How to Be Good: A Journey of Personal Transformation

How to Be Good is a novel written by Nick Hornby, centered around the lives of Katie Carr, a doctor, and her husband David Grant. The story explores David’s transformation into a better person with the assistance of a spiritual healer named DJ GoodNews. Their attempt to persuade individuals to provide shelter to the homeless in spare bedrooms forms a central plot point. However, their plan faces obstacles, leading David to abandon his efforts and his idea for a book on how to be good.

David’s Journey Towards Self-Improvement

In the novel ‘How to Be Good’ by Nick Hornby, the story revolves around the lives of Katie Carr and her husband David Grant. David, a doctor, suddenly makes a life-altering decision to transform himself into a better person. This decision sets the stage for a series of events that challenge the couple’s beliefs and values.

DJ GoodNews: A Catalyst for Change

David’s journey towards self-improvement takes an unexpected turn when he encounters DJ GoodNews, a spiritual healer. Intrigued by DJ GoodNews’ teachings and philosophy, David becomes deeply involved in his spiritual practices. The healer’s influence becomes a catalyst for David’s desire to make a positive impact on the world.

The Mission to Accommodate the Homeless

Inspired by DJ GoodNews, David and Katie embark on a mission to convince people to open their spare bedrooms to accommodate the homeless. They believe that by providing shelter, they can contribute to solving the homelessness crisis. However, their efforts prove to be unsuccessful. Despite their genuine intentions, they face resistance and indifference from the community.

Frustration and Disillusionment

As the couple’s plan fails to gain traction, David’s enthusiasm wanes. Frustrated and disheartened, he eventually abandons his efforts and his idea for a book on how to be good. The realization that changing the world is not as simple as he initially believed leaves David disillusioned.

Exploring Themes of Personal Growth and Altruism

Throughout the novel, Hornby explores themes of personal growth, the complexities of altruism, and the limitations of individual efforts in effecting societal change. The characters’ struggles and failures highlight the challenges inherent in trying to be good in a flawed world.


In conclusion, ‘How to Be Good’ delves into the journey of Katie Carr and David Grant as they navigate the complexities of personal transformation and societal impact. Their unsuccessful attempt to convince people to accommodate the homeless sheds light on the difficulties of making a difference in an imperfect world. Ultimately, the novel raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of goodness and the limitations of individual actions.

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