THE GEOGRAPHY OF BLISS by Eric Weiner
Read : June 21 - 27
Category : New Writers
Pages : 328
Have you ever heard of the study of happiness? I know that I hadn't until I read this book, I understand now, how addictive it could be to try and find a happy place, if, of course, I wasn't already happy and had an expense account to fund it.
This book gives statistics of happiness arrived at through vast research, for example:
Extroverts are happier than introverts;
optimists are happier than pessimists(who would have thunk?);
married people are happier than singles, though people with children are no happier than childless couples;
Republicans are happier than Democrats;
wealthy people are happier than poor ones; (do the last two go together?)
people with an active sex life are happier than those without; (Does that one go with the last two, too?
busy people are happier than those with little to do; it just goes on and on.
So the author sets out to explore the possibility that some places are happier than others. He starts out in Holland and after determining that part of the "happiness" allure to the Dutch nation is the legality of pot and prostitution, and their fondness for cycling, he moves on to Switzerland.
After all, Switzerland makes great Chocolate, what would make you happier? The insights presented for Swiss happiness appear normal in some instances (nature, mountains) and bizarre in other ( strict laws - no toilet flushing after 10PM but euthanasia is legal). Philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote "A certain amount of boredom is essential to a happy life" and the author concludes the Swiss reason for happiness is that they are boring. He moves on.
Next is Bhutan and Asian country in the Himalayas which actually has a national Happiness Policy and it is part of the national anthem. What would you expect being so close to the mythical Shangri-La.
The author visits Qatar where Happiness is a winning lottery ticket, Iceland where happiness is failure (a unique concept), Moldova which is at the bottom of the happiness scale (possibly because of the economic and cultural conditions since the Soviet breakup), and Thailand where the people are too busy being happy to think about happiness because they take life as it comes.
Starting his trip heading home, the author stops in India receiving the definition of Indian happiness being unpredictability, and Great Britain is happy with change. Finally arriving home the author determines that paradise is fleeting. If you find it, everyone else will too and then, it might not be paradise anymore. But, for most, Happiness is home.