I just finished reading The Geography of Bliss and loved it!
Where can happiness be found? This is the question that drove Eric Weiner, a NPR foreign correspondent and self-proclaimed grump to travel to ten countries in search for answers about one of life’s most fundamental questions.
During this time of transition when I have completed ten years serving as the Minister of Channing Memorial Church in Newport, RI, this book was a fascinating journey! The author begins in the Netherlands, home of the World Database of Happiness. Through his research there, he discovers the happiest citizens live in some surprising places: Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Thailand, and India. He also explores an experiment conducted in a depressed village in Great Britain as well as visiting the dreary country of Moldova finally heading home to the United States where for all our wealth, Americans are not the happiest people on the planet.
The Geography of Bliss contains many insights into different cultures and the many paths to a meaningful life. It was delightful to travel to different countries from the comfort of my armchair and to meet a diversity of people. Eric’s skills as a journalist and genuine curiosity into what makes people tick captivated my attention. How do you know if someone is happy? You ask them! It turns out most people are pretty accurate in measuring our own contentment. Although happiness is still elusive to define, a universal truth rose to the surface, foremost happiness is relational. More than money, profession, age, or climate, those people who had the greatest sense of trust in themselves, others, and their place in the world, knew happiness.
This is not a preachy or overly-idealistic book. Eric Weiner includes a good dose of sarcasm, irony, and humor to make this a fun and memorable book. I recommend it highly!
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