Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World” as Want to Read:
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

by
3.83  ·  Rating details ·  30,014 ratings  ·  3,465 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonInto the Wild by Jon KrakauerEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertInto Thin Air by Jon KrakauerIn a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
Favourite Travel Books
1,827 books — 4,136 voters
The Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniMemoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakLife of Pi by Yann Martel
Foreign Lands
2,106 books — 2,379 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  30,014 ratings  ·  3,465 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
Adina
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Eric Weiner used to work as a conflict zone reporter which meant he was usually sent to less fortunate places. Moreover, he wasn't a happy person himself, more on the opposite side. One day he decides to visit the happiest countries in the world in order to find the sources of bliss, write a book about it and maybe find the key to his own elation.

The country he visited in his journey were The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Thailand, Great Britain, India. He also visited the
...more
Jenny
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
...more
Jason Koivu
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Jessica
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
Andy
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
...more
Trish
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
Rachel
Sep 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
David
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 ...more
Kristen
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
...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.
sal
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
...more
Karen
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
Bettie
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!

Meh.
Sarah
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
...more
Helynne
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 ...more
Hilda
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
...more
Christina
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 ...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
...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
Cheryl
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
...more
Larry H
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't know what appealed to me most about this book--the concept of a traveler scouring the globe for the happiest places in the world, or the fact that the author is a self-labeled "grump." This was a terrific concept, well-researched and captivating from start to finish. Eric Weiner thoroughly investigates what makes people happy in a number of different countries, from the Netherlands and Switzerland to Bhutan and Thailand, and even stops in a "miserable" country along the way. I learned ...more
Chrisl
Sep 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, asia, dew01-499, 2000s
Recently started re-read in large print. Didn't get far. Deducting star.
***
4-stars first time through, when book was new.
***
5 - stars for quote:

"When the last tree is cut,
When the last river is emptied,
When the last fish is caught,
Only then will Man realize that he can not eat money"

Shay Dawn
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
There are a lot of good things about this non-fiction book. The reader travels through many different countries and experiences many different cultures. The people that Eric Weiner talks to are interesting, with complex pasts.

But there are many, many negatives. It's hard to like Eric Weiner (pronounced Whiner), who also travels to these countries with you. The way he talks about women... his wife probably read the book a blushed in multiple parts. He describes, very detailed, the breasts of a
...more
Chrissie
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
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
...more
Shawnie
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, non-fiction
This travel memoir had me laughing. It was interesting hearing how different cultures in the world define and seek happiness.
George
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ENTERTAINING FUN CUM GRUMPY BLISS.

“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,
...more
Annie
May 04, 2008 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Turi

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
...more
Kelly
Being a cynic myself, I loved the title of the book. The author, an NPR correspondent, provides a humorous and witty account of his travels around the world in search of the happiest places in which people live. His goal was not to find what makes people happy but rather locating the geographic area where there appears to be an abundance of happiness. The author's witty sarcasm is better appreciated listening to the audio version. I found it a laugh out loud informative book.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Great Railway Bazaar
  • Депресията ме обича
  • The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific
  • Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid
  • The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure
  • 1,000 Places to See Before You Die
  • Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings
  • Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
  • The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific
  • The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World.
  • Живот в скалите
  • Tony Wheeler's Dark Lands
  • Orang-orang Biasa
  • Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town
  • What If?: Randall Munroe | Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions | Summary & Takeaways
  • Лято
  • Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu
  • Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World
See similar books…
370 followers
Eric Weiner is the author of The New York Times bestseller THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS as well as two other books, and the soon-to-be released THE SOCRATES EXPRESS.

His books have been translated into 20 languages. A number of high schools and universities have incorporated them into their curricula. Weiner is the recipient of the Borders Original Voices Award, and a finalist for the Barnes &
...more
“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.” 144 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.” 66 likes
More quotes…