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Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,066 Ratings  ·  145 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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by National Geographic (first published October 19th 2009)
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Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Daniel Clausen
Reading a book on happiness is a great way to remind yourself how to be happy.

The book doesn't offer any advice that is beyond the realm of common sense: spend time socializing with others, get good sleep, find a job you love, and live in a place that is fantastic.

There were a few tidbits I thought were easy to forget: living someplace fantastic and being around fantastic people beats having a lot of money; random acts of kindness helps us be happy; volunteering is good for the soul. There was
Jesse Cozean
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 (
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
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
Oct 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: therapy-tools
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
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
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Costa Rica is first and Denmark second in the list of top 10 happiest countries listed in the book. The others are Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Mexico, Norway, Canada, Panama and Sweden. US is number 20. As with his book Blue Zones that explored longevity, Buettner provides great information on happiness here. As I read this book August 20, 2016, we in the US were being bombarded with all the ugly political campaigning. This quote from Buettner seemed particularly apropos: "Fair legal institut ...more
Renee Limon
While not as engaging as the first Blue Zones, it did have some interesting take-aways. One quote made me laugh out loud.. Under the heading "Be realistic about the joys of parenthood": "In fact, women find caring for children less pleasurable than jogging and only slightly more pleasurable than doing the dishes." I'd like to see that in a Mother's Day greeting card.
Peyton Stafford
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.
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Diana Shaffner
This book examines people's lives in some regions of the world that score highest in surveys on individual happiness. The book does not give how-to advice on what to do to be happy but rather repeatedly boils things down to the fact that what makes people happy is usually not how much money they make or what things they own but rather personal satisfaction, stability, and a sense of purpose in their daily lives. Unfortunately, the book indirectly endorses heavily socialistic governments which ma ...more
Emil Nuñez
Obviously the message is a good one. Don't just live - thrive. The delivery, however, was lacking. This book is really just a guy interviewing random people from random countries. "Hey, you're poor and your rights are being infringed upon... But you're happy!" or "You're a spoiled brat who gets jealous of others' successes... But you're happy!"

This book was also more of a how-to for City planners and leaders, not everyday folk. It mentions creating walkable towns, giving religious freedom, and
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, audio, 2017
3.5 stars if I can give out partial stars. What does it take to be a happy person on this planet? The author set off to explore this notion and found "zones of happiness" of which he explored 4: Denmark, Singapore, Monterrey Mexico and San Luis Obispo California. Interesting nuggets in here and a common thread among all these locations and cultures. I don't typically read non-fiction but this one kept me engaged. Audio is well read.
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kimberlyzarnick
Recommended to Michael by: Kimberlyzarnick
Now I want to know all about Hygge and living in Denmark!
Jan 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Rebecca Dobrinski
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
I would actually give this book 3 1/2 stars.

This is a National Geographics book written about some of the happiest places in the world--Denmark, Singapore, Monterrey, Mexico and San Luis Obispo, California--and what makes them happy. A great book to listen to on my way home from work for a few days when I wanted a mind break but still wanted something enriching.

I appreciated the mix of both the quantitative and qualitative or anecdotal research provided from top psychologists and social scienti
Jeff Scott
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*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
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
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
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
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Claudia Taller
I find it interesting that so much time and effort has gone into studying happiness. But it’s been an ongoing thing. Buettner looked at studies and decided to visit four of the happiest places on earth to find out what their secret was. He visited Denmark, Mexico, Singapore, and St. Luis Obispo in the US. I could live in Denmark, where everyone is near the sea and woods, where people don’t watch too much TV, where life-long living takes place, and where people can follow their passion when choos ...more
Jan 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity.
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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.” 27 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.” 18 likes
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