Book Review: The Geography of Bliss

3 06 2010

The Geography of BlissEric Weiner

The concept of this book was fairly interesting to me; me being a fairly unhappy person. Mr. Weiner went bouncing from country to country, to figure out why countries listed as the ‘happiest’ were at the top of the list. He writes with David Sedaris like wit and ventures to a few countries I wouldn’t have suspected as happy… Iceland, what are you doing on this list? [I should make a note here; Weiner’s chapter on Iceland really makes me want to visit.] Although in most cases he came to a generalized this is why… thought, they were quite reflective of his tales in that place. [My two favorite being: Switzerland, Happiness is Boredom and Moldova, Happiness is Somewhere Else…]

I did find there was a bit of repetition which was fine due to the subject; but at the end of nearly each chapter, there were a few (slightly annoying) introspective discussions – Is the reason people from Switzerland happy because of X or because of the lack of Y… or am I not getting the whole story? The general layout of each chapter also got tiresome – I went here, talked to his person, asked them why they are happy, did a local activity, and close with a generalization.

My favorite chapter was about one of the least happy places in the world [Weiner himself stated he was getting a bit overwhelmed with ‘happy’]. It was nice for him to use words that didn’t bring to mind sunshine and lollipops for a chapter, but he still was able to relate the theme of his book to one of the unhappiest places he could find.

For: Grumps, people trying to be depressed, or travel nuts.

Rating/Worth It: 9/10, Definitely interesting and unusually inspiring.

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