The Geography Of Bliss Book Summary By Eric Weiner

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The Geography of Bliss is an exploration of what it means to be happy on a global scale.

Written by Eric Weiner, this book seeks to answer which countries are the happiest and explore what it is that makes their citizens so joyful? Through his trip around the world in search of the answer, Weiner uncovers some fundamental truths about our many cultural differences as well as our shared similarities and contradictions.

By examining how different cultures prioritize and value joy, The Geography of Bliss offers readers insight into what truly makes us human.

The Geography Of Bliss Book

Book Name: The Geography of Bliss (One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World)

Author(s): Eric Weiner

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: History

Author Bio

Eric Weiner is the author of The Geography of Bliss, a best-selling book.

He has an impressive background in journalism and foreign relations having been stationed in New Delhi, Jerusalem, and Tokyo as a National Public Radio correspondent.

His coverage of Islamic news in Asia was so exceptional that he was even awarded the Angel Award for outstanding journalism!

On top of his extensive career in journalism, Weiner's writing can also be seen in popular publications like the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.

All this prestige culminates in the successful release of The Geoagraphy of Bliss and several other bestsellers such as The Geography of Genius.

How Countries Foster Happiness: Examining The Role Of Policies, Attitudes, And Conditions


Want to discover which countries are the happiest in the world? Well you don’t have to leave your own couch, because you can explore the geography of bliss and learn about why certain places rank highest on the happiness scale, all from The Geography of Bliss!

In just ten sections, you’ll take a trip around the world, visiting each country and learning more about how they make their citizens content and satisfied with life.

You’ll find out which countries make health care and education free to its citizens, which ones encourage art and culture, and even what makes some Eastern European countries rank lowest in terms of joy.

No matter where your interests lie, this book will show you how different countries approach finding bliss – without ever having to leave your living room!

The Key To Understanding Happiness: The Netherlands, And Ruut Veenhoven’S World Database Of Happiness

If you’re looking for the world’s best research on happiness, then the Netherlands is where you should start.

It is home to an annual happiness conference which brings together researchers from all over the world who compare their methodologies and results.

The country has also become something of a Mecca for happiness, with Dutch professor Ruut Veenhoven hailed as one of its prophets.

Veenhoven’s World Database of Happiness serves as a valuable resource for many researchers, compiling data from research conducted around the world.

The studies conducted here show that married people are happier than singles, Republicans are more content than Democrats and women have similar levels of contentment to men.

However, there are also some contradictory findings: in some of the happiest countries in the world, suicide rates are higher than average.

But what makes the Dutch so happy? Potential factors could include them being a wealthy European nation with a functional welfare system; they have an accepting attitude to immigration and prostitution and are known for their tolerance.

As for how one measures happiness, people can either rank it themselves or rely on less reliable methods such as counting smiles – but ultimately it comes down to personal opinion!

The Swiss Approach To Happiness: The Benefits Of Efficiency, Class Relations And Access To Nature

The Swiss are some of the happiest people in the world, and it’s no accident.

A lot of their happiness is due to precision, avoiding class distinctions, and enjoying nature.

Switzerland has some of the strictest schedules when it comes to trains, roads, bathrooms and sidewalks; these methods prevent any source of unhappiness.

The nation’s wealth also plays an important role in Switzerland’s level of happiness; however, they have made it a cultural taboo to talk about money as conversations like these tend to evoke envy.

Dress and behavior are kept subdued so as not to flaunt their wealth; such an attitude is worlds apart from that found in America where “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” prevails.

The Swiss also benefit from having one of the most liberal euthanasia laws in the world, giving them peace of mind even at their worst moments.

Switzerland boasts stunning geography that contributes to its residents’ euphoria.


O Wilson said that humans have a powerful genetic trait – biophilia – that draws us towards nature’s beauty; studies have shown that those who enjoy natural views during times of illness have increased healing rates compared to those without a view of nature.

All in all, Switzerland shows what precise living means, how beneficial nature is and avoiding conflicts with class systems can all be beneficial factors for achieving greater levels of happiness in general.

In Bhutan, Gross National Happiness Is More Valuable Than Money

National Happiness

The country of Bhutan is an example of a place where happiness shapes national policy.

The Bhutanese government puts Gross National Happiness ahead of Gross National Product, emphasizing the pursuit of contentment over economic growth.

As such, citizens in Bhutan have free education and healthcare and are shielded from corporate advertising–it even banned smoking!

When it comes down to what brings about the greatest amount of joy for its people, Bhutan also draws on spirituality and its Buddhism roots.

The nation’s values and beliefs lend significance to every rock and tree branch, creating a sense of contentment that more material possessions may not be able to offer.

Buddhism follows a belief in reincarnation which explains why some proudly refer to their husbands as Dalai Lama’s brother from another life.

Furthermore, they don’t put too much emphasis on success or failure since they recognize that life’s work are but a small part of existence.

All in all, by contributing both to the happiness policies implemented within the state as well as setting out an outlook that encourages mindfulness, Buddhism is a factor that plays an important role in maintaining Bhutan’s status as one of the happiest countries in the world.

The Lesson Of Qatar: Happiness Cannot Be Bought And It Requires Discomfort To Really Appreciate

Qatar is undeniably a wealthy country, but due to a lack of culture and an unforgiving environment, there’s very little joy that comes with it.

Despite the nation’s oil and natural gas reserves, Qatar is still 98% desert, making it difficult for citizens to really enjoy their lives.

The government also provides many benefits such as free water, electricity, health care and education as well as generous gifts like $7,000 per month to newly married couples to try and induce more contentment.

But over time these additional comforts have become just normal parts of life for the people in Qatar.

Resentment has grown among wealthy citizens because of feelings that the government isn’t doing enough to make life easy for them.

And if a new tax were ever proposed it would be heavily criticized.

The shopping experience has lost its charm, since families now have all the money they need for anything they wish to buy; and with most people not having jobs satisfaction from hard work isn’t easily found either.

There’s also very little appreciation for art or culture in Qatar—as evidenced by the National Museum which features displays such as the toenail clippings of a camel!

Among perhaps the most striking thing is that QRatari people don’t even believe it’s in their power to create happiness – when asked “Are you happy?” one Qatari man was rather irritated since it was God’s will and not something humans can control according to this way of thinking.

So overall, despite all the wealth available in Qatar it seems clear that money alone does not lead to true contentment – cultural activities, meaningful work and exploration of pleasure are equally essential ingredients for long-term joy!

The Creative Power Of Icelandic Landscape: Encouraging Exploration And Appreciation For Naivety And Failure

Icelanders have a vibrant culture and a beautiful landscape to fuel their happiness.

While sunny blue skies with grassy meadows and sandy beaches may not be what they experience on the regular, they still make due.

Reykavik, the capital city of Iceland, is full of bookstores, record shops, art galleries and cafés filled with artful people that keep creativity alive.

In fact, there’s even a joke about a person who hasn’t written a poem yet—which speaks to how creative Icelanders are!

And when winter rolls around, writing keeps them occupied during darker months.

But it’s not just writing that puts Icelanders in on the list when it comes to happiness: their natural environment has something to do with it as well.

They boast dramatic geysers, hot springs, glaciers and volcanic rocks due to their unique geography that serves as an inspiration for amazing works of art.

It’s no wonder why this area was home to those who imagined dwarves and elves!

Moreover Icelanders are urged by their culture to take risks and embrace failure without fear of judgment—making experimenting in painting or sculpting all the more inviting.

Even if some creations may not work out too well, they still appreciate its place in the collective consciousness and tomorrow provides another opportunity for creative endeavors!

The Root Cause Of Unhappiness In Moldova: Poverty, Corruption And A Lack Of Cultural Identity

Unhappiness In Moldova

Moldova is the world’s least happy place on Earth and it’s due to a combination of factors.

The data shows that the average per capita income there is only $880, making it one of the poorest countries in the world.

Compounding its economic struggles are issues such as rampant corruption, where even college professors can be bribed by students, and lack of natural resources which makes it more difficult for them to generate revenue.

Adding to this unhappiness is Moldova’s lack of national identity since it was only established after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

This has left them caught between two neighbors with conflicting opinions about where their true identity lies, making it hard for Moldovans to form any kind of sense of nationalism or belonging.

This lack of culture leads to a pervasive pessimism combined with envy; people find pleasure in seeing others fail rather than celebrating their own successes.

All these factors make Moldova a very unhappy place indeed.

The Secret To Happiness In Thailand: Don’T Think Too Much And Don’T Be So Serious

Thais have found something special in the formula for happiness, and that is not taking life too seriously.

Two popular phrases in Thailand are “Don’t think too much” and “Don’t be too serious”.

This goes to show that Thais don’t dwell on troubles or worry about consequences; instead, they focus on just being happy.

This outlook has been constantly evident in everyday activities like business meetings, which are often filled with laughter and amusement.

Even chores like mowing the lawn can be a reason for joy in Thailand.

This practice of treating everything lightly also reflects on products such as “Happy Toilets”, “Happy Pubs” and even a dish called “Double Happiness”!

The idea of not thinking too deep into things may have also been supported by research involving participants who were asked to either think about their happiness levels or clear their minds completely.

That study showed that participants who had no particular thoughts in mind were generally happier than those who thought about it analytically.

All taken together, this shows why happiness is so prevalent amongst Thais; it’s because they understand how important it is to not take things too seriously and enjoy life without trying to analyze every single moment of it.

Can Positive Influence And Contagious Happiness Change A Community?

Britain has conducted some interesting experiments when it comes to exploring happiness, such as the BBC’s Make Slough Happy series in 2005.

In this experiment, six “happiness experts” held a 12-week ‘happiness training” course for 50 volunteers in an attempt to pass on contagious happiness and see if this would improve the town.

Volunteers would hug trees, hold people’s hands and dance in supermarket aisles to try and spread joy.

The experiment was apparently a success as volunteers reported that Slough’s happiness increased by 33% following their work – however, it is difficult to measure the accuracy and long term changes of this experiment.

Despite these experiments however, many British people don’t view happiness as being as important as other qualities such as determination.

They tend to subscribe more to an attitude of ‘stiff upper lip’ when it comes to navigating life; they believe being optimistic isn’t necessarily what will bring success but instead having hardiness and resilience is key – almost like having the grumpy pilot with decades of experience fly the plane rather than one out of school who is buoyant and cheery!

The Pursuit Of Happiness Vs. The Power Of Fate In India: Understanding How Indians View The Quest For Joy


It’s no secret that in India, happiness is big business.

From the tours of famous spiritual gurus to expensive products targeting bliss and joy, it seems like there’s a market for almost anything related to happiness.

But while some of these efforts are fueled more by profits than true wisdom, there’s still plenty of genuine insight to be had.

Take Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, for example.

At one of his events attended by the author, Shankar was promoting a message of eternal bliss and what seemed like an effortless path towards it – but not all his words held substance and nutrition as the author discovered.

However, Shankar’s overall message was still clear; don’t make pursuing happiness your main goal in life and letting love into your heart would always be better than pursuing material gains or artificial bliss.

This is particularly straightforward in India considering its predominant religion, Hinduism – where striving for personal happiness is usually seen as an act of self-defeat because unhappiness is thought to be caused by powerful karmic forces beyond our control.

Ultimately then, researchers and scientists may continue on their quest for understanding how happiness can be quantified or measured – but as far as many Indians are concerned such attempts remain a futile exercise indicative of human folly.

Americans Pursue Wealth But Struggle To Achieve Lasting Happiness

As the United States grows wealthier, its level of happiness has not followed suit.

Research shows that the nation’s prosperity has tripled since 1950 while its levels of joy have not kept up with this progress, instead remaining on a slow decline.

This discrepancy between wealth and happiness can likely be attributed to expectations – as more money is available for spending, people expect greater returns in terms of emotional satisfaction.

But expectations often end up disappointed when it comes to material acquisition as experiences don’t always correlate to elevated levels of contentment.

The World Database of Happiness suggests that less time spent with family and friends, longer working hours and commutes further contribute to lower levels of joy for Americans.

Additionally, the nation’s culture may be partly responsible for the lack of euphoria – restlessness leads individuals to always need more than they already have, rendering lasting satisfaction impossible.

Despite all these issues, optimism is still highly valued in the United States – two-thirds of adults believe that true happiness awaits them in the future.

Wrap Up

From the pages of The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner, it is clear that achieving lasting and meaningful happiness is not a one-size-fits-all formula.

It may be easier for some populations to focus less on seeking happiness and more on cultivating personal relationships and life experiences; however, other nations have tried to create an environment for their citizens that are solely dedicated to generating happiness with little success.

In the end, it all boils down the same – the only recipe for true happiness comes from within.

In finding balance between ambition and contentment, fulfillment and growth, we can discover what makes us truly happy.

The Geography of Bliss has shed light into this journey towards understanding our unique path to bliss.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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