more on happiness- a quick book review

Since the talk of town seems to be happiness I’m going to chime in for a minute.  Actually, I am going to let Eric Weiner chime in.  I finally finished his book “The Geography of Bliss” and I have to say I learned a lot.  He’s laugh out loud entertaining and soberingly profound all at the same time.  He traveled the globe looking for answers as to what conditions, attitudes, culture, etc make for a happy country.  I found it an adventure as it was like traveling myself.  Anyway,  I highly recommend it, but if you don’t want to read it I’ll wrap it up nicely for you.

In the end he concludes –

“only a fool or a philosopher would make sweeping generalizations about the nature of happiness.  I am no philosopher, so here goes: Money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think.  Family is important.  So are friends.  Envy is toxic.  So is excessive thinking.  Beaches are optional.  Trust is not.  Neither is gratitude.

To venture any further, though, is treacherous waters.  A slippery seal, happiness is.  On the road, I encountered bushels of inconsistencies.  The Swiss are uptight and happy.  The Thais are laid-back and happy.  Icelanders find joy in their binge drinking.  Moldovans only misery.  Maybe an Indian mind can digest these contradictions, but mine can’t.  Exasperated, I call one of the leading happiness researchers, John Helliwell.  Perhaps he has some answers.

‘It’s simple,’ he says.  ‘There is more than one path to happiness.’ “



19 thoughts on “more on happiness- a quick book review

  1. Meow says:

    Sounds like areally interesting read. Happiness can be elusive unless we decide to find it where we are.

  2. Meow says:

    My website is mistyped on my last comment, so it looks like it’s a phishing site. Please use the link on this comment instead. Sorry Ally!

  3. Sara says:

    It was Abraham Lincoln who said “Most people are about as happy as they decide to be.” I have that hanging on a plaque in my kitchen. It’s a good reminder! Sara

    • Ally says:

      That’s another good point, Sara. And I just saw this quote by Thoreau that I really liked too.
      “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder”

      I thought that was so pretty.

  4. husbandmick says:

    I love the quote and I’m going to check out the book. Thanks Ally

  5. Ronniesoul says:

    Ally, sounds like it could be a most interesting book. Thanks Ally.


    • Ally says:

      Ronnie, It really was… I found myself googling all the different cities to look at pictures of places he went. I am looking forward to traveling to a few of them some day.

  6. Season says:

    I have been doing a lot of reading on the topic of happiness lately, too. Must be something in the air! I’m working on Exploring Happiness: From Aristotle to Brain Science. The magazine called Yes! recently had an issue on sustainable happiness that had a chart of the 10 Things Science Says Makes You Happy. Very similar to what you are writing about here. It isn’t about money. I’m am adding your book recommendation to my list! Thanks!

    • Ally says:

      Season, Your book sounds like something I would like to read. I’d be interesting in seeing the list too. I’m curious now. Do you know if that article is online?
      Thanks Season 🙂

  7. Ally says:

    Season, I found the article online….

    If anyone else interested here is the link

  8. Audra says:

    Loved this! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  9. Ally, I LOVE happy endings! And what a great title. It uses the word “bliss”, so it must be great, lol!
    I don’t have time to read anything more than is on my plate, and I’ve not been a very regular commenter on blogs either, but it DOES sound like a very good book.
    I think the last line is very profound! Thanks for sharing! -E

  10. Brad Cassner says:

    Ally, I have been a luker for far too long. I really, really like your site. And I really, really like you.


  11. Poppy says:

    The Buddhists say (well not all of them- its a proverb) “there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”
    I love that. I think happiness is a verb (I know it is not really) I think it is a conscious daily choice and reality is so much about perception. I know this now because it is Sunday, sunny and I have been for a run- I will forget it soon. I wish I was more consistent. I would be a rubbish Buddhist. heh ho- I am happy now, right this second.
    This is a wonderful topic.

    (I agree that Season’s book sounds amazing.)

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