Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Geography of Bliss

This is a fabulous book.

Most obviously, it's a travel book as the author visits different countries to explore happiness. Using self-reported survey data, countries are ranked on a happiness scale. I especially enjoyed the sections on Qatar (wealth as happiness?), Iceland (at the top of the scale), and Moldova (a most unhappy place).

I love non-fiction and one of my favorite types of non-fiction is travel essays. While I'm probably not going to be able to visit Bhutan or Iceland anytime soon, I love learning about other places. This book did not disappoint in terms of a travelogue. But it was so much more than that.

Beyond the travel aspect, the book is also a reflection on what happiness is and what it means to us. With depression and anxiety all too common despite our wealth and comfort, it is also a book that makes you think about your own life and happiness. Weiner includes some really powerful information about happiness. It really gave me a lot of food for thought. One suggestion to improve your happiness: Everyday list 5 things you are thankful for.

It's an insightful, smart, and funny book.

In this edition, there's a follow-up based on feedback the author has received from readers. One of the things people sent him was their happiest place. Six year-old Theodore from Omaha wrote in that his happiest place was "in bed with a good book and a warm blanket." Right on, Theodore, right on.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this too! I liked how the author tried to understand what made people happy in each country - gave me a lot to think about.