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Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way [Kindle Edition]

Dan Buettner
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Book Description

What makes us happy? It's not wealth, youth, beauty, or intelligence, says Dan Buettner. In fact, most of us have the keys within our grasp. Circling the globe to study the world's happiest populations, Buettner has spotted several common principles that can unlock the doors to true contentment with our lives.

Working with leading researchers, Buettner identifies the happiest region on each of four continents. He explores why these populations say they are happier than anyone else, and what they can teach the rest of us about finding contentment. His conclusions debunk some commonly believed myths: Are people who have children happier than those who don't? Not necessarily—in Western societies, parenthood actually makes the happiness level drop. Is gender equality a factor? Are the world's happiest places to be found on tropical islands with beautiful beaches? You may be surprised at what Buettner's research indicates.

Unraveling the story of each "hotspot" like a good mystery, Buettner reveals how he discovered each location and then travels to meet folks who embody each particular brand of happiness. He introduces content, thriving people in Denmark, in Singapore, in northeastern Mexico, and in a composite "happiest place in America." In addition, he interviews economists, psychologists, sociologists, politicians, writers, and other experts to get at what contributes to each region's happiness.

Buettner's findings result in a credible, cross-cultural formula and a practical plan to help us stack the deck for happiness and get more satisfaction out of life. According to Buettner's advisory team, the average person can control about forty percent of his or her individual happiness by optimizing life choices. These aren't unreasonable demands on a person's lifestyle, and they often require only slight changes. They fall into three categories that make up the way we live our lives: the food we eat, the way we exercise, and the social networks we foster. It's all about nourishing the body and the spirit. Heeding the secrets of the world's happiness all-stars can help us make the right choices to find more contentment in our own lives and learn how to thrive.



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From Thrive
Click on the images below to open larger versions.

Nordea Bank in downtown Copenhagen, Denmark, is one of Europe’s largest banks. The owners believe that a well-lit, well-designed workspace makes for a more efficient and profitable workforce. Its corporate headquarters and philosophy are typical of most large Danish companies. Photo by David McLain The Rabbit Jumping Association in Arhus, Denmark, is 30 members strong and partially funded by the municipality. Approximately 96% of Danes belong to a vast array of associations that have served to institutionalize social networking and reinforce a sense of community and belonging. Photo by David McLain A government-sponsored outing for young couples called “Movies on the Beach” is designed to promote love. In Singapore, the government plays a heavy-handed role in social policy, promoting everything from love to cleanliness in a seemingly endless array of social education campaigns. Photo by David McLain Approximately 80% of Singaporeans live in public housing and approximately 90% own their own home, giving Singapore one of the highest rates of home ownership anywhere on Earth. Photo by David McLain Making room for bikes is the only way to go in San Luis Obispo, Calif., a town that prides itself in making recreation and social interaction easier. Newer establishments often have a bike valet service. Photo by Dan Buettner


Review

“…a book about the happiest regions in the world. [Buettner] also recommends “land-mining your home with photos and memorabilia, so you’re constantly reminded of your history.” Adorning a hallway or a highly trafficked room with sentimental objects is a good way to start.”
–Real Simple
 
“Buettner travels to places…to interview “thrivers,” who report more life enjoyment than most people. He suggests ways that the reader can emulate these cheery folks.”
–Atlanta Journal Constitution
 
“For his 2008 best-seller, The Blue Zones , Dan Buettner searched the world for the truth about longevity. In his new book, Thrive, out Oct. 19, he tackles the topic of happiness. What are the happiest spots on Earth—and what secrets can we glean from them?” –Parade

Product Details

  • File Size: 526 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; 1 edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003EY7JJY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,981 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
253 of 260 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I received an advance copy of "Thrive, finding happiness the Blue Zones way" and was quite excited to read it. However, I quickly became disappointed.

As many previous reviewers have mentioned, there is A LOT of filler detailing the author's personal experiences while visiting the various "happiest places on earth". Quite honestly, the book reads as more of a travelogue, describing his experiences while traveling to research the subject, than a book on why the happiest people are so happy.

The actual information about the happiness factors, for which most people will buy this book, would have been more appropriately written up as a magazine article - and it would have been a pretty interesting article. However, there just isn't enough information for a full book, which is likely why the author has fluffed it up with stories about his experiences while visiting and traveling in the various countries (this is the travelogue aspect, which is about 2/3's of the book)

The findings, which detail whatever aspects of the country, town or people in it that make them so happy, are summarized at the end of each chapter, and then a final summary at the end of the book (again, all would have readily fit into an article as a much more concise read). I will outline the summaries below (so if you DON'T want to know now and would rather find out by reading the book, read no further!)

To me, many of these have a major "Duh!" factor, and don't really reveal things that you can easily change or quickly improve. They are the kind of things that would require a major lifestyle change, a new job, moving to a new area, etc.
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192 of 209 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mix of Messages about Happiness October 31, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Thrive has at its core a very interesting idea. Based on a number of surveys, Dan Buettner identified four areas of the world which are each known for their high happiness levels. These are Denmark, Singapore, Monterrey Mexico, and San Louis Obispo California. That's not to say that people in Singapore are happier than various locations in Europe and the US - but Buettner wanted to examine a range of cultures, so he was looking at "the happiest in their region".

Buettner began with Denmark. Apparently the reason people are happy there is that they are all white, rich, and have self-funded a beautiful social network, sort of like setting up an ideal boarding school that you live in. Oh, and their motto is "well it could be worse". I oversimplify a bit :) But it does seem to boil down to these ideas. Everyone feels like their neighbors are just like them, they all have good money and job opportunities, and they are OK with paying high taxes because it invests right into their fairly small community. Denmark has about 5.3 million people - smaller than New York City.

Now, to be fair, the schools in Denmark encourage them to learn fun, artistic skills. They have beautiful nature around them, they all enjoy riding bikes and stay healthy. Their economy runs smoothly. And again, with their way of life being "This is good enough, be happy it's not sliding downhill," they end up being content with what they have. Which certainly is a lesson that everybody can learn. The average happiness level here was 8/10.

On to Singapore. This is perhaps an "opposite case" to Denmark. Rather than being all the same, Singapore has many different cultures intermingled.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish he had covered more countries like in The Blue Zones September 20, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Having read The Blue Zones and learned a lot from that book, I was eager to read this book. And it hasn't disappointed. Knowing the one area, San Luis Obispo here in California which he writes about, and knowing what he writes is true, made me believe the rest of the book as well.

Although his chapter on Denmark/Danmark was interesting for what it didn't say. Yes, they pay something around 68% in taxes, but in 2010 they unlike many countries, are still heavily Caucasian, and many studies show that when your neighbor looks more like you and has the same values etc that its not as hard to deny them needed services, and in doing so you have a more stable country/society.

Same with the other countries like Mexico and Singapore which are also covered in the book. Although I wonder if Mexico which has been in the news so much and has regions where drug killings are the norm, would be seen as a happy country in late 2010.

I recommend The Blue Zone book more because it covers many more countries and shows that the simpler the lifestyle the happier people tend to be. Am also intrigued that in most happy countries people ride bikes more, eat simpler native foods, sleep more, and are more family oriented. Something Americans are just now rediscovering.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mr. Buettner, New York Times author of the bestseller "The Blue Zones" used happiness research and National Geographic's dime to identify and visit the four exceedingly happy places on earth; Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, Singapore, Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, and San Louis Obispo of California. Through interactions and interviews with "writers, economists, social scientists, demographers, physiologists, anthropologists, prime ministers, and even comedians" in these regions, he concocted a list of "subtle changes in your surroundings" to set the reader on the path of a happy and fulfilled life. Many myths are debunked along this journey. Not only does more money only marginally impact happiness, any amount beyond the capacity to obtain the necessities of life is deemed as unnecessary and often harmful to the mental state. Scientific evidence has shown that "physical beauty, financial success, or the recognition of peers" are not true sources of happiness.

"During the past 35 years, while Americans have worked to increase our income by 70 percent and the size of our houses have doubled, we've become no happier as a nation." In the last chapter, Mr. Buettner delves into the "subtle" changes to improve your happiness. Except, most of these "subtle" recommendations were anything but subtle. If you live in Moldova, move to Denmark?! Okay, so the author admitted most of us do not have that luxury. So instead, limit your shopping hours and your workweek which means your high consumption life style will experience a drastic reduction (hardly a subtle change). Other recommendations are meant for policy makers, not individuals: Grant maternity leave, provide more community space, e.g. parks, vibrant city centers, restaurants etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I also liked finding out the things that made up a happy ...
This book was very interesting. I was interested by the places that were listed and why they were there. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jennifer etnyre
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book
Published 24 days ago by William
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
an enjoyable book to read.
Published 1 month ago by DJH Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderfully raw experiences shared
I thoroughly enjoyed this book about real people from around the world. The writer captured the bare essence of life and created a feeling of happiness, contentment, and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by John Sottery
5.0 out of 5 stars A good guide to happiness
My wife and I started implementing the points in this book, with great results. My co-workers tell me I'm one if the most relaxed and happy people they know
Published 6 months ago by Anas Abu hazeem
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy
I have read many books on happiness and am convinced the answer is not found in any book. Don't buy this or some other books with happiness in their title.
Published 6 months ago by g goldman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great advice a must read or listen
excellent read for anyone wanting to improve there life style. entertaining and will written and narrated. looking forward another Blue Zone book
Published 9 months ago by Nes
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read, especially for those of us, past middle age!
Wonderful Read! Very informative, about long living throughout the world, even the U.S. has a zone or two to be explored! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mitch Pelley
2.0 out of 5 stars If I hadn't known one of this places so well I would have probably...
Living in one of the "happiest places" I was very curious about what the author had to say about Monterrey, MX, so I read a summary before buying the book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Ana Sofia
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding happiness the blue zones way
Very informative and believable. I took away a lot of ideas for acquiring happiness without a single purchase. Except for the book!
Published 10 months ago by Debbie Leadbetter
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More About the Author

Dan Buettner is a National Geographic Explorer, a writer, and the founder of Quest Network, Inc. His 2005 cover story for National Geographic magazine, "Secrets of Living Longer," was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. He has appeared on CNN, David Letterman, Good Morning America, Primetime Live, and the Today Show to discuss his Blue Zone research and has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches over the last 10 years.


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