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Geography of Bliss

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  17,383 ratings  ·  2,474 reviews
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 peop...more
ebook, 283 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Grand Central Publishing
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Jun 26, 2008 Jenny rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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...more
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...more
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...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

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...more
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
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...more
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
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 National...more
Mar 19, 2008 Hilda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more

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...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
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...more
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Dec 12, 2013 Pandasurya marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: punya, non-fiksi
"Perjalanan itu bersifat pribadi.
Kalau pun aku berjalan bersamamu,
perjalananmu bukanlah perjalananku."
-Paul Theroux
This book was a 5 until the end. I loved Weiner's writing style and sense of humor but it fell flat in the end and I almost rated it 3.
I wish he'd spent much more time on the USA, (seemed like an afterthought) and that was very disappointing. I wish he'd visited a village in Africa, or just Africa somewhere / anywhere! Glaring omission.

That said, there is so much interesting information in this book and I had so much fun reading it. I learned a lot and it was a pure delight to read. I laughed a...more
Jul 16, 2012 Ruth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: casual fun read
Recommended to Ruth by: Book in Box/ Library

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

“My bags were packed and provisions loaded. I dragged my reluctant friend Drew along with me to find happiness… this day I am convinced I would have reached it….had the Baltimore Co. Police concluded that the shoulder of a major thoroughfare for a couple of 5 year olds…was too dangerous..” Having penned these words at the beginning page of his book Author Eric Weiner had me!! He took me along with him thru thousands of miles and multiple countries looking...more
An interesting concept around what makes people happy: Switzerland has happy folks, Moldova, well not so much. Weiner discovers that maybe it is because when life is predictable and there are societal rules to follow in your country, life is better. It makes sense. I want to know that corruption isn't driving decisions around whether I get quality food at the market or a job to support my family. Not saying that there is no corruption in happy places, but perhaps everyone feels like they have a...more
I had low expectations for this book by NPR Correspondent Eric Weiner, with good reason. The "Praise" on the back was by a series of no-name authors, none of whom gave an accurate description of the contents of this delightful read. Also, there was a "bargain Price" sticker on the front of the book when I bought it at a library sale.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fascinating contents, however, which constitute a study of happiness all over the world. The self-proclaimed "unhappy" author, in h...more
I've almost finished it. It's enjoyable and moves quickly. I find the research studies and quotes from "happiness experts" more interesting than his personal stories but his personal stories play a necessary role in creating the context for the research.

Some of my favorite ideas included in the book: In 1973, King Wangchuk of Bhutan responded to the Western idea of "GNP" (Gross National Product) with "GNP" (Gross National Happiness), demanding that all government decisions be based on the degre...more
This guy is a journalist who usually covers the tragedies of life. He decided to go in search of what and where happiness is. So far it is delightful and entertaining. I find his observations to be spot-on. (Who doesn't find it funny that the Swiss have zero sense of humor but rate themselves as happy?) It helps my love of the book that he starts his search in Europe because I love that place!

This was a very worthwhile book. I enjoyed his humor and his travels. He includes interviews with locals...more
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
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...more
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...more
This is a gem of spiritual/travel book that informs while keeping us smiling. Weiner seems to cover all aspects of the happiness question including even those that are at the other end of the spectrum (no, not Iraq). Although his tone is comfortably conversational, there is lots to sink your teeth into here. So you can read this book for the pure fun of it or to gain a greater understanding of what we may be missing here in America (apparently we rank fairly low on happiness scale). Either way,...more
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...more
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Based on this book, which countries would you most like to visit? 33 119 Sep 01, 2014 03:53AM  
Los Angeles Laker...: GoodReads post 2 2 3 Apr 07, 2014 06:35PM  
Los Angeles Laker...: GoodReads post 1 2 1 Apr 07, 2014 06:28PM  
Goodreads Librari...: 1st edition listed as separate book 2 12 Jan 25, 2014 03:50PM  
Almost Fearless: ...: March 2013: The Geography of Bliss 40 80 May 28, 2013 02:59PM  
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FOR as long as he can remember Eric Weiner wanted to be a foreign correspondent. So he could hardly believe his good fortune when, one day in 1993, NPR dispatched him to India as the network's first full-time correspondent in that country. Weiner spent two of the best years of his life based in New Delhi, covering everything from an outbreak of bubonic plague to India's economic reforms, before mo...more
More about Eric Weiner...
Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine Little Star (Dora the Explorer) Steer Clear of Haunted Hill (Ghostwriter) Deadly Detention A Match of Wills (Ghostwriter)

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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.” 106 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.” 39 likes
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