The Geography of Bliss

The Geography of Bliss
My Rating:

The Geography of Bliss:
One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World
by Eric Weiner

Context:

The cover of this book also notes Eric Weiner is a Correspondent with NPR. I don’t know if this is still true, but a Google search would probably tell me. Or maybe his Twitter.

The other day, Eric was kind enough to like my tweet, which Goodreads posted on my behalf after I updated my reading progress on his book. Kinda weird to be 2/3 through someone’s book, mark my progress on my Goodreads, and then have the author himself tell me he likes that I’m reading his book, all within a few hours.

Living in the future, am I right?

Here’s my tweet:

Now that I’m finished with the book, I can reaffirm this statement: I really, really, did enjoy this book.

It was pure coincidence I read this book during the first week of the new American presidential administration. During, let’s say, a somewhat tumultuous time in the United States, this was absolutely the right book, at the right time.

Summary:

Eric travels the world to try and figure out if where you are influences how you are.

It’s an interesting idea. Naive and unsophisticated, in the best possible way.

He makes plenty of other discoveries along his travels, and ties them into observations about the universal nature of happiness. He finds common threads between some of the happiest societies in the world, as well as unifying traits for the unhappiest.

Thoughts:

The Geography of Bliss is well-written and humorous, definitely easy to read in a few sittings. It offered several new prisms through which to consider my own happiness, and as it turns out, I have a fair amount in my favor.

I suspect most of us do.

I suppose The Geography of Bliss is really suggesting that happiness is a choice, and once you choose to be happy, it doesn’t really matter where you are.

In Eric’s words and experience:

Money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.
~ The Geography of Bliss, p.322

And he quotes:

“There is no such thing as personal happiness. Happiness is one hundred percent relational.”
~ Karma Ura, Bhutanese scholar and cancer survivor, p.324

“Just keep on smiling. Even when you’re sad. Keep on smiling.”
~ Happy, the Bartender, p. 321

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