So it would appear that on my blog this month, the general theme is “happiness” Earlier in the month I reviewed the book How To Be Happy by Eva Woods (which, spoiler alert, was incredible) and next week I have a “50 things that make me happy” post going live. Gosh, that’s an awful lot of positivity and happiness for one month isn’t it? Well, apparently not because today I’m here to talk about The Happy Brain by Dean Burnett. And then that’s enough happy-related content for the month, I think. I wouldn’t want to over do it now, would I?

I was kindly sent a copy of this book to review, after receiving an email about it. I’ve never been one to read a lot of non-fiction but it’s certainly a genre I’m getting into more and more lately. I’m just finding the vastness of it exceptionally appealing; there’s so many different, interesting things I could learn and read about. So much knowledge from other people to consume and so many incredible stories that deserve to be read. So thank you to the publisher for sending this over – I absolutely love the cover as well.

As an ex-psychology student, this book really appealed to me. I didn’t get too far in my psychology studies – having only done it for A Level but I’ve taken a couple of extra courses since for no other reason than I just find it extremely interesting. And speaking of school, I think The Happy Brain would be an excellent addition to the school syllabus. I felt like I was back in school as I was reading it – and that’s not a bad thing, I loved school and I’m a bit of a Hermione Granger.

The Happy Brain is written by Dean Burnett, a fantastically funny and witty neuroscientist who has researched extensivly into happiness. What makes us happy? Where does happiness come from? How can we be happy? All those super duper important questions. He takes different aspects of life from work, friendships, love, sex and where we live and goes in depth about why these make us happy – or not! And why nothing, not a single damn thing, is simple within the human brain. Because above all else that’s the main thing I’ve learnt from reading this book. We are freaking complicated!

I absolutely loved this book right from the introduction. Like I said, Dean is very funny. This isn’t like a text-book read with fact after fact after fact. Statistic after statistic. Boring after boring. Dean very much puts himself into this book, includes personal stories and anecdotes and opinions and makes learning about it fun. And not just for your Hermione’s in this world. He includes all the facts and the figures, yes, but they’re not too complicated and the author almost always backs up his examples with “real life” examples, to make it more clearer to the non-scientifically minded reader. So thanks for that.

The Happy Brain is totally engaging; it doesn’t read like a textbook nor is it a self-help book. It really isn’t a self-help book. And I also loved that. Dean isn’t telling us we need to do X, Y or Z in order to be happy. He’s explaining the science behind our potential happiness and then leaving it up to us to do as we wish with that information. Although it certainly didn’t help as a self-help book would (might) help, it definitely taught me a lot, made me more informed and aware and re-ignited my wonder and desire to learn about the mind.

Reading this book has actually urged me to hop onto Coursera and sign up for a few psychology-based courses. Which hopefully, make me happy. So Dean, you’ve done your job right! A really fascinating read for anyone who feels like they need an alternative to the “self help” book. 

You can find The Happy Brain and Dean Burnett at the following links:

Amazon UK

* I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review. No links included in this post are affiliate links.


  1. This sounds like a really interesting book! I think its so important to understand happiness and the role we play in creating our own 🙂 xx

  2. Fab post! I definitely want to read it after reading your post about it. You make it sound so good! I love how it’s not full of statistics and fact after fact. Didn’t know you studied psychology! What was it like? Sounds like an interesting subject! Love the book cover too.

    1. It is basically a lot of facts but it’s not written that way, it’s very anecdotal as well it’s just all round brilliant. And yes I did! Was fascinating 🙂 xx

  3. This sounds like an interesting book – not a self help or “preaching” book. I’m always intrigued about what makes people happy, in case I can utilise some for me. Great review, Jenny – love the book cover too, so cheerful! x

    Lisa |

  4. I did Psychology as a degree, and I always loved the emotions/social side of it. It’s so fascinating cause these are things we all (hopefully) experience and yet never really think about how it works. This definitely sounds like my kind of book – I’m also totally with you on the liking to learn thing! I’ll have to check this one out 🙂
    Beth x

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