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The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,349 Ratings  ·  2,844 Reviews
narrated by author

"Laugh. Think. Repeat. Repeatedly. If someone told me this book was this good, I wouldn't have believed them."

--Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do With My Life?

"Think Don Quixote with a dark sense of humor and a taste for hashish and you begin to grasp Eric Weiner, the modern knight-errant of this mad, sad, wise, and witty quest across four continents
Audio CD , 12 pages
Published January 5th 2009 by Twelve (first published 2008)
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Jason Koivu
Feb 19, 2015 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, humor
A sourpuss Weiner travels the world and wonders why the frick everyone's so dang happy. And I thought I was a grump!

This was actually a very fun way to "travel the world," by piggybacking Weiner on his quest to discover what might be the reason(s) one nation of people is generally happier or more depressed than another.

A good deal of the book is about the author's own discovery. Some of that is personal and un-relatable, but unless you're the most worldly person of all-time, there will be corne
Jun 26, 2008 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny by: travelers, self-help, geography buffs
This was a very interesting book. It's about happiness, a subject that I never realized I thought about so much. Most of my thinking is subconscious, but throughout this book I kept questioning myself and trying to decide if I agreed with most of the major ideas. I did. Here's a few of the highlights:

"Extroverts are happier than introverts; optimists are happier than pessimists (shocking!); married people are happier than singles (certainly in Utah), though people with children are no happier th
Mar 20, 2008 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I will admit that I was initially put off by the title of NPR correspondent Eric Weiner’s engaging, highly readable travelogue, The Geography of Bliss. That conjunction of the global and the delightful conjured visions of a frequently flying chick lit heroine named, without irony – you guessed it. Thankfully (happily?), the book’s title is a minor bump along the road to an otherwise largely satisfying read.

While the author’s self-confessed grumpiness kills any chance of a candy-colored happily e
Feb 07, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: geography, nonfiction
Okay, not really fair to post a review, since I'm just more than halfway through (it has to go back to the library now). But: I've read enough to know that I find the book too superficial for my taste. The author covers several countries (so far: Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar), but there is nothing probing in his method. He stays a few weeks, talks to natives and to ex-pats and forms conclusions. Maybe the topic itself is irritating to me: talk enough about it, and it disappears. This ...more
The subtitle of this book is One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, and I am going to cut to the chase and discuss his conclusions. You're going to want to read the book anyway, to figure out how it can be true that a very unlikely country comes in first in the happiness lottery. But do get the audio of this book. The author reads it, and as an NPR commentator, talking is his trade. He is very good at it, and is as funny as David Sedaris in parts of this reading.

"Happiness is
Feb 13, 2009 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2009
This is a late entry in the glut of “science of happiness” books that peaked a couple of years ago. The best among those books was Daniel Gilbert’s “Stumbling on Happiness” and, while this book is not without a certain charm of its own, it poses no serious threat to Gilbert’s supremacy. It might seem as if this ground has already been covered more than adequately, but Weiner is smart enough to have come up with a reasonably appealing, and effective, gimmick. Instead of just giving yet another pr ...more
Apr 30, 2013 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I laughed my way--out loud--through most of this book. It was clever, very funny, and totally enjoyable. It's written by an NPR correspondent who travels the globe searching for the place, or source, of happiness. What makes us happy, and what doesn't make us happy? It was insightful and hilarious, peppered with quotes from philosophers (from Russell to Nietzsche), scholars, and spiritual leaders.


Just read it again for book club and enjoyed it the second time, though I was much more
Harun Harahap
Pertama, gue cuma bilang Eric Weiner memang seorang penggerutu. Bahkan bisa dibilang penggerutu yang handal dan profesional. Andaikan gue termasuk orang yang tidak sabar dengan gerutuan. Buku ini sudah tercampakkan entah di mana. Syukurnya gue seorang penggerutu amatir yang terkadang bisa mengerti perasaannya. Ide tulisannya cukup menarik, mencari negara yang paling membahagiakan. Sayang tulisannya begitu subjektif, kadang skeptis hingga gue muak membacanya. Kemudian gue punya cara membaca buku ...more
Oct 18, 2009 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
I wanted to throw this book in a lake (unfortunately, it's a library book). At times it was funny, sure, and it was kind of interesting. But I couldn't get over its shortcomings and so I didn't finish it (maybe you think that makes me unqualified to form an opinion of it, but I don't). First off, a real gripe I have with this these pop science (I use science loosely here, because I couldn't think of another way to describe the genre) books is that they never seem to have a bibliography, or alway ...more
Dec 10, 2013 Kalin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Цялата книга получава добро обобщение в епилога си:

Парите имат значение, но не колкото си мислим, и не по начина, по който си мислим. Семейството е важно. Също и приятелите. Завистта е отрова. Също и прекаленото мислене. Плажовете не са задължителни. Но доверието е. Както и благодарността.


„Няма такова нещо като лично щастие (...). Щастието е сто процента свързано с другите хора.“ (...) Щастието не е съществително или глагол. То е съюз. Съединителна тъкан.

Ето и личните ми открития (или преот
Dec 15, 2008 sal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I want to be Eric Weiner and travel the world and talk to people and learn about happiness and learn about culture (and lack there of) and learn about ... everything.
I don't want this book to end, I love it so much. And that's saying something, considering it's nonfiction.

I am contemplating buying 10 or so copies of this book, wrapping them with a ribbon, and passing them out to people I encounter as an altruistic Christmas present. I think t
Mar 13, 2009 Helynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved American journalist Eric Weiner's dry humor as he describes his recent romp around the world researching different societies and their philosophies on happiness. During his travels to the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Quatar (Persian Gulf), Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, India, Great Britain and finally back to the USA, he learns so much about various ethnic groups and what is and is not important to their overall contentment. My favorite chapter happened to be the visit to Iceland whe ...more
K.D. Absolutely
What makes people happy?

This basically is what this book tries to answer. It does not offer solution to unhappiness. As the author Eric Weiner puts it, he only hopes his reader to have something to "chew on". Boy, Weiner offers a lot of stuff that his readers could chew and afterwards either swallow or spit out. They are so many that I did not know which to one to pick, remember or forget.

The reason why they are so many is that Eric Weiner, an American, is a foreign correspondent for Nationa
Feb 19, 2008 Chrissie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, kirkus, humorous
This book makes an attempt to figure out what makes people happy and if perhaps some countries are more conductive to happiness than others. Can happiness be equated with living in a democratic, safe societies? How does money, power, family and friends, religion, trust, homogeneous versus heterogeneous cultural surroundings influence happiness. Some of the conclusions are not as straightforward as one would think. To what extent are people influenced differently? What seems to works in Thailand ...more
Mar 19, 2008 Hilda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hilda by: Michelle
I really enjoyed "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner. In the book Weiner, an NPR correspondent, travels across the world to understand why people are happy or unhappy. In the process he ponders on his own happiness or lack thereof. You will do the same when you read it.

Far from a dry, scholarly sociology study, the book is totally readable and at times very, very funny. In addition to the "happiness studies" we learn a little history and a lot of culture about the various countries. We also

The Geography of Bliss wasn't quite what I expected. I picked it up because one of the blurbs on the back compared it favorably to Bill Bryson's writing, and I was in a mood to laugh. Didn't make me laugh more than a few chuckles, but it did make me think.

Eric Weiner travels around the world, exploring the concept of "happy places," places where the inhabitants are considered "happy." He hits some places that are supposed to be among the happiest, like Denmark and Bhutan, and some on the other e
Julie Reynolds
May 07, 2015 Julie Reynolds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this book not to find the happiest place on Earth but to try and improve my abysmal grasp of world geography. I ended up learning something about both the world and happiness. I even underlined things. The grouchy, world-weary Eric Weiner is clearly searching for his own bliss and this is sometimes tiresome, but often very funny and occasionally inspirational (hence the underlining). There is some science in this book, and it turns out the secret to happiness isn’t really a very ...more
Christina Buckman
A book everyone should read. It's not sappy, lame or filled with useless information. It's not the kind of book where for ten minutes I feel awesome and then forget about it. It's a re-evaluation of happiness. Happiness is transient and complicated. It's fleeting, yet in our field of vision at all times. If I may use such a cliché, this is a profound study of what makes us happy; and right now, it's a cup of coffee and my dog. That's all I need at this very moment. Who knows what it will be in t ...more
Sesungguhnya aku ingin sekali memberikan bintang 4 untuk buku ini jika melihat rekomendasi dari teman-teman yang sudah membaca.

Baiklah, buku ini memang bagus. Banyak hal yang dapat kupelajari dan kugarisbawahi. Namun sepertinya ada hal yang membuatku merasa tidak sreg dengan buku ini. Bukan karena waktu membaca yang salah melainkan karena konten buku ini sendiri.

Menurutku, bab-bab awal buku ini terasa cukup menyenangkan untuk dibaca karena aku cukup tertarik mengetahui lebih jauh mengenai pemi
Mar 16, 2012 Uci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiksi
Banyaknya halaman yang saya lipat menandakan betapa saya menikmati membaca buku ini. Sudah pula berniat membuat review yang serius. Tapi setelah selesai saya malah kebingungan untuk mereviewnya. Buku ini memang lebih enak dibaca daripada dianalisis (alasan!)

Yang jelas, ini buku perjalanan dengan angle yang tidak biasa: mencari tempat paling bahagia di dunia. Ditulis oleh seorang penggerutu yang mengutip Eric Hoffer bahwa
Pencarian kebahagiaan adalah salah satu sumber utama ketidakbahagiaan
dan m
Jan 07, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book. Not only is Weiner brutally honest (and laugh-out-loud funny because of it), he is a great storyteller but never, ever tells you what to think. There were times that I questioned my own beliefs and wanted to have a bigger conversation. This is a good read for anyone. Highly recommend!

A few words of wisdom gleaned from the pages:

"Maybe happiness is like this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else. Maybe it is simply easie
Aug 09, 2013 Jerzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely entertaining, with Bill-Bryson-like self-deprecating and observational humor, and it contains several good insights.

Since I hail from Eastern Europe, I was disappointed by the chapter on Moldova. My home country's doing much better than Moldova now, but it was in a similar situation for a time -- and the author really milks the cheap humor out of that kind of depressing situation, with very little positive to say, which is a shame.
On the other hand, it was fascinating to read about li
Euisry Noor
"Perlu kiranya mempertimbangkan karbon. Kita tidak ada di dunia ini tanpa karbon. Karbon adalah dasar semua kehidupan, bahagia dan sebaliknya. Karbon adalah juga sebuah atom bunglon. Susunlah lagi--dalam deretan yang jalin-menjalin dengan ketat--maka Anda akan mendapatkan sebuah intan. Kumpulkan lagi dengan cara yang lain--Anda akan mendapatkan segenggam arang. Penataanlah yang membedakan."

"Semua negara yang menderita mirip satu sama lain; negara-negara yang bahagia merasakan kebahagiaan dengan
May 05, 2008 Annie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, memoir
Granted, I read this book right after Tales of a Female Nomad, but I spent most of the travels wondering when this author would actually connect with the people he was trying to figure out. Now granted, he kept falling back on the "but I'm a journalist, so naturally I can't too connected," excuse, but frankly it got old. I guess if I was supposed to read it as a lay-person's explanation of the science of happiness that's been more and more popular lately instead of his actual search for happines ...more
Feb 25, 2008 Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, travellers
If you've ever contemplated happiness, this book will put into words a lot of what you've probably been thinking about. There's a lot of paradoxes and ironies which keep the book fascinating (e.g., cold weather can actually promote happiness, darkness can promote happiness, less taxes can actually decrease happiness, etc.).

Eric Weiner's 10 year journey around the world is enlightening and enjoyable (his style is very entertaining).

If you're fascinated by cultural comparisons , country by country
Feb 11, 2009 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
I could not finish this book. Weiner takes a tone that grated on my nerves. Yes, the topic of happiness is fairly high stakes, and instead of treating it with gentleness and respect, he takes a flippant tone. He seems less interested in educating us about the various cultures he studies and more interested in showing off how witty, well traveled, sarcastic and self-deprecating he can be. After reading the intro chapter and the chapter on the Swiss, I felt as though I was stuck at a dinner party ...more
May 08, 2016 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

“The World Database of Happiness [in Rotterdam] is the secularist’s answer to the Vatican and Mecca and Jerusalem and Lhasa, all rolled into one”. (p. 7)

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World, by Eric Weiner, is the second of his themed travelogues that I’ve read; and I loved it almost as much as the first (The Geography of Genius). Perhaps neither for their profundity, as much as for their interesting, informative, insig
Dec 12, 2013 Pandasurya marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiksi, punya
"Perjalanan itu bersifat pribadi.
Kalau pun aku berjalan bersamamu,
perjalananmu bukanlah perjalananku."
-Paul Theroux
Farraas Muhdiar
Weiner traveled to a lot of countries based on a list he got from Ruut Veenhoven: Switzerland, Qatar, Bhutan, Iceland, United Kingdom, India, and a lot more. He depicted each place in detailed descriptions and embellished his story with his own witty, blunt thoughts. I can really feel what's different in each country, and what makes each of them special.

This is not a qualitative research about happy places in the world. This is just a story of a journalist who likes to travel and feels skeptical
Oct 12, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction
I had high expectations for this book, and it didn't live up to them. The premise of navigating the globe searching out what makes different countries happy (or unhappy, in the case of Moldova), was interesting, but his investigations of each country were superficial, at best. The chapters on The Netherlands and Switzerland were particularly obtuse. He did have usually one or two insightful sentences in each chapter, which I enjoyed when I came across, but I feel this would have been better suit ...more
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Eric Weiner is the author of The New York Times bestseller The Geography of Bliss, as well as two other books. His latest book, The Geography of Genius, has been called “smart, funny and utterly delightful…Weiner’s best book yet.”

The Geography of Bliss has been translated into 20 languages. A number of high schools and universities have incorporated the book into their curricula. Weiner is the rec
More about Eric Weiner...

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“Money matters but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.” 126 likes
“So the greatest source of happiness is other people--and what does money do? It isolates us from other people. It enables us to build walls, literal and figurative, around ourselves. We move from a teeming college dorm to an apartment to a house, and if we're really wealthy, to an estate. We think we're moving up, but really we're walling off ourselves.” 52 likes
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