Part travelogue and part social commentary and study on happiness around the world, Eric Weiner takes you to some of the happiest and least happy countries in the world. Some of them are poor and some of them are extremely wealthy. Some you’d peg as being happy and some you wouldn’t. It’s an interesting look into what people around the world say makes their country thrive and how THEY view happiness.
The Geography of Bliss is broken into sections by country. I found it to be a pretty interesting read although it’s the type of book that I tend to read while I’m also reading a fiction book as sometimes I just need something to break it up. It’s not my usual thrills and adventure type of travelogue but I really do love learning about different cultures and found this happiness study to be intriguing so I really enjoyed that aspect of The Geography of Bliss. It was thought provoking and I loved thinking about what makes me happy at the core of my being versus others in the world.
I think the one thing I wish about this book is that we would have gotten to know the PEOPLE a little bit more. We get little bits of all these people he is meeting but I find that the one thing I love about travelogues (and my own travel) is really connecting with the people that are written about. I feel like when I read travelogues and travel blogs that I connect really well when writers tell me about people and I find myself falling in love with them and wanting to hop on a plane and meet these people. This book lacked that for me. I wanted to get to know the people of these countries. I think one of my favorite people he encountered was one of his guides. That’s about it.
Final Thought: If you like a travelogue that takes you on an adventure and is full of people the author encountered that just jump off the page, this isn’t it one I’d recommend. If you don’t mind a slower paced commentary on happiness around the world where you get to participate in a little armchair travel to some amazing places and learn some tidbits about other countries and cultures along they way, you might enjoy this one! It was a pretty good read for me but definitely not my favorite travelogue out there…which is pretty disappointing because I HAD to have this one when I saw it on the shelf.