The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Weiner spent a decade as a foreign correspondent reporting from such discontented locales as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Indonesia. Unhappy people living in profoundly unstable states, he notes, inspire pathos and make for good copy, but not for good karma. So Weiner, admitted grump and self-help book aficionado, undertook a year's research to travel the globe, looking for the...

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Title:The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World
Author:Eric Weiner
Rating:
ISBN:0446580260
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:335 pages

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World Reviews

  • Kristen
    Feb 13, 2008

    I laughed my way--out loud--through most of this book. It was clever, very funny, and totally enjoyable. It's written by an NPR correspondent who travels the globe searching for the place, or source, of happiness. What makes us happy, and what doesn't make us happy? It was insightful and hilarious, peppered with quotes from philosophers (from Russell to Nietzsche), scholars, and spiritual leaders.

    ************

    Just read it again for book club and enjoyed it the second time, though I was much more

    I laughed my way--out loud--through most of this book. It was clever, very funny, and totally enjoyable. It's written by an NPR correspondent who travels the globe searching for the place, or source, of happiness. What makes us happy, and what doesn't make us happy? It was insightful and hilarious, peppered with quotes from philosophers (from Russell to Nietzsche), scholars, and spiritual leaders.

    ************

    Just read it again for book club and enjoyed it the second time, though I was much more critical reading it with a larger group in mind.

  • Andy
    Mar 20, 2008

    I will admit that I was initially put off by the title of NPR correspondent Eric Weiner’s engaging, highly readable travelogue, The Geography of Bliss. That conjunction of the global and the delightful conjured visions of a frequently flying chick lit heroine named, without irony – you guessed it. Thankfully (happily?), the book’s title is a minor bump along the road to an otherwise largely satisfying read.

    While the author’s self-confessed grumpiness kills any chance of a candy-colored happily e

    I will admit that I was initially put off by the title of NPR correspondent Eric Weiner’s engaging, highly readable travelogue, The Geography of Bliss. That conjunction of the global and the delightful conjured visions of a frequently flying chick lit heroine named, without irony – you guessed it. Thankfully (happily?), the book’s title is a minor bump along the road to an otherwise largely satisfying read.

    While the author’s self-confessed grumpiness kills any chance of a candy-colored happily ever after, the nature of Weiner’s project insures against the opposite extreme: “What if,” Weiner writes in his introduction, “I spent a year traveling the globe, seeking out not the world’s well-trodden trouble spots but, rather, its unheralded happy places?” Candace Bushnell might not have signed up for the journey, but neither would William T. Vollmann have.

    That year of traveling keeps Weiner zigzagging over an impressive swath of the Northern hemisphere, with junkets to nine countries spread across various geographic regions of Asia and Europe before return to the United States. Along the way, Weiner examines the pithy conventional wisdom on happiness – that it can’t be bought, and so on – and recent findings on the emotional state. Though Weiner hits enough global-travel clichés (a hashish bar in the Netherlands, a sex show in Thailand, an ashram in India) to make his journey recognizable, the best passages aren’t the ones that evoke place or custom but those in which the author taps locals’ minds for interpretation of their cultures’ emotional well-being. In the chapter on Switzerland, “Happiness Is Boredom,” the ongoing dialogue the author conducts with himself, his Swiss contacts and the more canonical wisdom of such thinkers as Bertrand Russell leads to these insights: the urbane Swiss owe no small part of their collective happiness to their relationship with nature, their lack of envy and ostentation to the small town-like close knitting of their social fabric. Whether or not Swiss happiness truly is boredom is another question, one whose cultural components are indirectly alluded to in the image of an ex-pat Hollywood agent nervously thumbing her Blackberry, and surprise from the Swiss that, statistically speaking, they are happy.

    The further Weiner travels, geographically and culturally, the more perspicacious his book seems to become about happiness in the United States. This is partly due to the range of farther flung countries he visits. In India, though Weiner does visit that ashram and socialize among the Indian middle class, he of course glimpses that country’s endemic poverty – and concludes that, in certain fundamental ways, it is less grinding than extreme poverty in the United States, the Indian “houseless” (as Weiner refers to the indigent of India) maintaining strong social and familial ties all but unknown among the American homeless. On the other hand, the oil kingdom of Qatar is, in Weiner’s analysis, a Wahhabite Brave New World whose dry cultural well is greased with Starbucks coffee. Happiness isn’t, it seems, a reserve of iced mocha vast enough to caffeinate the world for the next hundred years.

    But Weiner’s a-ha moment in an exotic country comes during a conversation with Karma Ura, who runs Bhutan’s most important think tank (which, as Weiner notes, “also happens to be Bhutan’s only think tank”). “I have achieved happiness,” Ura tells Weiner, “because I don’t have unrealistic expectations.” This perspective is so opposite Weiner’s own (“In America,” he writes, “high expectations are…the force behind our dreams and, by extension, our pursuit of happiness”) that Ura’s expounding temporarily disarms Weiner of his personal guardedness. He drops his guard to tell Ura the story of a recent visit to the hospital, scheduled by the author after be began experiencing numbness in his extremities and shortness of breath; MRI results confirmed that these symptoms were brought on by a panic attack, by hypochondria. “You need to think about death for five minutes every day,” Ura responds. “It will cure you, sanitize you.” His rationale? Human beings must be prepared for death, as most Westerners are not. Ura then reveals that he was once a cancer patient.

    “Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so,” wrote John Stuart Mill. Indeed, Weiner’s findings mostly confirm the old adage about the preferability of existing as a happy Forrest Gump rather than as an unhappy Socrates. Weiner relates the story of his firing from the New York Times, which came a few weeks after the paper’s executive editor labeled his work “naïve and unsophisticated.” It is only in Iceland, where “being naïve is okay because you can always start over,” as it’s put by a relatively young music producer on his career, that Weiner finally gets over the insult. “The world, I now conclude, would be a far better place with a bit more naïveté,” writes Weiner.

    But Weiner’s book suffers less from simplicity than from not treading certain paths. His travels begin in the Netherlands, with a visit to the Dutch professor who compiles the World Database of Happiness. The ostensibly scientific focus is, for all intents and purposes, mostly forgotten once the WDH has been left behind. And that’s a shame. Some of the most interesting, and promising, recent neurology research has focused on the relationship between the brain’s structure and its functioning. Could happiness be a well-wired brain? Is it possible to rewire one’s brain and thus recalibrate the happiness gauge of one’s psyche? That Weiner devotes almost no space to such questions is understandable on the one hand – it’s the geography, not the neurology, he’s after – and puzzling on the other: as Sharon Begley describes in her book Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain, neuroscientists are now beginning how meditation practice actually changes the brain’s physiology; two of the nine countries Weiner visits are predominantly Buddhist; another the birthplace of the Buddha himself. And geography, like all received stimuli, influences the way we think.

    The Geography of Bliss ultimately begs larger questions about the nature of happiness. To what extent is happiness a function of culture, and vice versa? And does happiness translate easily from one culture to another? Weiner’s findings suggest a negative answer to the latter, as he admits that much of what accounts for the happiness of other cultures would be an acquired taste for most in the United States.

    It’s not a giveaway to say that nowhere does Weiner find utopia. The happiness he does encounter reflects in the book itself: imperfect but charming, and as stimulating for the questions it raises as for those it answers.

  • Jenny
    May 30, 2008

    This was a very interesting book. It's about happiness, a subject that I never realized I thought about so much. Most of my thinking is subconscious, but throughout this book I kept questioning myself and trying to decide if I agreed with most of the major ideas. I did. Here's a few of the highlights:

    "Extroverts are happier than introverts; optimists are happier than pessimists (shocking!); married people are happier than singles (certainly in Utah), though people with children are no happier th

    This was a very interesting book. It's about happiness, a subject that I never realized I thought about so much. Most of my thinking is subconscious, but throughout this book I kept questioning myself and trying to decide if I agreed with most of the major ideas. I did. Here's a few of the highlights:

    "Extroverts are happier than introverts; optimists are happier than pessimists (shocking!); married people are happier than singles (certainly in Utah), though people with children are no happier than childless couples (surprising); Republicans are happier than Democrats (I'll have to ask Jeff about that one); people who attend religious services are happier than those who do not; people with college degrees are happier than those without, though people with advanced degrees are less happy than those with just a BA (damn that MBA); people with an active sex life are happier than those without (no comment); women and men are equally happy, though women have a wider emotional range; having an affair will make you happy but will not compensate for the massive loss of happiness that you will incur when your spouse finds out and leaves you; people are the least happy when they're commuting to work (I could have told you that); busy people are happier than those with too little to do (could have told you that too); wealthy people are happier than poor ones, but only slightly (surprising)."

    Most of all this book made me want to travel. I'd love to really spend some time in different countries, and get to know the people and their culture. My brief stay in London taught me invaluable lessons (some of which shall not be named here), but one major lesson I learned was that people in foreign countries think differently. I knew they dressed differently, ate differently, talked differently, but realizing that they THOUGHT differently was an important revelation. It's made me more tolerant.

    Another particular point that stood out was the concept of thinking. We certainly believe that thinking and analysis are important, but the Thais don't think so. One of their expressions is "Don't think too much." I like this concept. I know, I'm a teacher, I should encourage thinking. And I do. I think that examining ideas, literature, cultures, politics, etc. is very important. I'm grateful to my higher level math classes for helping me to think through complex topics. However, I think many of us have taken it too far. Think just a minute about Seinfeld. The show drives me crazy. I know everyone everywhere loves this show, but it just makes me tense. They spend the entire show talking about nothing, nitpicking every detail of everything. And they're miserable. You know they are. We're told that the examined life is a good life, but I think that can go too far. I'm not advocating ignorance, stupidity, or small-mindness; I'm just saying that most of what we spend our lives thinking and worrying about doesn't really matter. As a side note, they don't sell a lot of self-help books in Thailand, or England, or anywhere else really other than the U.S.

    Here were Weiner's conclusions: "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....Our happiness is completely and utterly intertwined with other people: family and friends and neighbors and the woman you hardly notice who cleans your office. Happiness is not a noun or a verb. It's a conjunction. Connective tissue."

    I like that. I put this book down with a sigh and thought "That was a good book." I'll try not to overthink it now.

  • Jessica
    Jun 10, 2008

    Okay, not really fair to post a review, since I'm just more than halfway through (it has to go back to the library now). But: I've read enough to know that I find the book too superficial for my taste. The author covers several countries (so far: Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar), but there is nothing probing in his method. He stays a few weeks, talks to natives and to ex-pats and forms conclusions. Maybe the topic itself is irritating to me: talk enough about it, and it disappears. This

    Okay, not really fair to post a review, since I'm just more than halfway through (it has to go back to the library now). But: I've read enough to know that I find the book too superficial for my taste. The author covers several countries (so far: Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar), but there is nothing probing in his method. He stays a few weeks, talks to natives and to ex-pats and forms conclusions. Maybe the topic itself is irritating to me: talk enough about it, and it disappears. This has always been the case for me with analyzing humor, and maybe it's the same with happiness. Probe it, analyze it, and lo and behold: we're not so happy anymore. Or perhaps it's that his conclusions seem pretty obvious to me. In any case, Weiner's jaunty tone isn't witty or interesting enough for me, so....there you have it: I'm a grump when it comes to this book. I expected more enlightenment.

  • David
    Feb 13, 2009

    This is a late entry in the glut of “science of happiness” books that peaked a couple of years ago. The best among those books was Daniel Gilbert’s “Stumbling on Happiness” and, while this book is not without a certain charm of its own, it poses no serious threat to Gilbert’s supremacy. It might seem as if this ground has already been covered more than adequately, but Weiner is smart enough to have come up with a reasonably appealing, and effective, gimmick. Instead of just giving yet another pr

    This is a late entry in the glut of “science of happiness” books that peaked a couple of years ago. The best among those books was Daniel Gilbert’s “Stumbling on Happiness” and, while this book is not without a certain charm of its own, it poses no serious threat to Gilbert’s supremacy. It might seem as if this ground has already been covered more than adequately, but Weiner is smart enough to have come up with a reasonably appealing, and effective, gimmick. Instead of just giving yet another presentation of the experimental work and its conclusions, he packages his whole investigation as a travel memoir. As a correspondent for NPR, Weiner spent ample time reporting from the world’s trouble spots. He bases his exploration of happiness on the following hypothetical question:

    So he began by traveling to Rotterdam to meet with Ruut Verhoeven, “Professor of Happiness Studies”, who grants him access to the “World Database of Happiness”, the largest and most comprehensive repository of quantitative data about the relative happiness of people in different countries around the world. Weiner describes the research findings as

    . He proceeds with a thumbnail sketch of the effects of key factors on happiness:

    It seems that Weiner was really suffering from severe wanderlust, because he provides only a perfunctory discussion of the results summarized above, focusing instead on trying to get a geographical handle on happiness, that is, to identify countries at the high and low extremes of the distribution of happiness scores. This leads him to the choice of countries he reports on in the book: Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, India, and the U.S. These particular destinations seem to have been chosen partly for their utility in helping to illustrate key results gleaned from happiness research, partly for their desirability as places to visit. (It’s obvious that Weiner had a longstanding yen to visit Bhutan; one can hardly grudge him this small pleasure, if only to compensate him for the miserable weeks in Moldova).

    Most of the book then is structured as a chronological account of the places he visited, and what he learned in each. It’s a standard travel narrative, with little didactic chunks pasted in at various points (usually towards the end of the chapter devoted to a particular destination). During his stay at each location, he generally tries to interview a variety of people to ask about their thoughts on happiness; typically these subjects include one or more “experts”, random “wo(man) on the street” interviews, and any available U.S. expats. This gives him the chance to revisit the academic findings, and to discuss various aspects at greater length as the book progresses. As gimmicks go, it’s not a bad one, and the result is quite readable, without being exceptional.

    It suffers from the kinds of minor defects you might expect. Not everyone he meets while engaged in his happiness tourism is interesting, or has anything useful to add, and at times you wish that he’d been a little more selective in his reporting. A more distracting flaw is that Weiner shares a weakness exhibited by many memoirists – he has a compulsive, almost pathological, need to be liked. Not just by the locals in the places he visits, but also by his readers. This leads him, on far too many occasions, to lapse into what I can only describe as a very regrettable cutesiness in his writing, which goes from just slightly annoying to fingernails-on-the-blackboard irritating as the book progresses. Discipline is not a hallmark of his style; for instance, we get sentences like this:

    Don’t they have editors to save writers from themselves (and readers from sentences like the one above)? Evidently not. But there are compensating moments of charm:

    Overall, Eric Weiner is a genial, if occasionally over-eager, guide. The particular conceit that he adopts in the book, discussing the findings of happiness researchers by placing them in the context of the people and places he visits, works surprisingly well. I thought his chapter on Iceland worked particularly well. Others, such as those on Great Britain and on India, were less successful – somewhat unfocused, and lacking a coherent argument. The book would have benefited from some tighter editing. But these are minor flaws in a pretty decent book.

    3.5 stars. Round as you see fit.

  • Rachel
    Sep 15, 2009

    I wanted to throw this book in a lake (unfortunately, it's a library book). At times it was funny, sure, and it was kind of interesting. But I couldn't get over its shortcomings and so I didn't finish it (maybe you think that makes me unqualified to form an opinion of it, but I don't). First off, a real gripe I have with this these pop science (I use science loosely here, because I couldn't think of another way to describe the genre) books is that they never seem to have a bibliography, or alway

    I wanted to throw this book in a lake (unfortunately, it's a library book). At times it was funny, sure, and it was kind of interesting. But I couldn't get over its shortcomings and so I didn't finish it (maybe you think that makes me unqualified to form an opinion of it, but I don't). First off, a real gripe I have with this these pop science (I use science loosely here, because I couldn't think of another way to describe the genre) books is that they never seem to have a bibliography, or always cite their sources. I mean, the author is no researcher, but still he quotes a whole lot of other works, which it would be nice if he had collected them at the back (and not, dare I say, too hard). In addition, he showed moments of extreme cultural insensitivity. Clearly, the question "are you happy" is not always an appropriate one to ask. Take when he was in Qatar. He even knew it was an inappropriate question, but asked it anyway.

    Weiner is also ridiculously ethnocentric. When he talks about culture, he is referring to the American definition of 'high culture', not the definition that you should be using when doing cross-cultural research. The claim that Qatar has no culture is absurd! There is no place without a culture. Sure, it might not have its own arts, literature, music, etc., but those things are not equivalent to culture. He criticizes, ridicules even, parts of some of the cultures he visits. For instance, he sees the Bhutanese use of phalluses as an apotropaic symbol (they ward off evil spirits) and makes fun of it. This would be uncalled for and really offensive even if it was a uniquely Bhutanese custom. But no, he doesn't seem to realize that the use of the phallus to ward off evil is fairly common, and dates back at least as far as the ancient Romans.

    Finally, Weiner expects to know all there is to know about a culture's view of happiness by going for a week or two and talking to a few people. This is completely outrageous and presumptious. You can't come to such broad conclusions after a week as a tourist. Basically, thanks to my being an anthropology major, I could not take anymore of this. So, I urge you to be suspicious while reading this book. If you can enjoy it, by all means, do. But don't believe that it's necessarily very true.

  • Trish
    Nov 06, 2009

    The subtitle of this book is

    , and I am going to cut to the chase and discuss his conclusions. You're going to want to read the book anyway, to figure out how it can be true that a very unlikely country comes in first in the happiness lottery. But do get the audio of this book. The author reads it, and as an NPR commentator, talking is his trade. He is very good at it, and is as funny as David Sedaris in parts of this reading.

    "Happiness is

    The subtitle of this book is

    , and I am going to cut to the chase and discuss his conclusions. You're going to want to read the book anyway, to figure out how it can be true that a very unlikely country comes in first in the happiness lottery. But do get the audio of this book. The author reads it, and as an NPR commentator, talking is his trade. He is very good at it, and is as funny as David Sedaris in parts of this reading.

    "Happiness is one hundred percent relational," is the conclusion of the author, who quotes Karma Ura, Bhutanese scholar and cancer survivor. We can only be happy with other people, because happiness does not exist in a vacuum. We knew this, but we need to be reminded, perhaps. And there may be basic ingredients that compose happiness, but the final composition will vary around the globe. The author compares happiness to the atom carbon: arrange it one way and it is coal. Arrange it another, and it is a diamond.

    I think this (audio)book is a great gift. It makes one laugh and think. It's cheaper than a therapist, safer than drugs or alcohol, and a lot more fun, perhaps, than doing the trip oneself. Although I just might buy a ticket to that place I wouldn't have expected to find on top of the list...

  • Jason Koivu
    Dec 09, 2011

    A sourpuss Weiner travels the world and wonders why the frick everyone's so dang happy. And I thought I was a grump!

    This was actually a very fun way to "travel the world," by piggybacking Weiner on his quest to discover what might be the reason(s) one nation of people is generally happier or more depressed than another.

    A good deal of the book is about the author's own discovery. Some of that is personal and un-relatable, but unless you're the most worldly person of all-time, there will be corne

    A sourpuss Weiner travels the world and wonders why the frick everyone's so dang happy. And I thought I was a grump!

    This was actually a very fun way to "travel the world," by piggybacking Weiner on his quest to discover what might be the reason(s) one nation of people is generally happier or more depressed than another.

    A good deal of the book is about the author's own discovery. Some of that is personal and un-relatable, but unless you're the most worldly person of all-time, there will be corners of the globe touched upon here that will no doubt enlighten a musty-cave portion of your mind. For instance, I thought I knew a thing or two about Iceland, but discovered it was more minimal than I realized. I was sure I didn't know a damn thing about Bhutan or Moldova, but thanks to

    I got a better sense of day-to-day life in these places.

    Again, these claims of national joy and sorrow are generalizations, therefore much of this should be taken with a grain of salt. Having said that, when you are faced with stats that proclaim a country has a big problem, like say my paternal ancestors' of Finland and their issue with alcoholism and suicide (WE'RE #1!!!), it leads one to lend such studies a certain amount of credibility.

    Whether scientifical or simply silly, Weiner does at least provide a good deal of entertainment value in the telling of his world-wide trek. If you've read any

    , especially

    , and enjoyed it,

    will be right up your alley.

  • Harun Harahap
    Jan 17, 2013

    Pertama, gue cuma bilang Eric Weiner memang seorang penggerutu. Bahkan bisa dibilang penggerutu yang handal dan profesional. Andaikan gue termasuk orang yang tidak sabar dengan gerutuan. Buku ini sudah tercampakkan entah di mana. Syukurnya gue seorang penggerutu amatir yang terkadang bisa mengerti perasaannya. Ide tulisannya cukup menarik, mencari negara yang paling membahagiakan. Sayang tulisannya begitu subjektif, kadang skeptis hingga gue muak membacanya. Kemudian gue punya cara membaca buku

    Pertama, gue cuma bilang Eric Weiner memang seorang penggerutu. Bahkan bisa dibilang penggerutu yang handal dan profesional. Andaikan gue termasuk orang yang tidak sabar dengan gerutuan. Buku ini sudah tercampakkan entah di mana. Syukurnya gue seorang penggerutu amatir yang terkadang bisa mengerti perasaannya. Ide tulisannya cukup menarik, mencari negara yang paling membahagiakan. Sayang tulisannya begitu subjektif, kadang skeptis hingga gue muak membacanya. Kemudian gue punya cara membaca buku ini. Jangan terlalu peduli dengan pendapatnya tetapi cermati tanggapan orang-orang yang dia wawancarai.

    Kebahagiaan? Yah, relatif. Tergantung setiap orang mendefinisikan kata kebahagiaan. Mungkin terdengar klise. Namun, menurut gue memang begitulah adanya. Nilai akan kebahagiaan tiap orang berbeda-beda. Misalnya saja, gue beranggapan kalau bahagia itu gue tidak usah pusing memikirkan biaya pendidikan dan kesehatan untuk anak-anak gue kelak. Sedangkan menurut orang lain, bisa tersenyum saja sudah dikatakan bahagia.

    Bahagia tidak tergantung uang yang kita miliki. Hmmmm, gue setuju dan tidak setuju akan pendapat ini. Memang uang bukan segalanya. Namun dengan uang kita bisa bahagia. Eric pergi ke Qatar, sebuah negara kaya raya. Setiap warga negara terjamin seratus persen hidupnya. Apakah mereka bahagia? Ya, bahagia. Hati mereka bahagia? Siapa yang tahu. Bahagia tidak berhenti di situ saja. Ada perasaan yang harus dipertimbangkan. Apakah merasa aman dan nyaman. Bebas menyuarakan pendapat tanpa takut dipersalahkan. Bahagia menjadi sulit untuk didefinisikan.

    Namun, lihat ketika Eric pergi ke Moldova. Di mana semua orang yang ia lihat tampak murung. Alasannya begitu sederhana, uang. Tanpanya, mereka merasakan hidup mereka susah. Bisa saja orang berpendapat orang miskin bisa saja bahagia. Ya, mungkin benar dengan kondisi bahagia yang disesuaikan. Mungkin juga karena terbiasakan dengan kondisi yang mereka alami. Sehingga definisi kebahagiaan menjadi sangat sederhana. Tersenyum berarti kau bahagia.

    Gue sempat berpikir, apalah maunya para peneliti kebahagiaan ini. Apakah bisa membandingkan tingkat kebahagiaan sebuah negara dengan lainnya. Karena tiap negara punya kondisi berbeda-beda, baik dari segi sosial hingga letak geografis. Namun, mereka pasti mempunyai basis data dan perhitungan yang mereka anggap handal. Yang akhirnya bisa mengurutkan negara yang paling bahagia hingga negara yang paling sengsara. Kalau gue lihat di Happy Planet Index, Indonesia mendapatkan peringkat ke 14 negara yang paling bahagia. Apakah gue percaya kan daftar itu? Ya, gue tidak terlalu memedulikannya.

    Namun, Indonesia memang menjadi negara yang membahagiakan buat gue. Terlepas dari gue tidak mengetahui kebahagiaan di negara lain. Namun, di sinilah tempat gue dilahirkan dan dibesarkan. Gue mencintai keindahan alamnya. Walaupun presiden yang sekarang agak menyebalkan dan korupsi masih merajalela. Namun, dengan membencinya berarti gue masih mencintai Indonesia. Apakah ketika pergi dan tinggal ke negara bebas korupsi, gue akan lebih bahagia? Belum tentu dan tidak yakin. Karena gue memang sudah terkondisikan untuk tinggal di Indonesia. Sehingga baik dan buruknya sudah seperti makanan sehari-hari.

    Lalu apakah gue bahagia? Sekarang gue tidak begitu bahagia. Banjir menguasai Jakarta dan membuat resah warganya. Namun seminggu lalu, gue bahagia ketika berarung jeram di sungai yang airnya menggelegak. Yah, kebahagiaan seorang bisa hadir dan tiada. Namun bukankah begitu kehidupan berjalan. Warna-warni tidak terduga dan mendewasakan kita.

    Gue suka sekali dengan cerita bagian Bhutan, ketika seorang Karma Ura berkata "Tidak ada yang namanya kebahagiaan pribadi. Kebahagiaan seratus persen bersifat relasional." Gue sangat setuju dengan kalimat tersebut. Karena sayang sekali kalau kebahagiaan hanya milik pribadi. Kebahagiaan ada ketika dia menyentuh banyak jiwa. Kita bahagia ketika bisa membuat orang lain bahagia. Gue percaya kebahagiaan bisa disebarkan.

    Okay, gue memang tidak acuh terhadap pendapat Eric Weiner. Namun, membaca buku ini gue jadi mempertanyakan diri sendiri, apakah sudah bahagia. Dari sana, gue pun mengejar kebahagiaan dengan cara membagikan kebahagiaan diri sendiri. Kemudian membuka diri untuk menerima kebahagiaan orang lain. Gue yakin jika seseorang yang bahagia menyebarkan virus bahagianya kepada orang lain. Begitu selanjutnya hingga seluruh penduduk dunia ini terjangkit virus bahagia. Maka tidak ada lagi negara yang sengsara. Melainkan yang kita miliki hanyalah DUNIA YANG BAHAGIA!

  • Kalin
    Dec 10, 2013

    Цялата книга получава добро обобщение в епилога си:

    Ето и личните ми открития (или преот

    Цялата книга получава добро обобщение в епилога си:

    Ето и личните ми открития (или преоткрития), заради които я харесах със звездичка повече от обичайното:

    - Чувствам се щастлив, когато ми разказват истории. Ерик Уайнър е събрал доста в странстванията си – и умее да разказва.

    Горният цитат би бил едни кухи общи приказки, ако зад всяко негово твърдение не се криеха по 3-4 истории. Вместо да четете тоя отзив и кухите общи приказки в него, грабвайте „Географията“.

    - Чувствам се щастлив, като се смея. Без майтап. *смея се* Ерик Уайнър притежава дар да разсмива.

    (Притежава и още един, по-рядък: чувство за самоирония.)

    - Чувствам се щастлив в България. След като видях, че

    . След като НЕ видях страна, сред изброените десет, която да ме привлича с нещо, дето да не мога да си го открия и наоколо. След като си дадох сметка как ние тук

    по пътя на онова щастие, което е възможно само с общи сили; което прави Исландия толкова чудесно място (стига 500 години да сте калявали гените си на оцеляване без слънце), а Молдова – толкова натъжаващо.

    - Чувствам се щастлив, че съм свободен. Да спра да пиша – в този миг,

    – и да се прехвърля към финалните редакции по превода на

    , и да ми е хубаво.

    Хубаво ми е. :)