François Lelord studied and practiced psychiatry in Paris, and was a consultant for companies interested in reducing stress for their employees. On a trip to Hong Kong, the Hector character popped into his mind. The huge success of Hector and the Search for Happiness led him to spend more time writing and travelling, ending up in Vietnam during the Sars epidemic. There he practiced psychiatry for a French NGO and met his future wife Phuong. Today they live in Thailand.
Hector and the Search for Happiness was adapted for film in 2015, starring Simon Pegg and Rosamund Pike.