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Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way Paperback – October 18, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic; Reprint edition (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426208189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426208188
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From Thrive
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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

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

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.

Customer Reviews

When I first read the book description, my interest was immediately piqued.
Rob S.
I believe the book can give some real insights on what makes people happy and specific things each of us can do to increase our level of happiness.
John Chancellor
I enjoyed Dan Buettner's previous book, "Blue Zones," which identified regions that promoted longevity, a lot.
Jonathan Bennett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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 By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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 By Beth DeRoos HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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 By Brian Kodi VINE VOICE on October 3, 2010
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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