Sunday, December 27, 2009

Book: The Geography of Bliss

With a bit more time on my hands, I've actually managed to pick up and read a book for the first time in a while. Anyway, a few thoughts to share:

The Geography of Bliss examines whether happiness is geographic. Visiting the happiest, richest, darkest, poorest places in the world Eric Weiner compares attitudes / world views and their implied impact on happiness.

Having been to a few of the places he visits, the observations certainly ring true. While not particularly awakening, he articulates some things that otherwise don't automatically receive attention. Envy as a detriment to happiness, and how various societies avoid it (Swiss don't act flashy in public, Thais smile and "don't think", etc) was one such point. That Icelanders derive happiness from drinking, I'll have to go verify for myself, but that Moldovans are quite unhappy because they compare themselves to Europeans I'll take his word for.

While it gets a bit lengthy, I would certainly recommend picking it up and reading the chapters on where you've been, or where you're going. I have only recently begun to appreciate researching (instead of just experiencing) cultural differences, and this is a light first step.

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