The Geography Of Bliss: One Grump’s Search For The Happiest Places In The World By Eric Weiner

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.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. New Life says:

    I read and reviewed this book a couple of years ago and I loved it. I thought the fact that he didn't truly connect with the people he meets showed who we as a country are. Remember the comment in India about how their homeless are happier than our homeless, because they still have a sense of community? I felt it was a great comment on that. Being a huge fan of travel writing and of traveling I LOVED this book! 🙂 Glad to see someone else has FINALLY read it!

  2. It sounds interesting. I've always been interested in how different cultures view happiness. I might pick this one up.
    I also want to read more travelogues, but I'm not sure where to start. Which one would you recommend to somebody who's never really read one before?

  3. I enjoyed this book when I read it a couple of years ago. When I picked it up, I was under the impression that it was more of a sociology book than a travelogue, so its lack of personal stories didn't disappoint me. There were definitely a couple of countries that I knew next to nothing about (Qatar comes to mind), so that was my favorite part.

    Have you read Alice Steinbach's travel book Without Reservations? It's one of my favorites–similar to Eat, Pray, Love in that she's a single woman traveling alone, but it has less of a spiritual focus.

  4. Portugal says:

    This looks like a great read! I think I'm going to buy this title and read it during my trip on

  5. I've been wanting to read this for awhile now but just haven't gotten around to it. As a Missouri girl who's always thought she'd be happier living abroad somewhere, I'm really interested in which countries are the happiest and what makes a country happy. I'm sure some people would be happier not living in the place they were born, but how many actually find that place? . . .

    Just sounds very interesting!

  6. In general, I love reading travelogues and books about travel. I’m always searching for good ones and though this one doesn’t sound as action-packed, I would still like to read it. The premise sounds really cool.

  7. thanks for your great review!