The Man Who Wanted to be Happy (Book Review)

Editor’s note: From time to time I will review books related to conscious creation, self-development, law of attraction and other subjects of interest to my readers. I’ll note when the book was purchased by myself or obtained as a free review copy from the publisher.

Who wouldn’t want to be happy?

Book cover for The Man Who Wanted To Be Happy

If finding happiness were only as easy as reading a book.

All too often we look to our external world to provide us sources of happiness. We look to relationships, careers, money, and security in vain attempts to feel good about our lives and ourselves. This search for “something” is really the thinly veiled pursuit of happiness and it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Just ask Julian, a vacationing schoolteacher in Laurent Gounelle’s The Man Who Wanted To Be Happy. During his final week of vacation in Bali, Julian seeks out a local healer in hopes of finding the source of his general malaise. Certainly there must be something medically wrong with him, he supposes. A quick examination by Master Samtyang reveals the problem: Julian is an unhappy person.

Julian spends the next several days engaged in dialogue with Samtyang about the nature of reality, quickly learning the basics of conscious creation. His lessons include the biggest lesson of all, that your thoughts and beliefs create your reality.

Master Samtyang uses Western examples to show Julian how he creates his own reality. He uses clear, simple analogies to illustrate points such as:

  • How Julian’s self-perceptions are the source of how people treat him
  • Where his beliefs come from
  • How beliefs filter experiences of reality
  • Using daydreams to form desired experience
  • How following dreams and impulses leads to the most fulfilling life possible
  • How expectations of others shape experience
  • How everyone in the universe is connected
  • How beliefs about money can lead to or deny happiness

During his weeklong journey into conscious creation, Julian finds himself where many others do when they’re first introduced to self-development concepts. He understands them on the surface—intellectually—but struggles with feeling them emotionally and fully integrating them into his experience. He is in the first stages of re-creating his life from a new perspective, using his newly acquired concepts to guide him along the way.

Julian is quick to understand the lessons he is presented with. In a few instances, the homework Samtyang assigns leads to a deeper understanding of key concepts and helps Julian begin to shift his perceptions to a new way of approaching life.

Who should read this book

Some readers learn best through storytelling and for them, this is an excellent introduction to the key points of conscious creation. The clear language and straightforward dialogue between Samytang and Julian provide a framework for the lessons and offer a quick-look at the concepts without much depth. The tropical setting of Bali gives a luscious quality to the storyline, helping the reader understand why our main character is suffering from unhappiness in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Readers familiar with self-development and new-age theories, however, may find the lessons too basic. Julian seems to anticipate the proper responses for each of the questions Samtyang asks, which sometimes seem out of place for a Westerner not familiar with such topics. In addition, the lessons themselves serve only as a basic outline; there is no depth to each point.

Julian’s story is not unlike many people who have started on the new age path. He begins to understand the finer points but we don’t see the struggle that will ensue as he attempts to integrate conscious creation into his life. That part of the learning curve—integrating the material into daily life—is the bulk of this work and is some of the hardest and yet most rewarding.

Those readers interested in new age concepts and self-development will benefit from an exposure to the concepts presented. Like seeds, the concepts presented are best planted and then nurtured through individual reflection and experience.

My experience

While I enjoyed The Man Who Wanted To Be Happy, I felt the book was lacking depth into the both the subjects lead character’s story arc. Although we can see how Julian struggles with the concepts when he’s alone, we can’t see what kind of impact the lessons will have on his life.

I do appreciate the examples Master Samytang brings up with Julian’s search for happiness. There are few gems in the material regarding Julian’s thoughts of changing careers that many may find useful. Even though the concepts are simplistic, the material is there and available as a good reference or refresher for the reader.

We come to understand that Julian has started a journey, a journey towards finding happiness. And as many have surmised already, this is a life-long journey that takes a considerable amount of time and effort. There is no Hollywood ending for the story, which feels a bit more natural and lifelike than other possible endings.

In all, this is a good introduction to conscious creation, presented in a fictional format, which makes it more relatable than some non-fiction works. But like any good workbook, the information must be applied through study, reflection and integration in order to make a useful impact.

FTC Disclosure notice

I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

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