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Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 19, 2010
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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|
“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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
He starts with Denmark. Denmark has the highest suicide rate in the world but the people are the happiest. Seems like an odd contradiction, but the theory is the Danish report suicides honestly whereas other countries do not. I have no way of knowing if it's true, but I would venture to guess the Danes don't know if it's true, either.
And when you compare the Danish lifestyle with the American lifestyle, there's just no comparison. Lifelong health care, free education, being paid to go to the university is just something the Danes take for granted. If you're an American, you know that none of these things happen in the USA. So what if you pay 68% of your wages in taxes? You're actually ahead of the game compared to the USA with taxes and health insurance taken out of your paycheck.
And that's where I find it hard not to consider. Mr Buettner talks about the people in Mexico being so happy, but they have a very high crime rate. It would seem to me that would make you less happy to live in a place with a high crime rate, where violent and bloody drug wars go on, but apparently the Mexicans don't let it stop them from being happy.
There are a few good points, but you probably know them. Money, prestige, titles will not make you happy. Living in a huge house or driving the most expensive car won't make you happy. But exactly what will make you happy? A committed relationship, work that is fulfilling, and feeling secure is some of what makes a person happy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was a major let down for me. I'll explain. In my view, Dan took one survey/research - the world values survey - and then went to each country and interviewed various... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Stevemorris
Inspiring read. You might change your habits after reading this.Published 5 months ago by jelly bean
Extremely interesting and something every person who cares about each other much less the world, or at least your family, should read.Published 5 months ago by Buystoomuch
Fascinating idea but the slipperiness of determining what 'happiness' is makes it somewhat questionable in my opinion. Read morePublished 6 months ago by O.Chemist