The Geography of Bliss

The Geography of Bliss: One Grumps’ Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner is his voyages for happiness and the meaning of it. He travels to ten countries finding how what makes us happy and what makes us miserable. The countries as follows in the book: The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, India, and America. The happiest place seems to be Iceland, and I found myself relating to and fascinated by the Icelandic approaches to life. The book is well researched and there are many discussions and threads on happiness, its relation to trust, envy, choices, productivity, society, individuality, altruism, spirituality, and more. There are lots of quotations from philosophers, writers, scientists, and the intriguing people he interviews. I noted many of them in my tumblr blog; I have a thing for quotes. It was insightful, amusing, and enlightening. As with many travel books, there were stories of many people of different walks of life and as a journalist, Weiner takes them all down deftly and expertly. Also like a journalist, he was personal without being overly so in the memoir portions of the book. I quite like this book, finding it thought provoking and something necessary to my own contemplations about what makes us happy or at least content. It is a fascinating topic, and mixed with the ideas of culture and geography, it can open ideas of how we all lead lives. I do not think it is a self-help book, but definitely consider it a more philosophical travelogue. Recommended.

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