Customer Reviews for

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

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 93 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 5
  • Posted May 9, 2009

    Great topic, fun facts about happiness

    Suggested to me in the steam room after mentioning that I had recently returned from living in Switzerland, I bought the book a week later. Not only did I thrill to see that the Swiss contacts were our friends, but I got hooked on wondering what made each country unique and "happy". The research on happiness (and learning that it is a verifiable academic discipline) was a pleasant finding and the reasons different countries self-assessed as "happy" ranged widely. The author's quirks intrude a few too many times; his likes and dislikes made this reader wonder if she might have found more to like about the countries than he did, more willingness to participate and not stand back and judge.

    It is a light read and a satisfying one, despite the above statement. Iceland was clearly a favorite -- of the author; thus, also of the readers. Friends who had worked in Moldova and learned to love the resiliance of the people would have presented a very different picture of the country than the author did as he rushed to put it behind him.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    A book club's selection, curious about what might bring about ha

    A book club's selection, curious about what might bring about happiness, I was excited to get started reading. Whether where someone lives has an impact on happiness or whether we succumb to wealth’s toys, (monetary), or when we are simply comfortable and adjust to compromise has anything to do with our happiness.
    Weiner made the journey to ten different countries in the world and spent time in each place. He questions along the way how nature, government, freedom, or restrictions have a bearing on our happiness. I think we have all learned in our own lives that money doesn’t bring happiness. Culture, perfect weather, beautiful surroundings….:if you are an unhappy person inside yourself nothing outside will do it for you. Some are miserable no matter what. Most of those are born that way. Happiness is personal and individual. I enjoyed his rich descriptions and insight into each culture. His discoveries and introspective experiences with the people we are able to share are hilarious.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    A Different Kind of Geography Lesson

    Eric Weiner, a self-described "grump," hops around the globe in a yearlong search of how people of various countries embody happiness. The Geography of Bliss is a travelogue with an appealing twist - to "search for the happiest places in the world." The reader travels along with Weiner to ten different countries. At each stop in his journey, Weiner provides the reader with entertaining descriptions as he works to understand what makes people of a particular country.happy. Happiness takes on many definitions throughout his travels; however, the author does not always find this bliss during his stops. In fact, the description of his experiences in one country left me feeling downright depressed, until I pulled my head out of the book and readjusted to my beautiful surroundings (I read this book while on a three-month stint in southern Germany - quite a happy place with those Bavarians and their Weissbeir).

    Weiner organizes The Geography of Bliss with each chapter dedicated to a single country - he visits the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, India, and his home country of the United States. Your country is not on the list? Please do not let this discourage you from picking up the book! Each chapter is a chance to understand another culture and to explore a different route to your own personal happiness. Weiner notes "Culture is the sea we swim in - so pervasive, so all-consuming, that we fail to notice its existence until we step out of it." You can learn more about how happiness is exemplified within your own culture and countrymen by stepping out of it - all without leaving your favorite reading chair.

    Fair warning for readers from counties included in this book: These are Weiner's observations of HIS experience, in your country, over a short period of time. This is a grand opportunity to view the chapter on your country as constructive criticism from an outsider looking in, to consider this new perspective on your homeland for all it has to offer. Even though Weiner is an insider to my country - the United States - I agree with many of the seemingly negative points he makes. Even with the increase in material possessions (a constant drive for happiness here), the United States is no happier than in the 1950s when we had much less - an interesting point and something from which to learn. My dear friend, who is Indian, read the chapter on India and disagreed with much of Weiner's observations. We both, however, agreed with the majority of Weiner's notions on Switzerland, having both recently traveled there.

    Weiner's search for bliss is rewarding and eye-opening. He reveals to the reader some of the peculiarities, the issues, and the assets of the countries visited - making our world a little bit smaller. At the end of his journeys, Weiner sums up his search for happiness with a bit of advice about where to find it - and, as you can guess, it is not found on a map.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great, Clear Read

    Really enjoyed this book. Eric Weiner both cracks me up and intrigues me-- and the reader can most definitely tell what his favorite countries may have been (Bhutan and Iceland) because his writing shines in these chapters. I found it to be well researched and it seems like he really tried to meet with people who would help him to understand each country better. Already loaned the book out. I most definitely recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Read!

    We all want to know the "secret of happiness" and where we should move to find this "bliss", yet where do we begin? Uprooting his own life for the quest, The Geography of Bliss author, Eric Weiner, takes his readers on an adventure to the happiest - and not so happy - countries of the world. Written with humor, knowledge and unashamed candor, this book is hard to put down.

    Readers will enjoy the different countries that are featured. For each country, Eric Weiner explores the elements and people of the country, what makes it a happy or unhappy place, and asks its citizens one simple question: "are you happy?". His wit and description of his travels have some similarity to that of Bill Bryson's and yet, Weiner stands out as a travel writer on his own.

    While one more "unhappy" country could have been explored, the 9 places that were featured are ones that are seldom in other travel stories. It was very interesting to read about Moldova, Qatar and Iceland, along with all of the other countries.

    The Geography of Bliss is a recommended read. It is funny and thought-provoking and will be a book that you pass on to others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Amusing EPL From a Guy

    I really liked this book...it's the kind of book that kept me glued to the pages, reading for hours. I would have read it one setting if it weren't for my family!

    'Geography' is a guy's rendition of EPL (Eat, Pray, Love...Elizabeth Gilbert},i.e. the search to soothe one's soul MINUS THE DRAMA! It even features the obligatory stay at an ashram in India. Thoroughly enjoyable and permeated with a sense of the wry.

    I especially enjoyed the visits to those cultures whose happiness seems just beyond the means of ordinary working folks (like me!).

    Just as enjoyable as the reports on the ordinary happy cultures are the contrasts with other types of cultures.

    I'm happy I read this book, which means it really must have done its job, considering it is about seeking out bliss.

    I'm happy to recommend The Geography of Bliss!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Inspiring!

    I loved this book - I found it so thought provoking. Interesting process to figure out where the happiest place on earth might be - and makes you think about what makes people happy and why. I've given it as a gift several times since I read it and everyone loves it. Highly recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    What a laugh

    We read this for a book club. It is hilarous. Especially the rotten shark. I had never heard of it before. I love the insight on happiness for others in places and way I could never imagine.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2009

    Easy fun read

    great book to read on vacation. great for discussion in book clubs. covers an intersting topic of happiness

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not "enlightning", but an easy and fun reading

    In this book the author takes us along a search for happy places based on resarchers' findings on what countries score higher on happy scales. It is an interesting perspective for an (mostly cranky) American in search for happiness, trying to find the secret to it. It takes us to countries scoring high and one example of a country consistently scoring low. I particularly enjoyed reading about Bhutan and Iceland, both examples of countries scoring high. Sometimes the author seems too narrow in his view of places and cultures, in spite of being a person who has worked and lived outside of the US. The are no big revelations, but it is easy to read and allows you to put in perspective your own happiness and the factors that may be related to it. I would definetively recommend it to my friends not as a part of their spiritual journey, but as a fun book to read this summer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2009

    What is happiness..

    The Geography of Bliss
    One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
    Eric Weiner
    ISBN: 9780446698894
    Hachette, 2008
    Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com, 02/09
    4 stars
    What is happiness..
    What an odd time for this book to show up in my mail box. Just the night before I had turned off the news in disgust; I was tired of listening to bad things in the world. I even suggested that we need a new network-- GNN, Good News Network.
    How do you define happiness? Eric Weiner is a self-declared grump. As a foreign correspondent, Weiner has traveled the world. Most of the stories he has covered were rather depressing. In his search for a definition of happiness, he traveled the world to 10 different countries. Happiness is different things to different people. The reader has the privilege of tagging along on as Weiner takes the reader with him on his quest for the Holy Gail, happiness. The Geography of Bliss will bring a smile to your face and maybe give you a different perspective on true happiness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2014

    Amazing read! I had to read a free choice book for geography and

    Amazing read! I had to read a free choice book for geography and this book was perfect. It was interesting, humorous, and informational all at the same time! Definitely recommend to anyone who loves traveling and wants to find out the true meaning of happiness.

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  • Posted July 24, 2013

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and traveling vicariousl

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and traveling vicariously around the world. I learned, I enjoyed, I trust the tidbits shared about each country, as one who has traveled, and has friends who recently have been to Bhutan and shared similar experiences. The book is now dog-eared with turned down corners noting the wisdom shared about our purpose on earth, and how important is it to seek happiness, or maybe love? As I physical therapist, I really appreciated, and agree with, the value of helping others. That to me, is happiness.

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  • Posted December 20, 2012

    I've been on the road for a year now traveling through Europe, t

    I've been on the road for a year now traveling through Europe, the Middle East and now am in Asia with plans to return to the States in February. I've been to most of the countries discussed in the book and loved every bit of it. Great read! Weiner is a thoughtful and hilarious writer. He's provided some excellent insight in Bliss and also so valuable life lessons. 

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  • Posted November 15, 2012

    I came across this book while perusing the recommended reads tab

    I came across this book while perusing the recommended reads table in Barnes & Noble. I wasn't quite sure if I was going to like it. I tend to be much more of a Fiction reader, but this book is a real life account of the author's journey to find happiness. The author, Eric Weiner, is a former reporter for the New York Times, so the book has a journalistic tone. As soon as I began reading the book I fell in love with it. It is absolutely a fantastic read. It perfectly blends humor and philosophy as Weiner explores 10 different countries all over the world. During his journey he attempts to find why exactly some countries are happier than others. Of course, because the book is written solely on his observations, there may be points made in the book that may offend or surprise the reader. But as long as the reader keeps in mind that these are his thoughts, the reader can learn a lot from Weiner. Weiner takes the reader along with him on his journey. It is easy to feel what he felt, and see what he saw. The many philosophical points that the author makes throughout the book made me rethink my outlook on life, and specifically my outlook on the concept of happiness. Even though the author clearly portrays some of the countries in a more positive light, he does a great job of encompassing all facets of his experiences in each of the countries. I highly recommend this book to any type of reader. It’s a quick read, mostly because it fully engages and captures the reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2012

    Awesome

    Funny, thought provoking and intelligent. I was sad to put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2012

    Couldn't stop turning pages!

    Part motivational, part travel, and healthy dose of irreverance. Through this informal and highly entertaining work, i learned how happiness is found boh internally and in an external cultural context.

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  • Posted July 12, 2012

    Eye opening into what makes up ┬┐Happy┬┐ .. country by country. Very entertaining.

    Just a well though out book, that takes the author to various countries in trying to understand what makes people, happy or at least, content. A fine read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Very enjoyable

    An honest and entertaining accout.

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A most happy read

    A happy find while browsing the aisles at a local bookstore. If I had to go on a trip, I'd like to go with Eric Weiner. His wry sense of humor and observations, would keep me laughing all the way. After a sample chapter about searching for happiness in the Netherlands, I decided to download and continue reading. Mr. Weiner's travelog is a delight. I found myself reading chapter after chapter hoping to go place and meeting people who kept me up late into the night. The chapters on Bhutan and India were fascinating. One day, I must make my way to Iceland. Ultimately, as Eric asserts, "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 verb. It's conjunction. Connective tissue." And where's home? Where your heart is!

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