of happiness is one of the most common and enduring quests of human life. It's what drives us to get a job, fall in love, watch stand-up comedy, go to therapy, have questionable obsessions, and come home at the end of the day. But where does happiness come from, and why do we need it so much? Is lasting, permanent happiness possible--or should it be? And what does any of this have to do with the brain?In this delightful sequel to Idiot Brain, Dean Burnett explores these questions from a neuroscientific perspective. He combines the latest research and theories about how the brain works with interviews and contributions from relevant individuals, such as relationship experts, psychology professors, comedy writers, celebrities, millionaire gurus, and pretty much anyone else involved in bringing about happiness in others. Distinguished by Burnett's signature wit and curiosity, Happy Brain elucidates our understanding of what happiness actually is, where it comes from, and what exactly is going on in our brains when we're in a cheery state. Humorous and enlightening, Happy Brain explores a fascinating aspect of modern neuroscience and, in the process, reveals something about what it means to be human.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Cardiff University neuroscientist Burnett's second book (after Idiot Brain) presents a grand tour of psychological research into happiness. Following a chapter covering basic brain chemistry and structure, the author considers topics known to have an impact on happiness: home and belonging; work and achievement; sociability and loneliness; love and sex; humor and laughter. He also discusses when hurting others produces happiness and how happiness appears throughout the life cycle, from infancy to old age. Also a stand-up comic from Wales, Burnett's writing is suffused with British wit including humorous asides, anecdotes, and interviews with copious endnotes, although it lacks illustrations and an index. This work's strength lies in drawing together varying types of research, from fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) studies to classical psychological research synthesized in an easy-to-read and entertaining fashion. Self-help readers may be disappointed that a general brain activity pattern for happiness cannot be found, nor does the author make suggestions for how to achieve happiness. VERDICT Readers seeking an overview of the current research on happiness, who appreciate British humor should find it enjoyable and enlightening.-Nancy H. Fontaine, Norwich P.L., VT © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 Happiness in the Brainp. 5
2 There's No Place Like Homep. 41
3 Working on the Brainp. 70
4 Happiness Is Other Peoplep. 104
5 Love, Lust or Bustp. 139
6 You've Got to Laughp. 182
7 The Dark Side of Happinessp. 219
8 Happiness Through the Agesp. 257
Afterwordp. 295
Acknowledgmentsp. 302
Notesp. 304
Indexp. 335