Fall '08/Winter '09 Reading Group List
“In this marvelous book, curmudgeonly NPR correspondent Weiner takes the reader on a fascinating and informative journey around the world in search of happiness. Weiner treats the reader to his sardonically humorous analysis of both the happiest and, possibly, least happy places on earth. Entertaining and illuminating, this captivating book is sure to provide loads of material for discussions.”
— Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI
Part travel memoir, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader across the globe 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 Qatar, awash in petrodollars, find joy in all that cash? Is the King of Bhutan a visionary for his initiative to calculate Gross National Happiness? Why is Asheville, North Carolina so damn happy?
In a unique mix of travel, psychology, science and humor, Eric Weiner answers those questions and many others, offering travelers of all moods some interesting new ideas for sunnier destinations and dispositions.
About the Author
Eric Weiner, an award-winning foreign correspondent for NPR and a former reporter for the New York Times, has written stories from more than three dozen countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. His commentary has appeared in The New Republic, The International Herald Tribune, and The Los Angeles Times, and he writes the popular "How They Do It" column for Slate. He has lived in New Delhi, Jerusalem and Tokyo.
"With one single book, Eric Weiner has flushed Bill Bryson down a proverbial toilet, and I say that lovingly. By turns hilarious and profound, this is the kind of book that could change your life. The relationship between place and contentment is an ineffable one, and Weiner cuts through the fog with a big, powerful light. The Geography of Bliss is no smiley-face emoticon, it's a Winslow Homer."
—Henry Alford, author of Municipal Bondage and Big Kiss
"Part travelogue, part personal-discovery memoir and all sustained delight, this wise, witty ramble reads like Paul Theroux channeling David Sedaris on a particularly good day..... Fresh and beguiling."
"Laugh. Think. Repeat. Repeatedly. If someone told me this book was this good, I wouldn't have believed them."—Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do With My Life?
"Think Don Quixote with a dark sense of humor and a taste for hashish and you begin to grasp Eric Weiner, the modern knight-errant of this mad, sad, wise, and witty quest across four continents. I won't spoil the fun by telling if his mission succeeds, except to say that happiness is reading a book as entertaining as this."—Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic