The Geography of Bliss

The Geography of Bliss

by Eric Weiner

Gail Reid: This book's subtitle "One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World" accurately reflects the author, a self-described curmudgeon and his mission to find out what and where constitutes happiness. He mixes his observations with some statistical research, psychological and philosophical musings and the dry sense of humor that we come to expect from an NPR commentator. It is not until the last chapter that we learn the common boundaries that make up happiness. However, along the way, we visit England, Qatar, Iceland, Thailand, India, Moldavia, Switzerland and the Netherlands. People in Iceland are very happy in spite of the fact that it is often dark all day. People in Qatar are financially well off but the entire culture is imported from places beyond this oil-rich desert. Moldavia has nothing to recommend it other than the "freshest fruits and vegetables"! The author's constant attempt at wittiness was annoying as was his overall crankiness. If I could find a publisher willing to subsidize my world-wide travel, I think I could instill a little more joie de vive into a geography of happiness!
Rating: ***

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