Book Review: The Geography of Bliss

Author: Eric Weiner
Title: The Geography of Bliss
Publication Info: New York : Hachette Auio, p2008.
ISBN: 1600242588


This is a travel book with a mission.  Weiner seeks out the happiest places on Earth testing out data from happiness research as well as trying to find his own bliss.

Will he find happiness in:

  • Netherlands, land of permissiveness
  • Switzerland, boring but content
  • Bhutan, where they add up the gross national happiness
  • Qatar, does money by happiness?
  • Iceland, where people enjoy how failure encourages their creativity
  • Moldova, the unhappiest nation on Earth
  • Thailand, permissiveness without Dutch order
  • Great Britain, where a reality tv show works on making Slough happy
  • United States, not so happy as it is wealthy

Weiner visits all these places, makes some interesting observations, and has fascinating conversations with citizens and expatriates alike.  The irksome thing about Weiner is that he tries too hard to be funny and often fails.  The book is redeemed though by when he plays it straight and simply reports what he sees, which is often hilarious.

A interesting twist on the travel memoir and a good resource if you’re wondering where to move – or where not to move – in search of happiness.

Recommended books: Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks, The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson and The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton
Rating: ***

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