THROW out the self-help books and stop thinking you’re the centre of the universe if you want to be happy, and remember “more or less everything is absolutely fine".

At least that’s according to illusionist Derren Brown who is embarking on a mission to debunk the myths around happiness that have filled the bookshelves of many an anxious person over the years.

Taking a stand against the multi-million pound business of ‘being happy’, the 45-year-old has spent the last three years researching what it is to be happy and why it is that we’re all obsessed with making sure we find it.

He’s come up with a, rather simple idea, that we all just need to stop trying so hard.

It is, Derren says, an incredibly modern phenomenon, not helped by the self-help ‘think positive’ brigade.

“It’s a very modern idea that we are entitled to be happy,” he says, explaining his research into the philosophy of the Stoics which formed the basis for much of what he speaks about in his new book, ‘Happy’.

“This idea that if you think positively that things will come to you, that you set goals and try to achieve them, is actually quite damaging. A lot of the way we are told you should be should be trying to achieve happiness just makes us more unhappy and more anxious about not being happy.”

After 16 years shocking audiences with his ‘mind-reading’ skills and big on-stage tricks, Derren is about to embark on a slightly more reflective tour, ‘No Tricks: An Evening with Derren Brown” speaking about happiness.

The talk comes to Reading’s Concert Hall on October 1, and while he doesn’t claim to know the secret to happiness, he does say realising there are some things in life that you can’t control, and stopping yourself from worrying about the bits that you can’t change, is a pretty good place to start.

So, is it the end of illusions and reading minds on stage after 16 years in the business? Derren isn’t too sure.

“As you get older you kind of want to do things that are useful and worth something to others,” he says.

“When you’re in your 20s you think about and who you are and things like that, so magic tricks and impressing people is important. This is probably a symbol of growing up, and I don’t know if things will continue going in that direction, it would be nice, though.”

The talk will be followed by a question and answer session where, he confirms, ‘nothing is off limits’.

No Tricks: An evening with Derren Brown comes to Reading Concert Hall this Saturday (Oct 1) from 7.30pm

Tickets £27, visit