The Geography of Bliss Review
TITLE: The Geography of Bliss
AUTHOR: Eric Weiner
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Spirituality, Travel
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 “unheralded happy places.” The result is this book, equal parts laugh-out-loud funny and philosophical, a journey into both the definition of and the destination for true contentment.
Apparently, the happiest places on earth include, somewhat unexpectedly, Iceland, Bhutan, and India. Weiner also visits the country deemed most malcontent, Moldova, and finds real merit in the claim.
But the question remains: What makes people happy? Is it the freedom of the West or the myriad restrictions of Singapore? The simple ashrams of India or the glittering shopping malls of Qatar?
From the youthful drunkenness of Iceland to the despond of Slough, a sad but resilient town in Heathrow’s flight path, Weiner offers wry yet profound observations about the way people relate to circumstance and fate.
Both revealing and inspirational, perhaps the best thing about this hilarious trip across four continents is that for the reader, the “geography of bliss” is wherever they happen to find themselves while reading it. | Read more at Goodreads.com
Kill Three Birds with One Stone with The Geography of Bliss
Such an awful cliché really, but reading The Geography of Bliss truly does kill three birds with one stone.
The first is learning. Eric Weiner digs deep into how geography—and culture—impact happiness. I won’t spoil the surprises, but his discoveries are enlightening. They also confirm why it’s time for me to move. In the meantime, I have some mindshifts to ponder that will definitely give me a happy boost.
Second is vicarious wandering. Eric gives his readers a taste of ten countries—including, but not limited, to Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, and Moldova. While he may not cover the typical touristic topics during his visits, you definitely get enough of a sense of each place to know whether to add it to your Bucket List. Iceland got bumped up higher on my list thanks to Eric.
Third, but not least, is laughter. Eric reminds me of one of my favorite travel-ish writers, J. Maarten Troost, who wrote one of my all-time favorite book—The Sex Lives of Cannibals and another worthy read—Lost on Planet China. Make me laugh and you have my attention—and my heart.
The world needs more happiness.