Book Review: Happy Brain

My sabbatical was great for many reasons, personal and professional. One of the big ones: I could read books! I love to read, and my schedule had gotten so full that there was no time for it. So, the first book I read on sabbatical? Happy Brain by Dean Burnett. 10/10 would recommend. 

Leading into my extended leave from work, I experienced my first personal mental health crisis. For several months, I felt wrong. Not like myself. My moods and emotions became erratic and unpredictable. It’s very strange, that feeling that you’ve lost yourself. So I did something about it. 

I was open with family and friends about feeling “not like myself”, and I talked with my primary care physician about options. And let me say this – if you ever find yourself feeling wrong or not like yourself, tell someone. A friend, a sibling, a doctor, a counselor. Tell someone right away, and get to work on finding your way back. For me, it was books and talking. As I said, I love to read. Reading books about the brain, psychology, self-care, faith (and so on and so forth) was my way of doing the work. Learning about the science of stress, anxiety, and depression. I’m a fact-based girl. I seek knowledge and understanding. Reading and learning about what was happening in my brain and body was therapeutic. 

I recommend Happy Brain specifically because it is charming, fast-paced, witty, and at times, a bit silly. It’s real and relatable and fun. Dean Burnett is a neuroscientist (among other things) in the UK, and he tackled the subject of Happiness – what it is, where it comes from, and how we get some for ourselves. 

At Horizon Point, we help design workplaces that are inclusive, encouraging, and innovative. We believe in meeting employees’ basic needs AND growth needs, not just one or the other. Healthy brains and bodies make better employees, better family members, better community leaders. Folks like Dean Burnett and Adam Grant are helping the masses learn about the importance of mental and emotional health in workplaces and communities, and we share their insights to help our local business and community partners to move the needle forward. 

I won’t tell you whether he solved the happiness riddle, I’ll just tell you to read Happy Brain. Learn some brain science, have some laughs, and explore your unique self. Let’s do the work together. 



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Jillian Miles Massey