Quicklet on Eric Weiner's The Geography of Bliss

by Lacey Kohlmoos

What's in the book?

Quicklets: Your reading sidekick!

    • About the Book
    • About the Author
    • Synopsis
    • Chapter-By-Chapter Commentary & Summary
    • Key Character List
    • Key Terms and Definitions
    • Major Themes and Symbols
    • Interesting Related Facts
    • Additional Reading

Description

ABOUT THE BOOK

Have you ever walked through a park on a sunny spring day when everyone looks like they’re having a great time and thought, gee, I wish I were that happy? Have you ever perused Facebook and seen a group of friends beaming into the camera and wished that your life could be as good as theirs? Have you ever felt like your life would be so much better if only you had more money? Or a boyfriend? Or a new car? Or a PhD? Or simply a nice cold beer? Well, my friend, you are not alone.

Ever since Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that man has the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (and we’ll pretend that he didn’t just mean rich white men), the American people have made it their mission to find happiness. And we aren’t alone, either. Even if it isn’t written down in one of their country’s most important historical documents, people from pretty much every nation in the world is looking for that magic combination that will make them happy. But what is the perfect recipe for happiness? And how do we define happiness to begin with?

MEET THE AUTHOR

Lacey is a writer, traveler and lover of the arts. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in Drama & the Studies of Women and Gender, the only thing she knew for sure was that she wanted to travel. So, she embarked on a 10 ½ month round-the-world trip. Lacey then traveled to Costa Rica where she spent one year teaching elementary school English in a small mountain town. Throughout her two years of travels, she has always kept a blog.

In 2009, Lacey earned her MA in International Development and began working for the National Democratic Institute where she became the Citizen Participation Team’s primary writer. After living and traveling in 26 different countries, she has settled down for awhile in Leadville, CO where she spends her days skiing, hiking, taking pictures and writing. Lacey loves writing about travel, gender issues, international development and the arts.

EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

Eric Weiner is a grump. He has spent most of his career as an NPR foreign correspondent chasing down unhappy people in unhappy places in order to tell their unhappy stories. Even if he didn’t already have a half-glass-empty type of personality, surrounding himself with all that unhappiness for so long was bound to impinge on his attitude towards life. One day, though, Weiner decides that he has had enough with being unhappy. In an effort to uncover the secret to happiness, he embarks on a year-long journey to discover which country is the happiest and why.

Weiner’s first stop is in the Netherlands, home of the World Database of Happiness. There he discovers all sorts of interesting findings resulting from decades of studies done on the subject all over the world. Married people are happier than single people. Those with a college education are happier than those who are less educated, but people with advanced degrees are less happy than those with a BA. People with kids show the same amount of happiness as those without kids. There are no major differences in happiness between men and women. These “facts” have been determined by highly scientific studies, but there is one glaring problem with the data: reverse causality. Are people happier because they are married or are happy people more likely to get married than unhappy people?



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