Derren Brown – Cheltenham Literature Festival REVIEW

On the penultimate day of the festival it was only right to end on a high with some serious food for thought. Derren Brown delivered exactly what I ordered. Insightful yet grounded points on happiness and the origins of it.

We’ve seen him on tv as an illusionist and showman, but underneath all the pretentious talk and sleeping audience is psychology. He never claims to be magic, he makes it quite clear all his work is down to various types of psychology. This leads me onto his latest psychological
conquest, self help books. He claims the industry is “infantile” and so has spent the last three years writing.

His latest book ‘Happy’ aims to have a fresh angle on how to achieve happinscreen-shot-2016-10-18-at-16-20-22ess and to “debunk” other self help books. During his hour he crammed in an overview of his idea of the route to happiness. In doing this he casually quoted “Ronald van den Berg” and drew
heavily on Stoicism ideologies as if it was second nature.

Judging from the amount of quotes I scribbled into my notebook, it appears I agreed with an awful lot he said. Even now the quotes he used are still whirring around my head, “Happiness is a byproduct”, “We are a product of the stories we tell ourselves”.  And by overhearing conversations after the event, it seems I was not the only one who left with my mind reeling.

His calm and confiimagedent ora was only contrasted by his nervous tick; he seemed to know exactly how play his fans. Explicit jokes about gay porn and occasional swear words stirred the audience of all ages. He battled the Q&A with no sign of wavering, and could even answer the abnormal and lightly strange questions, casually informing us that the worlds happiest country is Denmark.

I think he shocked a few when he didn’t claim your happiness was created by God, “Universe doesn’t give a fuck about us”, due to his recent show Miracle being based around faith healing and religion. I’m just shocked at why I haven’t got the book yet.

Get his book here


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