The Happy Hero – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Happy Hero
Solitaire Townsend
Published by Unbound October 2017
Paperback 192 pages £8.99
ISBN: 978-1-91158-639-5

  • The Happy Hero comes with a promise: that you can be happier and healthier by simply making a difference to the world around you.
  • Named ‘Ethical Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2008, Solitaire Townsend is co-founder of ‘change agency’ Futerra and passionate about making sustainability so desirable that it becomes the normal.
  • Offering practical examples to get the individual started on helping to save the world, The Happy Hero shows us how we can combat even seemingly insurmountable global problems like climate change.

We have a world to save. Capes and masks are optional ….

Happy Hero cover

The Happy Hero reveals the secret of enjoying a better life and sets out the principles of how to feel good by doing good. Sounds simple, but where do you start? Everyday we are bombarded with fear and negativity from the media and have been trained out of happiness by these stories.

The Happy Hero offers a simple solution; stop worrying about the future and start making it better. Whether it’s donating blood, only eating meat at the weekend, buying vintage/pre-loved clothes or picking up litter in your street. Luckily, many of the changes we need to make to build a better world, we want to do anyway.

New research shows that trying to make a difference, even in the smallest ways, can extend your life, improve your relationships and even help you recover from a cold. So Superheroes, what are you waiting for …?

While I have enjoyed the book immensely at some points the author is a little out of touch with reality and as far as energy is concerned, oh my, oh my...

Nuclear fusion works and the Soviet Union has had a working nuclear fusion reactor – albeit a small one – operational in the 1980s. Not that the West took any notice of it and the idea. Why? Because they wanted to continue with fission reactors for one simple reason – reprocessing into weapons grade material.

As far as antimatter... dream on...

We have to reduce our energy consumption if we – as we must – want to ditch fossil fuels. Solar, wind, wave, and hydro (and the environmental impact of the large-scale ones of those, the dams, is far too great to continue with them) will not fulfill the needs of today, let alone those of tomorrow, in the way we are abusing energy.

On the other hand, though there is some CO2 emission as it is still being burned, there is methane gas. Methane digesters have been in use on Chinese farms ever since some time in the last century, if not before, and, theoretically, every farm, anywhere, could be self-sufficient in gas for heating and cooking, and with the help of also a rather old piece of technology, namely the Sterling engine, electricity. Add to that a few PV panels and a couple of “small wind” turbines – and a change in voltage used – and every farm could export to the neighborhood as well.

It is a well written book that also has a lovely story inside of it of a “Happy Hero” which, in itself, could become a book. Just a suggestion to the author for presenting the story in the form of a novel might get even more people reading about the matter in hand and being prepared to get involved in a direct way, whether small or large.

Solitaire Townsend has been trying to make the world a better place for nearly 30 years. As co-founder of Futtera she advises governments, charities and big brands like Danone and Nike on ways to solve social and environmental problems. With offices around the world she admits that making the world a better place was a damn good business plan. Solitaire was recently Chair of the UK Green Energy Scheme, a member of the United Nations Sustainability Lifestyles Taskforce, and a London Leader for Sustainability. Her master’s degree in both Shakespeare and Sustainability are put to good use in The Happy Hero.

© 2017