The Geography of Bliss

My daughter (a PhD shrink) sent me a NYT bestseller entitled The Geography of Bliss. Eric Weiner (pronounced whiner) is a former NPR correspondent, self-acknowledged grump, and an entertaining writer. Believe it or not there is a World Database of Happiness in Amsterdam and Weiner travels there to learn more about the happiest and unhappiest places in the world...and then proceeds to visit several of those places.

His quest is to determine what makes these places happy or unhappy and, I suppose, to gather material for this book. He visits Amsterdam, Iceland, Switzerland, Great Britain, Bhutan, Qatar, Thailand, India, Moldova and the US in his search. I won't spoil the book by revealing much, and truly there isn't much to surprise, because it's best enjoyed and interpreted by reading it yourself. I was surprised by his observations of Iceland (lots of booze and a predisposition to failure) and surprised to learn there is a place where instead of measuring GDP they measure their GDH (H being Happiness) by monarchal decree. I will mention that one of the reasons the Swiss attribute to their degree of happiness (which you'll have to read about to learn how just how "happy" they are) is they trust their government. Wow....I wonder what that feels like? Sure would elevate my mood!