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Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way
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Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  674 ratings  ·  114 reviews
What makes us happy? It's not wealth, youth, beauty, or intelligence, says Dan Buettner. In fact, most of us have the keys within our grasp. Circling the globe to study the world's happiest populations, Buettner has spotted several common principles that can unlock the doors to true contentment with our lives.

Working with leading researchers, Buettner identifies the happie
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ebook, 304 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by National Geographic (first published January 1st 2010)
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Maria
I saw the author speak at a conference on "Blue Zones", which was interesting, but the subject of happiness interested me more than longevity (although they are related), so I've only read Thrive, not Blue Zones. His approach is similar, he travels to 4 locations, in this case Denmark, Singapore, Mexico and an American town between LA and San Francisco. He speaks to experts, spends time with residents and draws out qualities of the lifestyle, the culture, the community's values, as well as the l ...more
Jesse Cozean
Studies on happiness always fascinate me, primarily because of how wrong we typically are about what makes us happy. Dan Buettner's idea, to find and study some of the happiest places on earth, is a unique look at what factors affect our moods and, ultimately, our lives.

One of the biggest takeaways from the book is that there are many roads to happiness. Buettner finds thriving communities in a culture that Americans would consider totalitarian (Singapore), socialist (Denmark), and Third-World (
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Scott
Blue Zone - in the first book a blue zone was an area in which people, communities etc. lived a significantly longer life than other places/people and Nat'l Geographic and Dan Buettner studied that.

This is a follow up book and the Blue Zones in this book that are being studied are those areas in the world where happiness is significantly higher than normal. The study tries to determine why and then take those outcomes and turn them into something that you could apply in your life.

I really enjoye
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Diana Campbell
This non fiction book that studies 4 of the happiest places on earth according to happiness surveys (who knew there was such a thing?)makes me want to go to Denmark and see first hand the country that is willing to pay high taxes for the security of having an educated population with a safety net that provides for the sick, elderly and disabled. I especially liked the concept of "folk schools" that encourage people of all ages to follow their bliss in the arts. The other communities studied were ...more
Kp
The idea is interesting, but I really think this is one of those books that should have been a magazine article containing the first and last chapters, leaving the rest behind. I probably wouldn't have picked it if my book club hadn't, but I'm not sorry I read it.
Peyton
National Geographic documentary on how we Americans can find health and happiness by emulating the diets and lifestyles of people similar to us who have already done so, but ink on paper not images on a screen.
Kris
Like "Blue Zones", this is largely a set of anecdotes of a few personal stories, with a smattering of more general cultural/societal suggestions. And probably even more anecdotal than Blue Zones. There are some good tips to be sure, but most are familiar from other happiness/positive psychology books. Though the examples do really illustrate how/why to put these in your life. I do appreciate that it was good at summarizing the sections/learnings as it went along, as well as at the end. And inter ...more
Sherry
This book would be 3 stars, but I felt it was a little too simplistic for me. Too anecdotal, too facile. However, for someone not obsessed with sociology, this is probably much more accessible, which I imagine was the intent.

The author visited several locales -- Mexico, Denmark, Singapore, California -- to see why the people living in those areas rank themselves so high on happiness scales. The driving forces behind their happiness were in some ways contradictory and were of course very cultural
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Douglas Tatelman
Who wouldn't want to live a long happy life. I gleaned a lot from the authors other books about longevity, but this volume ends up promoting a utopian ideal that would only result in a big controlling government.

I enjoyed reading about elderly farmers climbing hills, drinking wine, working in the fields. But I will focus on his American chapter on San Luis Obispo, California.

He neglects to tell you that this is an incredibly beautiful coastal town that makes one happy just showing up. And it is
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Amy
The book details Buettner's studies in Denmark, Singapore, Mexico, and San Luis Obispo to find what makes people there some of the happiest according to various surveys and measures. In each place there seems to be a different dynamic and reason for people's attitude. In Denmark, everyone is taxed "to the mean", so that everyone makes about the same amount. There, it creates a feeling that everyone is worthwhile and helps people do what they love, not what will make the most money.
In Singapore,
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Krista
I found this book very interesting and eye-opening, although quite frustrating at the same time. The first part of the book explores 4 of the happiest places on earth (which the author refers to as "happiness blue zones"): the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark, Singapore, Nuevo León, México, and San Luis Obispo, California. Through interviews with various people in each location, he puts together a hypothesis/case study of what makes the people living there so happy. The second part of the book focus ...more
Rebecca Dobrinski
As Spock often so eloquently shared, “Live long and prosper.” If National Geographic Society ever publishes a box set of Dan Buettner’s books, The Blue Zones and Thrive, they may want to consider asking the estate of Gene Roddenberry if they can borrow the phrase.

Buettner wrote The Blue Zones five years ago, the result of a research quest to document the areas throughout the world where people live the longest. The four areas he focused on are considered Blue Zones: Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Jap
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Deb
*From surviving to thriving*

What really allows us to thrive and experience authentic happiness? If you think it's all about having unlimited freedom, money, possessions, and status, you might want to get your hands on a copy of _Thrive_.

Highly engaging author Dan Buettner takes us on a journey to four curious locales that have been deemed "happiness hot spots." On first glimpse, it may not be so obvious how these places engender authentic happiness in their residents. As Buettner himself origina
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Roger
There's a lot of specific information stemming from rather few examples.

One would do well to be extremely cautious about taking examples from idealistic anomalies and suggesting across the board recommendations for happiness. Even the author question the validity of the opinion based information (since when does a socialist country breed honest opinions?). Also, the information might not be just counter-intuitive, but misleading. Freedom is highly regarded as an important factor in happiness, b
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Teshamae
This isn't a scientific book based on hard facts, but it does give readers a glimpse of four regions in the world where the residents label themselves as happy or very happy (Denmark; Singapore; Chihuahua, Mexico; and San Luis Obispo, Calif.). Using anecdotes, personal experience, and various studies, Dan Buettner presents an interesting picture of happiness. I am not sure I buy his premise that most people would prefer safety over freedom, and I cringe a bit when someone advocates surrounding y ...more
Chung Chin
The premise of Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way is to explore "four of the places identified by researchers as world leaders in happiness" - Denmark's Jutland Peninsula, Singapore, Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, and San Luis Obispo in California - to find out factors that accompany happiness, and finally, "informed by the latest scientific research, we'll (the author and his research team) distill the common denominators of satisfaction from each place to show you how to set up your ow ...more
Verena
The author of Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way previously gave us Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. I did not read the first book, but I got the gist of it from reading and hearing about it. I could have done the same with Thrive, which didn’t have enough substance to be a book and could have been published as an interesting journal article instead. Using the same structure as in Blue Zones (and I know this because the last section is a “ ...more
Jeffrey May
Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way by Dan Buettner is an “interesting” read, but lacks the narrative drive and cohesiveness that I tend to look for in nonfiction regardless of topic. I haven’t read his first book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer, so I may have been at a disadvantage; that is, not knowing what to expect. A “blue zone” is a place (demographic or geographic) where people live measurably longer lives.

I found the book oddly formatted, seemingly designed to maximiz
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Jeff Scott
Thrive is a travelogue to get completely immersed in. The fun part of it is to be able to look from a different cultural perception of life and hopefully it can change your outlook. Certain places one would be surprised are the happiest on Earth. Denmark with its long winters, Singapore with its restrictive laws, Mexico with its extreme poverty, but these areas are some of the happiest places on earth. The reasons why will be somewhat surprising, but not entirely.

Much of Dan Buettner's research
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Nancy
National Geographic sent Buettner out to discover and then research where in the world people live who are the happiest and why. Some of the places - Denmark, Singapore and Monterey Mexico, don't fit together very well, but they did have some things in common. This is an interesting study of humankind and how we go about tapping into those things that make us thrive such as freedom to choose, the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, having a social life etc. Buettner ...more
Sherry (sethurner)
The husband of a college friend recommended this title, and that is the main reason I decided to read it. To my surprise, I was interested and engaged in the book. This isn't a scientific paper, but rather an interesting overview aimed at the general reading public, of some of the things that make people around the globe report that they are happy. The first chapter sets up the goals of the book, and details who collected the data. The middle part of the book looks at four different areas (Denma ...more
Carol Miletti
While I've thought about it for several years, the book made me want to move to Denmark where you can walk from one end to the other. To be able to walk to grocery store, etc and have sidewalks is a dream.
They have double bike lanes.
It's so much easier than driving to the gym.

Next choice, find a walking city in the US.
Good advice for staying physically and emotionally healthy.
This book could/should have been a long article in National Geographic
Stephen
Apparently there is no "one" path to happiness, but several ways to reach that direction. I can picture some people being miserable in any of these four "happy" places. But then anyone could incorporate some of the values and ideas from these four places to make their lives more happy. And I guess that is the result of this book.

Happiness can be in a benevolent dictatorship like Singapore, and a Democracy like Denmark. Among extroverts in Mexico and introverts in Denmark. Where trust and involve
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Tracy
I heard the author speaking on NPR and had heard of his previous book called 'The Blue Zones' which was about places in the world where people live considerably longer (and in better health) than anywhere else, and tries to explain why. I thought that Thrive would include more of this in his analysis of happiness.

But this book was almost identical to the Geography of Bliss. I felt surprised that too such similar books could come out at near the same time. Also interviewed were some of the same
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Kyle
This was a fun read. The author shares stories from some of the happiest places on earth. I found something interesting about each culture and found myself thinking more deeply about choice I make for myself and my family. I especially love the section on Denmark. I would recommend this to any one who likes to read about other cultures and reflect on their own life.
Michelle
There has been a recent surge in books looking at how locale affects happiness and this was a very interesting read. This book looks at four areas around the world where the people are not only happy, but they thrive. Each area has very different characteristics that make the people happy, but at the end of the book they see what similarities are involved. Then there are tips that can be incorporated into your own life, since it is unlikely that the reader will be moving to one of this thriving ...more
Sami Ismail
Very clear and easy to read with excellent advice for authentic happiness. "Set reasonable goals for your life. Seek out a place to live where people are already thriving. Choose a community where you can live out your interests. Find a modest house in a neighborhood of other modest houses, with neighbors you can call friends and sidewalks that let you walk where you need to go. Recognize your purpose in living each day. Take time to appreciate the arts. Find a job that you love without worrying ...more
Virgil Larson
It is interesting to read about four distinct places that are high on the happiness scale. This is a short book that probably could be shorter, since it tells you what it's going to say, says it, tells you what it said, then summarizes what was said in the four main chapters

One of the activities that seems to make Danes happy is belonging to groups. Being a member of a book discussion group should bring happiness.

To be happy, you should: work close to home doing something you like, but don't spe
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Drew
I was excited to read this book because I so enjoyed the authors first book, The Blue Zones. The Blue Zones was about places in the world where people live considerably longer (and in better health) than anywhere else, and tries to explain why. Thrive is the same idea, only it focuses on places where people are reported happier than anywhere else, and tries to explain why.

While Blue Zones, for me, was an eye opening book and launched me into reading many more books about health, I found Thrive t
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Dylan
Surprisingly good! Very lightweight: breezy, even. But still a fun thing to flip through, especially when one is feeling too sleepy (or full) for heavier fare. I enjoyed Buettner's Blue Zones book on long-living people, but found it excessively anecdotal. _Thrive_ more readily gets to the point. Buettner takes us to Singapore, Mexico, Denmark, and a small California city. We see in these places that--surprise, surprise--happiness is about community, safety, family, walkable/bikeable lives, job q ...more
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National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity.
More about Dan Buettner...
The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest Sovietrek: A Journey by Bicycle Across Russia Africatrek: A Journey by Bicycle Through Africa Het geheim van langer leven The Blue Zones Solution: A Proven Plan for Healthy Eating and Living-Based on the Habits of the World's Healthiest People

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“I wake up in the morning and I see that flower, with the dew on its petals, and at the way it's folding out, and it makes me happy, she said. It's important to focus on the things in the here and now, I think. In a month, the flower will be shriveled and you will miss its beauty if you don't make the effort to do it now. Your life, eventually, is the same way.” 22 likes
“Gratitude always comes into play; research shows that people are happier if they are grateful for the positive things in their lives, rather than worrying about what might be missing.” 13 likes
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