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

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  27,421 Ratings  ·  3,312 Reviews
Weiner spent a decade as a foreign correspondent reporting from such discontented locales as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. Unhappy people living in profoundly unstable states, he notes, inspire pathos and make for good copy, but not for good karma. So Weiner, admitted grump and self-help book aficionado, undertook a year's research to travel the globe, looking for the ...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published January 28th 2008 by Twelve (first published 2008)
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May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jason Koivu
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
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
Mar 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 10, 2013 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
Feb 13, 2009 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
Sep 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: travel, non-fiction
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
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Susan Johnson
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was surprised at some of the happiest places on Earth and not surprised at others. I remember when I first read Alexander McCall Smith's Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency and was surprised at how happy they were in Botswana. It just goes to show that there are many factors that make people happy. I mean both Qatar and Bhutan are two of the happiest places and they are very different. Its an interesting perspective.
Dec 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing

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 14, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: room-101
What's the chances of this - three raspberries in a row!

How can the only stop in Holland be Rotterdam to give an anaylsis that the Netherlands is not where you would find bliss!

Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Пиша този си отзив доста време след като съм затворила последната страница на тази книга и това се поражда най-вече заради факта, че чувам само положителни отзиви от приятели. Ами не- на мен не ми хареса!
Във всяка изписана страница си личеше журналистическия подход. Въпреки, че се разглежда начина на живот в различни страни и се търси мястото, където хората са най- щастливи , което само по себе си предизвиква интерес, за мен беше скучновата, не добре написана, повърхностна и на много места невя
Feb 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jul 08, 2013 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
Петър Стойков
Щастието е измамна гад и не е лесно да се определи не само какво те прави щастлив, ами и кога си щастлив и дали изобщо. Различните държави имат различни думи за щастие, но и тия думи имат често различно значение - докато за някои то може да е експлозивна, интензивна емоция като когато се влюбиш или ти се роди дете, за други е по-скоро спокойното задоволство всичко да ти е наред.

Ерик Уайнър преглежда класацията на най-щастливите държави по света, която някакъв професор е направил и се заема да по
Jan 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Thanks GR for reminding me about this. I don't remember much, but I do remember it was interesting.

ETA 2012 - ironically, I do remember even now some general principles that Bliss discusses that I wish more people understood and implied. Some of the ideas keep coming up in many of the psych books I've been reading since. For example, 'the paradox of choice' principle - we get frustrated if there's more stuff out there than we can use, because of the feeling that we must be missing out on somethi
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, kirkus, humor
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
Julie Reynolds
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 22, 2012 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 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Sarah Sammis
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: released
Inspired by research done in the Netherlands on the World Database of Happiness (page 7), NPR correspondent and self proclaimed grump Eric Weiner decided to travel to the happiest countries in the world to see if he could figure out the secret of happiness.

Weiner's tour included The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, India and home to the United States (Florida). Like so many recent travelogues the book quickly stops being about the research and

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
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, library
This travel memoir had me laughing. It was interesting hearing how different cultures in the world define and seek happiness.
May 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 10, 2016 rated it liked it
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
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
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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
“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.” 142 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.” 61 likes
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