Eric Weiner’s new book The Geography of Bliss

I’ve never been one of those uptight literary types who thinks that you have to have actually read a book in order to recommend it to others. So I feel no trepidation in suggesting Eric Weiner’s new travelogue-slash-memoir The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World. The premise of the book is simple but intriguing– here is Amazon’s description:

Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author’s case, moments of “un-unhappiness.” The book uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. Are people in Switzerland happier because it is the most democratic country in the world? Do citizens of Singapore benefit psychologically by having their options limited by the government? Is the King of Bhutan a visionary for his initiative to calculate Gross National Happiness? Why is Asheville, North Carolina so damn happy? With engaging wit and surprising insights, Eric Weiner answers those questions and many others, offering travelers of all moods some interesting new ideas for sunnier destinations and dispositions.

In the imaginary Netflix queue of books-that-I’m-planning-to-read, this one has just jumped to the top. By the way, why has no one started a Netflix for books? This question, and many more, I’ll leave for another day.

For more on The Geography of Bliss, check out a review or two.

Posted by | Comments (8)  | January 12, 2008
Category: Travel Writing

8 Responses to “Eric Weiner’s new book The Geography of Bliss”

  1. Julie Says:

    Hi, Aaron-
    There actually is a Netflix for books– it’s called
    I tried it out for awhile but my experience of the service was that it was extremely slow. I canceled my account for that reason.

    I recently saw Geography of Bliss and was intrigued, too. Haven’t read it yet, though.

  2. Sandwagon Says:

    Love the blog! And interesting post on Geography of Bliss. I’ve seen the book out there too and will be reading it. Damn, i wish i’d written it myself…see my blog at to see why.


  3. Rob Says:

    I found a service like Netflix, but for books, that’s much faster and has hardcover new releases, as well. It’s called No due dates, no late fees, free shipping, online book pool…right up your alley. Check it out.

  4. Peggy Coonley Says:

    I have read excerpts from The Geography of Bliss condensed in The Boston Globe.Looking at
    Weiner’s resources i found the first world map of happiness published in 2006 by Adrian White of the UK and his happiness studies to be interesting as well. No surprise, the chillier climates of Denmark and Switzerland lead followed closely by Austria, Iceland, Bahamas,Finland, Sweden and Bhutan.

  5. Aaron H Says:

    I stand corrected. Looks like a good service.

  6. Steve G Says:

    of course you have to read a book before you recommend it dumbass. Would you say a movie is good without fucking seeing it or say a dessert is good without tasting it? Damn son.

  7. Ruchi Khare Says:

    I’m reading the “Geography of Bliss” currently and must say that it is extremely engaging and well written… after a long time I’m reading something that I want to talk about. Homourous, real, very relatable and an interestig perspective…well, I’m on Iceland right now aand waiting to explore the others. As I’ve written my the personal tagline for the book – I WANT THIS JOB!!! Good work Mr. Weiner!!

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