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Showing 1-10 of 278 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 460 reviews
on January 4, 2017
Beautiful, entertaining, and full of practical wisdom. A blend of biography, geography, and culture along the lines of humorous story telling.

Eric, just like in his newer book "Geography of Genius", doesn't offer you a recipe or a framework for his findings. He handholds you and takes you in a journey to discover things on your own. Yes, he tells you what he believes and finds, but you don't necessarily reach the same conclusions. You are free to wonder and come up with your own perspective.

I enjoyed every bit of it!
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on March 26, 2016
I guess this book made me insane cause I smiled and laughed a lot while I read it. I was also amused while reading some of the negative reviews. People actually read this book thinking it would answer the age old question of what is happiness. That's not what you'll find. However the author's vast knowledge of both centuries old and modern day literature, art, and science on the subject is impressive.

It's a good, light read, intelligent and witty. It's critics seem to be those that expected him to explore every aspect of every culture he visited and come to profound conclusions. Instead he engages the reader with a breadth of knowledge on the studies of happiness, while making humorous cultural observations, and interviewing a wide scope of humans to get their observations on happiness.
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on January 29, 2013
O M G: did not have that good a laugh in reading for a long time. What a wonderful sense of humor ! Don't understand the negative reviews, except for the fact that people maybe take themselves a little too seriously (or are just too grumpy)? And I'm glad I don't know 'Bryson' either ! I try to ration myself to a chapter / country a day. Would definitely read thru on an intercontinental flight. Combine an unorthodox approach to a search for what make people happy (clarification; not necessarily the author himself !!), with a knack for humor to immediately disarm the potential seriousness and possible pretense of the search, and you go page by page, from observation to observation, stopping at a thought, pretty much like the tasting of a good wine, but a different one all the time. He happens to visit a country I'm well familiar with because of my being born and growing up there, and I can tell you, Eric Weiner totally cracks me up, and if you read between the lines, gets it right at the same time, somehow ! Trying to define what 'Happiness' might mean in each case, and by adding the various perspectives up, allows the reader to explore the subject with him, at every step along the way. Scepticism is immediately balanced with relativity and humor, and the realization that he needs to keep himself 'open' and 'floating' in his search. I could go on and on, but will not; see for yourself; this book is so hilariously well-written, that it can induce the very state it is trying to define, in the reader ! Enjoy !
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on July 15, 2016
This book was both enlightening and hilarious...a rare combination! I laughed out loud many times throughout the book. My husband kept asking "Why are you laughing?" to which I replied, "You'll just have to read it!" Lots of great info to "drop" into conversations too😉. I may even visit Iceland, something I thought I would never do! I highly recommend this book!
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on March 22, 2016
I really liked this book but buyer beware: I’d give it 4 stars if you want a book only about what makes people happy. However, I gave it 5 stars for an overall great read that is part travel guide as well as being a study of happiness. If you like to travel you will love this book, Eric does a fantastic job combining the science you can read about with the human experience you can only get from being there.
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on December 6, 2013
Interesting read, but I wish I had got the book from the library. It's not a book I need to own. Some of the chapters (one for each country the author focuses on) are fascinating, but I found in the chapter on Slough, a city near London best known for being the location of Heathrow International Airport, irritating. I know Britain well, and have passed through Slough frequently. As a result, the author's quips that were meant to be clever and funny came across to me as silly. It made me wonder if I would respond similarly to his essays on other countries if I had known more about them as well.
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Eric Weiner, after a decade of writing about ugly places, cheerless people, and dreadful events decided he wanted to find happiness in the world. He researched the meaning of happiness and the locations most recognized for blissful people and, after ranking them, set out to visit and write about them. The Geography of Bliss is an accounting of his findings after traveling to locations in ten countries where, according to researchers, happiness abounds.

But, according to Weiner, in this amusing and insightful book, life is never full of joy even in locales famous for happiness. His first stop was in the Netherlands to interview researchers at the World Database of Happiness in Rotterdam. He was given figures to rate locations on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the happiest). Meticulous scientific studies provided him with information about the sociology of happiness. He found that most people of the world consider themselves happy, but the ratings don't necessarily back them up.

The author outlines contradictions and misconceptions about happiness and rates different lifestyles, occupations, political leanings, economic structures, and even climatic conditions against one another. He finds anomalies; happy countries tend to have high suicide rates, people with children are no happier than child-less couples, wealthy people are only slightly happier than poor ones. Weiner is able to convey this fascinating background information in clear and intuitive writing.

Weiner then physically travels to the locations rated highest on the happiness meter where, along with his personal observations, he interviews residents and governmental figures and creates essays that are startling, amusing, and entertaining.

The author has an amazing ability to blend his thought processes with his actual findings, thus creating a more insightful and personal chronicle. That, combined with his ability to recreate the dialogue and depict the personal face of those he interviews, makes this a book to savor for those who appreciate good writing.

Schuyler T. Wallace
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on May 8, 2017
At first I wasn't sure about this book but the more I read it the more I liked it. This took me to the places with the author. It was a description of how different countries experience happiness.
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on March 15, 2016
It's very difficult to empathize with Eric in the beginning of his journey as it's very clear he holds quite a pessimistic perspective. This made it an obstacle to enjoy the beginning piece of the memoir; however, I was compelled to continue reading in an effort to collect information while on my own path to maintaining happiness. As you move forward throughout the story, there are bits of wisdom that come from engaging in each chapter and learning about the happiness, or even lack thereof, that each culture maintains. It's rather awakening and particularly fascinating as you travel from country to country diving into areas outside of tourism and into the heart of the truth. This book is great for anyone who is looking to become more familiar with ways to appropriately connect with the world outside of where they are currently residing.
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on June 6, 2017
I had to read this book for my AP Human Geography class, but I would read it again regardless. Very inspirational and an interesting non-fiction read. It will definitely make you look at your own life and what you think makes you happy. Just telling you now, if Iceland's not on your bucket list yet, it will be!
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