François Lelord

Hector's Journey Publication date : September 1, 2002

Hector is a psychiatrist. He works in a hospital where he gives (some) medical assistance to patients suffering from serious mental disorders. He also has a private practice where he spends a lot of time listening to (only slightly) neurotic patients.
Everything is as it should be. But Hector is perplexed. What do all the patients who file through his private office want? And what does he really provide for them?
And so Hector decides to embark on a vast study. But he won’t carry it out in a laboratory, nor will he be assisted by statistics or a camera. He simply sets off on a trip around the world, from China to Africa, without forgetting make a stop at the café on the corner of his own street. Everywhere he asks the same stupid questions: Are you happy? What is happiness?
On his return from this pleasant journey, his notebook is full and he has gleaned some very simple lessons, which may (at least) help him to find happiness — and perhaps the rest of us as well.
Somewhere between philosophical tale and psychological satire, this book offers us a psychiatrist’s gentle and ironic look at our false certainties and real anxieties.

François Lelord is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He is the author of Contes d’un psychiatre ordinaire and the co-author, with Christophe André, of Les Personnalités difficiles and L’Estime de soi.