Weiner spent a decade as a foreign correspondent reporting from such discontented locales as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia Unhappy people living in profoundly unstable states, he notes, inspire pathos and make for good copy, but not for good karma So Weiner, admitted grump and self help book aficionado, undertook a year s research to travel the globe, looking for the unheralded happy places The result is this book, equal parts laugh out loud funny and philosophical, a journey into both the definition of and the destination for true contentmentApparently, the happiest places on earth include, somewhat unexpectedly, Iceland, Bhutan, and India Weiner also visits the country deemed most malcontent, Moldova, and finds real merit in the claimBut the question remains What makes people happy Is it the freedom of the West or the myriad restrictions of Singapore The simple ashrams of India or the glittering shopping malls of Qatar From the youthful drunkenness of Iceland to the despond of Slough, a sad but resilient town in Heathrow s flight path, Weiner offers wry yet profound observations about the way people relate to circumstance and fateBoth revealing and inspirational, perhaps the best thing about this hilarious trip across four continents is that for the reader, the geography of bliss is wherever they happen to find themselves while reading it


10 thoughts on “The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

  1. Adina Adina says:

    Eric Weiner used to work as a conflict zone reporter which meant he was usually sent to less fortunate places Moreover, he wasn t a happy person himself,on the opposite side One day he decides to visit the happiest countries in the world in order to find the sources of bliss, write a book about it and maybe find the key to his own elation The country he visited in his journey were The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Thailand, Great Britain, India He also visited the m Eric Weiner used to work as a conflict zone reporter which meant he was usually sent to less fortunate places Moreover, he wasn t a happy person himself,on the opposite side One day he decides to visit the happiest countries in the world in order to find the sources of bliss, write a book about it and maybe find the key to his own elation The country he visited in his journey were The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Thailand, Great Britain, India He also visited the most unhappy country in the world according to the University of Happiness in Netherlands, namely Moldavia Weiner spent a few weeks in each country interviewing its citizens and expats, trying to identify what made each place happy Every country was different, the sources of happiness went from the love for nature in Switzerland, spirituality in Bhutan and India to the importance of not being envios and collaboration in Iceland and less thinking in Thailand The bottom line though, is that people are happier with other people, as the author concludes belowThe self help industrial complex hasn t helped By telling us that happiness lives inside us, it s turned us inward just when we should be looking outward Not to money but to other people, to community and to the kind of human bonds that so clearly are the sources of our happinessI enjoyed the writing style, it was both funny and informative, ironic but also hopeful I enjoyed listening to the author reading his own book while I was stuck in traffic, it immediately lifted my spirits Except for the chapter about Moldavia,on that belowI m not sure, I reply How do you define it Sara thinks for a moment then says, Happiness is your state of mind and the way you pursue that state of mind Aristotle saidor less the same thing, though he didn t say it in a smoky Icelandic bar frequented by androgynous women How we pursue the goal of happiness matters at least as much, perhaps , than the goal itself They are, in fact, one and the same, means and ends A virtuous life necessarily leads to a happy life I have to talk a bitabout the chapter on Moldavia because I could find so many common points with us Romanians, a fact also mentioned by the author It is common sense because Moldova was part of Romania, most of them speak my language and we all enjoyed the friendly caress of communismThe next order of business finding Moldova on the map This proves trickier than expected I scan my atlas several times before finally locating it, sandwiched between Romania and the Ukraine, two significantly unhappy countries in their own right Misery loves company My favorite, though, the expression that sums up this country, ties it into a neat little package and sticks a bow on it, is Nu este problema mea Not my problem A country with so many problems yet nobody s problem Nobody takes ownership Luba s apartment building, for instance, desperately needs a new water pump That explains the strange noises She tried to get people to pitch in it would benefit everyone but nobody would No one is willing to contribute money to something that will benefit others as well as themselvesyup, I hear this way too often Recently we started to realize that yes, it is actually our problem as the author writes laterThe bullet hit you as well You just don t feel the pain yet Or as Ruut Veenhoven told me The quality of a society isimportant than your place in that society In other words, better to be a small fish in a clean pond than a big fish in a polluted lake. Envy, that enemy of happiness, is rife in Moldova It s an especially virulent strain, one devoid of the driving ambition that usually accompanies envy So the Moldovans get all of the downsides of envy without any of its benefits namely, the thriving businesses and towering buildings erected by ambitious men and women out to prove they are better than everyone else Moldovans derivepleasure from their neighbor s failure than their own success I can t imagine anything less happy. very familiar again, some say that it was better under the communist regime because then at least nobody had anything Which wasn t entirely true If you knew how to get by, you were cunning enough and kissed the right asses you hadUnfortunately, that spirit is still very much alive in my country Moldovans, it seems, treat the dead better than the living You should see our funerals and all the rituals after that It makes one go insane The seeds of Moldovan unhappiness are planted in their culture A culture that belittles the value of trust and friendship A culture that rewards mean spiritedness and deceit A culture that carves out no space for unrequited kindness, no space for what St Augustine called long before Bill Clinton came along the happiness of hope Or as the ancient Indian text the Mahabharata says Hope is the sheet anchor of every man When hope is destroyed, great grief follows, which is almost equal to death itselfIn a nutshell that s what living under communism does to a nation s soul


  2. Jenny Jenny says:

    This was a very interesting book It s about happiness, a subject that I never realized I thought about so much Most of my thinking is subconscious, but throughout this book I kept questioning myself and trying to decide if I agreed with most of the major ideas I did Here s a few of the highlights Extroverts are happier than introverts optimists are happier than pessimists shocking married people are happier than singles certainly in Utah , though people with children are no happier th This was a very interesting book It s about happiness, a subject that I never realized I thought about so much Most of my thinking is subconscious, but throughout this book I kept questioning myself and trying to decide if I agreed with most of the major ideas I did Here s a few of the highlights Extroverts are happier than introverts optimists are happier than pessimists shocking married people are happier than singles certainly in Utah , though people with children are no happier than childless couples surprising Republicans are happier than Democrats I ll have to ask Jeff about that one people who attend religious services are happier than those who do not people with college degrees are happier than those without, though people with advanced degrees are less happy than those with just a BA damn that MBA people with an active sex life are happier than those without no comment women and men are equally happy, though women have a wider emotional range having an affair will make you happy but will not compensate for the massive loss of happiness that you will incur when your spouse finds out and leaves you people are the least happy when they re commuting to work I could have told you that busy people are happier than those with too little to do could have told you that too wealthy people are happier than poor ones, but only slightly surprising Most of all this book made me want to travel I d love to really spend some time in different countries, and get to know the people and their culture My brief stay in London taught me invaluable lessons some of which shall not be named here , but one major lesson I learned was that people in foreign countries think differently I knew they dressed differently, ate differently, talked differently, but realizing that they THOUGHT differently was an important revelation It s made metolerant.Another particular point that stood out was the concept of thinking We certainly believe that thinking and analysis are important, but the Thais don t think so One of their expressions is Don t think too much I like this concept I know, I m a teacher, I should encourage thinking And I do I think that examining ideas, literature, cultures, politics, etc is very important I m grateful to my higher level math classes for helping me to think through complex topics However, I think many of us have taken it too far Think just a minute about Seinfeld The show drives me crazy I know everyone everywhere loves this show, but it just makes me tense They spend the entire show talking about nothing, nitpicking every detail of everything And they re miserable You know they are We re told that the examined life is a good life, but I think that can go too far I m not advocating ignorance, stupidity, or small mindness I m just saying that most of what we spend our lives thinking and worrying about doesn t really matter As a side note, they don t sell a lot of self help books in Thailand, or England, or anywhere else really other than the U.S.Here were Weiner s conclusions 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.Our happiness is completely and utterly intertwined with other people family and friends and neighbors and the woman you hardly notice who cleans your office Happiness is not a noun or a verb It s a conjunction Connective tissue I like that I put this book down with a sigh and thought That was a good book I ll try not to overthink it now


  3. Jessica Jessica says:

    Okay, not really fair to post a review, since I m justthan halfway through it has to go back to the library now But I ve read enough to know that I find the book too superficial for my taste The author covers several countries so far Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar , but there is nothing probing in his method He stays a few weeks, talks to natives and to ex pats and forms conclusions Maybe the topic itself is irritating to me talk enough about it, and it disappears This Okay, not really fair to post a review, since I m justthan halfway through it has to go back to the library now But I ve read enough to know that I find the book too superficial for my taste The author covers several countries so far Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar , but there is nothing probing in his method He stays a few weeks, talks to natives and to ex pats and forms conclusions Maybe the topic itself is irritating to me talk enough about it, and it disappears This has always been the case for me with analyzing humor, and maybe it s the same with happiness Probe it, analyze it, and lo and behold we re not so happy any Or perhaps it s that his conclusions seem pretty obvious to me In any case, Weiner s jaunty tone isn t witty or interesting enough for me, so.there you have it I m a grump when it comes to this book I expectedenlightenment


  4. Jason Koivu Jason Koivu says:

    A sourpuss Weiner travels the world and wonders why the frick everyone s so dang happy And I thought I was a grump This was actually a very fun way to travel the world, by piggybacking Weiner on his quest to discover what might be the reason s one nation of people is generally happier ordepressed than another A good deal of the book is about the author s own discovery Some of that is personal and un relatable, but unless you re the most worldly person of all time, there will be corne A sourpuss Weiner travels the world and wonders why the frick everyone s so dang happy And I thought I was a grump This was actually a very fun way to travel the world, by piggybacking Weiner on his quest to discover what might be the reason s one nation of people is generally happier ordepressed than another A good deal of the book is about the author s own discovery Some of that is personal and un relatable, but unless you re the most worldly person of all time, there will be corners of the globe touched upon here that will no doubt enlighten a musty cave portion of your mind For instance, I thought I knew a thing or two about Iceland, but discovered it wasminimal than I realized I was sure I didn t know a damn thing about Bhutan or Moldova, but thanks to The Geography of Bliss I got a better sense of day to day life in these places Again, these claims of national joy and sorrow are generalizations, therefore much of this should be taken with a grain of salt Having said that, when you are faced with stats that proclaim a country has a big problem, like say my paternal ancestors of Finland and their issue with alcoholism and suicide WE RE 1 , it leads one to lend such studies a certain amount of credibility.Whether scientifical or simply silly, Weiner does at least provide a good deal of entertainment value in the telling of his world wide trek If you ve read any J Maarten Troost, especially The Sex Lives of Cannibals Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific, and enjoyed it, The Geography of Bliss will be right up your alley


  5. Andy Andy says:

    I will admit that I was initially put off by the title of NPR correspondent Eric Weiner s engaging, highly readable travelogue, The Geography of Bliss That conjunction of the global and the delightful conjured visions of a frequently flying chick lit heroine named, without irony you guessed it Thankfully happily , the book s title is a minor bump along the road to an otherwise largely satisfying read.While the author s self confessed grumpiness kills any chance of a candy colored happily e I will admit that I was initially put off by the title of NPR correspondent Eric Weiner s engaging, highly readable travelogue, The Geography of Bliss That conjunction of the global and the delightful conjured visions of a frequently flying chick lit heroine named, without irony you guessed it Thankfully happily , the book s title is a minor bump along the road to an otherwise largely satisfying read.While the author s self confessed grumpiness kills any chance of a candy colored happily ever after, the nature of Weiner s project insures against the opposite extreme What if, Weiner writes in his introduction, I spent a year traveling the globe, seeking out not the world s well trodden trouble spots but, rather, its unheralded happy places Candace Bushnell might not have signed up for the journey, but neither would William T Vollmann have.That year of traveling keeps Weiner zigzagging over an impressive swath of the Northern hemisphere, with junkets to nine countries spread across various geographic regions of Asia and Europe before return to the United States Along the way, Weiner examines the pithy conventional wisdom on happiness that it can t be bought, and so on and recent findings on the emotional state Though Weiner hits enough global travel clich s a hashish bar in the Netherlands, a sex show in Thailand, an ashram in India to make his journey recognizable, the best passages aren t the ones that evoke place or custom but those in which the author taps locals minds for interpretation of their cultures emotional well being In the chapter on Switzerland, Happiness Is Boredom, the ongoing dialogue the author conducts with himself, his Swiss contacts and thecanonical wisdom of such thinkers as Bertrand Russell leads to these insights the urbane Swiss owe no small part of their collective happiness to their relationship with nature, their lack of envy and ostentation to the small town like close knitting of their social fabric Whether or not Swiss happiness truly is boredom is another question, one whose cultural components are indirectly alluded to in the image of an ex pat Hollywood agent nervously thumbing her Blackberry, and surprise from the Swiss that, statistically speaking, they are happy.The further Weiner travels, geographically and culturally, theperspicacious his book seems to become about happiness in the United States This is partly due to the range of farther flung countries he visits In India, though Weiner does visit that ashram and socialize among the Indian middle class, he of course glimpses that country s endemic poverty and concludes that, in certain fundamental ways, it is less grinding than extreme poverty in the United States, the Indian houseless as Weiner refers to the indigent of India maintaining strong social and familial ties all but unknown among the American homeless On the other hand, the oil kingdom of Qatar is, in Weiner s analysis, a Wahhabite Brave New World whose dry cultural well is greased with Starbucks coffee Happiness isn t, it seems, a reserve of iced mocha vast enough to caffeinate the world for the next hundred years.But Weiner s a ha moment in an exotic country comes during a conversation with Karma Ura, who runs Bhutan s most important think tank which, as Weiner notes, also happens to be Bhutan s only think tank I have achieved happiness, Ura tells Weiner, because I don t have unrealistic expectations This perspective is so opposite Weiner s own In America, he writes, high expectations are the force behind our dreams and, by extension, our pursuit of happiness that Ura s expounding temporarily disarms Weiner of his personal guardedness He drops his guard to tell Ura the story of a recent visit to the hospital, scheduled by the author after be began experiencing numbness in his extremities and shortness of breath MRI results confirmed that these symptoms were brought on by a panic attack, by hypochondria You need to think about death for five minutes every day, Ura responds It will cure you, sanitize you His rationale Human beings must be prepared for death, as most Westerners are not Ura then reveals that he was once a cancer patient Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so, wrote John Stuart Mill Indeed, Weiner s findings mostly confirm the old adage about the preferability of existing as a happy Forrest Gump rather than as an unhappy Socrates Weiner relates the story of his firing from the New York Times, which came a few weeks after the paper s executive editor labeled his work na ve and unsophisticated It is only in Iceland, where being na ve is okay because you can always start over, as it s put by a relatively young music producer on his career, that Weiner finally gets over the insult The world, I now conclude, would be a far better place with a bitna vet , writes Weiner.But Weiner s book suffers less from simplicity than from not treading certain paths His travels begin in the Netherlands, with a visit to the Dutch professor who compiles the World Database of Happiness The ostensibly scientific focus is, for all intents and purposes, mostly forgotten once the WDH has been left behind And that s a shame Some of the most interesting, and promising, recent neurology research has focused on the relationship between the brain s structure and its functioning Could happiness be a well wired brain Is it possible to rewire one s brain and thus recalibrate the happiness gauge of one s psyche That Weiner devotes almost no space to such questions is understandable on the one hand it s the geography, not the neurology, he s after and puzzling on the other as Sharon Begley describes in her book Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain, neuroscientists are now beginning how meditation practice actually changes the brain s physiology two of the nine countries Weiner visits are predominantly Buddhist another the birthplace of the Buddha himself And geography, like all received stimuli, influences the way we think.The Geography of Bliss ultimately begs larger questions about the nature of happiness To what extent is happiness a function of culture, and vice versa And does happiness translate easily from one culture to another Weiner s findings suggest a negative answer to the latter, as he admits that much of what accounts for the happiness of other cultures would be an acquired taste for most in the United States.It s not a giveaway to say that nowhere does Weiner find utopia The happiness he does encounter reflects in the book itself imperfect but charming, and as stimulating for the questions it raises as for those it answers


  6. Trish Trish says:

    The subtitle of this book is One Grump s Search for the Happiest Places in the World, and I am going to cut to the chase and discuss his conclusions You re going to want to read the book anyway, to figure out how it can be true that a very unlikely country comes in first in the happiness lottery But do get the audio of this book The author reads it, and as an NPR commentator, talking is his trade He is very good at it, and is as funny as David Sedaris in parts of this reading Happiness is The subtitle of this book is One Grump s Search for the Happiest Places in the World, and I am going to cut to the chase and discuss his conclusions You re going to want to read the book anyway, to figure out how it can be true that a very unlikely country comes in first in the happiness lottery But do get the audio of this book The author reads it, and as an NPR commentator, talking is his trade He is very good at it, and is as funny as David Sedaris in parts of this reading Happiness is one hundred percent relational, is the conclusion of the author, who quotes Karma Ura, Bhutanese scholar and cancer survivor We can only be happy with other people, because happiness does not exist in a vacuum We knew this, but we need to be reminded, perhaps And there may be basic ingredients that compose happiness, but the final composition will vary around the globe The author compares happiness to the atom carbon arrange it one way and it is coal Arrange it another, and it is a diamond.I think this audio book is a great gift It makes one laugh and think It s cheaper than a therapist, safer than drugs or alcohol, and a lotfun, perhaps, than doing the trip oneself Although I just might buy a ticket to that place I wouldn t have expected to find on top of the list


  7. Rachel Rachel says:

    I wanted to throw this book in a lake unfortunately, it s a library book At times it was funny, sure, and it was kind of interesting But I couldn t get over its shortcomings and so I didn t finish it maybe you think that makes me unqualified to form an opinion of it, but I don t First off, a real gripe I have with this these pop science I use science loosely here, because I couldn t think of another way to describe the genre books is that they never seem to have a bibliography, or alway I wanted to throw this book in a lake unfortunately, it s a library book At times it was funny, sure, and it was kind of interesting But I couldn t get over its shortcomings and so I didn t finish it maybe you think that makes me unqualified to form an opinion of it, but I don t First off, a real gripe I have with this these pop science I use science loosely here, because I couldn t think of another way to describe the genre books is that they never seem to have a bibliography, or always cite their sources I mean, the author is no researcher, but still he quotes a whole lot of other works, which it would be nice if he had collected them at the back and not, dare I say, too hard In addition, he showed moments of extreme cultural insensitivity Clearly, the question are you happy is not always an appropriate one to ask Take when he was in Qatar He even knew it was an inappropriate question, but asked it anyway Weiner is also ridiculously ethnocentric When he talks about culture, he is referring to the American definition of high culture , not the definition that you should be using when doing cross cultural research The claim that Qatar has no culture is absurd There is no place without a culture Sure, it might not have its own arts, literature, music, etc., but those things are not equivalent to culture He criticizes, ridicules even, parts of some of the cultures he visits For instance, he sees the Bhutanese use of phalluses as an apotropaic symbol they ward off evil spirits and makes fun of it This would be uncalled for and really offensive even if it was a uniquely Bhutanese custom But no, he doesn t seem to realize that the use of the phallus to ward off evil is fairly common, and dates back at least as far as the ancient Romans.Finally, Weiner expects to know all there is to know about a culture s view of happiness by going for a week or two and talking to a few people This is completely outrageous and presumptious You can t come to such broad conclusions after a week as a tourist Basically, thanks to my being an anthropology major, I could not take any of this So, I urge you to be suspicious while reading this book If you can enjoy it, by all means, do But don t believe that it s necessarily very true


  8. David David says:

    This is a late entry in the glut of science of happiness books that peaked a couple of years ago The best among those books was Daniel Gilbert s Stumbling on Happiness and, while this book is not without a certain charm of its own, it poses no serious threat to Gilbert s supremacy It might seem as if this ground has already been coveredthan adequately, but Weiner is smart enough to have come up with a reasonably appealing, and effective, gimmick Instead of just giving yet another pr This is a late entry in the glut of science of happiness books that peaked a couple of years ago The best among those books was Daniel Gilbert s Stumbling on Happiness and, while this book is not without a certain charm of its own, it poses no serious threat to Gilbert s supremacy It might seem as if this ground has already been coveredthan adequately, but Weiner is smart enough to have come up with a reasonably appealing, and effective, gimmick Instead of just giving yet another presentation of the experimental work and its conclusions, he packages his whole investigation as a travel memoir As a correspondent for NPR, Weiner spent ample time reporting from the world s trouble spots He bases his exploration of happiness on the following hypothetical questionWhat if I spent a year traveling the globe seeking out the world s unheralded happy places Places that possess one orof the ingredients that we consider essential to the hearty stew of happiness money, pleasure, spirituality, family, and chocolate, among others So he began by traveling to Rotterdam to meet with Ruut Verhoeven, Professor of Happiness Studies , who grants him access to the World Database of Happiness , the largest and most comprehensive repository of quantitative data about the relative happiness of people in different countries around the world Weiner describes the research findings asalternatively obvious and counterintuitive, expected and surprisingHe proceeds with a thumbnail sketch of the effects of key factors on happinessExtroverts are happier than introverts optimists are happier than pessimists married people are happier than singles Republicans are happier than Democrats people with college degrees are happier than those without, though people with advanced degrees are less happy than those with just a BA people with an active sex life are happier women and men are equally happy, though women have a wider emotional range having an affair will make you happy but will not compensate for the massive loss of happiness you will incur when your spouse finds out and leaves you wealthy people are happier than poor ones, but only slightly It seems that Weiner was really suffering from severe wanderlust, because he provides only a perfunctory discussion of the results summarized above, focusing instead on trying to get a geographical handle on happiness, that is, to identify countries at the high and low extremes of the distribution of happiness scores This leads him to the choice of countries he reports on in the book Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, India, and the U.S These particular destinations seem to have been chosen partly for their utility in helping to illustrate key results gleaned from happiness research, partly for their desirability as places to visit It s obvious that Weiner had a longstanding yen to visit Bhutan one can hardly grudge him this small pleasure, if only to compensate him for the miserable weeks in Moldova Most of the book then is structured as a chronological account of the places he visited, and what he learned in each It s a standard travel narrative, with little didactic chunks pasted in at various points usually towards the end of the chapter devoted to a particular destination During his stay at each location, he generally tries to interview a variety of people to ask about their thoughts on happiness typically these subjects include one orexperts , random wo man on the street interviews, and any available U.S expats This gives him the chance to revisit the academic findings, and to discuss various aspects at greater length as the book progresses As gimmicks go, it s not a bad one, and the result is quite readable, without being exceptional.It suffers from the kinds of minor defects you might expect Not everyone he meets while engaged in his happiness tourism is interesting, or has anything useful to add, and at times you wish that he d been a littleselective in his reporting Adistracting flaw is that Weiner shares a weakness exhibited by many memoirists he has a compulsive, almost pathological, need to be liked Not just by the locals in the places he visits, but also by his readers This leads him, on far too many occasions, to lapse into what I can only describe as a very regrettable cutesiness in his writing, which goes from just slightly annoying to fingernails on the blackboard irritating as the book progresses Discipline is not a hallmark of his style for instance, we get sentences like thisThe prize wasn t much but the event marked a major shift, what I might call a paradigm shift if I were the kind of person who used terms like paradigm shift Don t they have editors to save writers from themselves and readers from sentences like the one above Evidently not But there are compensating moments of charmIts name, like all Icelandic words, is impossible for foreigners to pronounce lest they risk total and irreversible facial paralysis, so for safety reasons I will not divulge it here Overall, Eric Weiner is a genial, if occasionally over eager, guide The particular conceit that he adopts in the book, discussing the findings of happiness researchers by placing them in the context of the people and places he visits, works surprisingly well I thought his chapter on Iceland worked particularly well Others, such as those on Great Britain and on India, were less successful somewhat unfocused, and lacking a coherent argument The book would have benefited from some tighter editing But these are minor flaws in a pretty decent book.3.5 stars Round as you see fit


  9. Kristen Kristen says:

    I laughed my way out loud through most of this book It was clever, very funny, and totally enjoyable It s written by an NPR correspondent who travels the globe searching for the place, or source, of happiness What makes us happy, and what doesn t make us happy It was insightful and hilarious, peppered with quotes from philosophers from Russell to Nietzsche , scholars, and spiritual leaders Just read it again for book club and enjoyed it the second time, though I was muchI laughed my way out loud through most of this book It was clever, very funny, and totally enjoyable It s written by an NPR correspondent who travels the globe searching for the place, or source, of happiness What makes us happy, and what doesn t make us happy It was insightful and hilarious, peppered with quotes from philosophers from Russell to Nietzsche , scholars, and spiritual leaders Just read it again for book club and enjoyed it the second time, though I was muchcritical reading it with a larger group in mind


  10. Susan Johnson Susan Johnson says:

    I was surprised at some of the happiest places on Earth and not surprised at others I remember when I first read Alexander McCall Smith s Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency and was surprised at how happy they were in Botswana It just goes to show that there are many factors that make people happy I mean both Qatar and Bhutan are two of the happiest places and they are very different Its an interesting perspective.