The geography of bliss Paperback – 14 Feb 2008
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness." The book uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. Are people in Switzerland happier because it is the most democratic country in the world? Do citizens of Singapore benefit psychologically by having their options limited by the government? Is the King of Bhutan a visionary for his initiative to calculate Gross National Happiness? Why is Asheville, North Carolina so damn happy? With engaging wit and surprising insights, Eric Weiner answers those questions and many others, offering travelers of all moods some interesting new ideas for sunnier destinations and dispositions.
To get the free app, enter mobile phone number.
Top customer reviews
I recently travelled to Bhutan and then read his chapter about happiness in Bhutan. Agreed silently with all the ideas in that chapter as i read through it and i could relate to it.
His chapter on other countries are also insightful, thought provoking and makes you read throughout. His analysis of languages and culture of a country (Icelandic words for welcome and bye means 'come happy' and 'go happy'. No wonder they are one of the happiest countries) is exceptional and worth reading.
Now i want to Geography of Genius too.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Weiner's quest here is to find a place and conditions that might cheer him up. He apparently considers only slightly the fact that any place he goes, he takes his unhappy self with him. The sub-title, One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, sets the stage.
Can the conditions of place cause or at least contribute to happiness? My personal experience and letters from readers says yes. I confined my search to the contiguous 48 states; travelholic Weiner takes us to nine more countries.
First to The Netherlands and the World Database of Happiness to learn what Ruut Veenhoven, "the godfather of happiness research" knows. On to Switzerland, where the natives feel more than contentment but less than joy. Thence to Bhutan, where the king has proclaimed Gross National Happiness; Qatar, where each new husband gets a $7,000 monthly allowance, a building lot and a no-interest home loan; Iceland, where we learn that colder is happier; Moldova, "the least happy nation on the planet" according to Veenhoven's data; Thailand, where keeping the long view of life creates much joking and laughter; Great Britain, where culture hinders happiness; India, a destination happy place; and then back home to Miami, where all that sunshine leaves our author cold.
We learn that money wealth gives but a small edge. America is the richest country the world has ever known, yet our self-help bookshelves sag. As poet-laureate, Charles Simic, noted in a recent interview: "It's an industry. It's really frightening. People need to read a book on how to be happy? It's completely an American thing."
Lucky for we readers, Weiner (pronounced whiner, poor guy) has a happy sense of humor that has survived the negative focus of journalism. The Geography of Bliss is a fun read, a lively travelogue of ideas, a mind tickler, a book that fulfills its purpose.
What I take from this entertaining tome is that a myriad of factors contribute to happiness: society, culture, community, biophilia, relationships, belonging, trust, openness, creativity, action, flexibility, unpredictability, altruism, a healthy balance of comparative feelings, hedonism, but not too much, and money, but just a bit. And, yes, place--if it allows these things.
On my writing studio wall is a framed piece of calligraphy that sums it up for me. It reads: "The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, someone to love and something to hope for." (Joseph Addison--1672-1719)