October Book Review

This month’s review is by Tom Tomlinson

The Geography of Bliss

By Eric Weiner

Had it with Southern California living? Searching for a happy place to be? Don’t leave home in search of a happier place without first reading Weiner’s book. Billing himself as a “Grump”—this former NPR journalist is skeptical about notions of happiness. In search of happy places, Weiner stalks his pursuit of happiness through eleven countries. Four European countries, Qatar, Thailand, India, and America, of course, among others, make up Weiner’s visiting list. Teaser alert: by Weiner’s reckoning, Iceland maybe the happiest place on earth, Moldova the grumpiest.

Along his global travels, Weiner strives to define what happiness means at different times and places, and how different cultures register the importance of what the pursuit of happiness really is. You will not be surprised to learn that one person’s happiness is not another’s.

Weiner is witty, loquacious, dubious, thoughtful, and a fine writer in search of evanescent notions of what it is to be more than content. His search is our treasure. You can bite into his prose paragraph by paragraph, chapter by chapter, or read the whole work on your next cross country flight. Irrespective of how you read Bliss, you will be rewarded. But don’t expect The Answer to the happiness/Bliss question: you, like Eric Weiner, will have to address that question on your own.


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