Episode 39: WTM081008-The Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner
From Eric’s website:
Eric Weiner’s The Geography of Bliss signals the arrival of the next great category of literary nonfiction: the philosophical self-help humorous travel memoir.
Weiner, a veteran foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, has covered a multitude of catastrophes and maladies from more than 30 countries over the past two decades. For The Geography of Bliss, however, he decided to tell the other side of the story by visiting some of the world’s most contented places.
Using the ancient philosophers and the much more recent “science of happiness” as his guide, Weiner travels the world in search of the happiest places. Many authors have attempted to describe what happiness is; fewer have shown us where it is, and what we can learn from the inhabitants of different Eric Weinercultures…Throughout his global quest, Weiner integrates the insights of classical thinkers on happiness, augmented by one-liners worthy of a stand-up comedian. This is travel writing that simultaneously journeys across the globe and through the author’s mind.
* Where would you guess the United States falls on the International Scale of Happiness? Listen in and find out, but you just may have to eat some rotting shark meat to get the full effect.
* Eric addresses the age-old question “Does money buy happiness?” Eric’s short answer: “A little bit of money will buy you a lot of happiness, but a lot of money won’t buy you much more.”
* Eric speaks about the U.S. obsession with happiness relative to our country’s founding documents ~ Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness ~ “We suffer from the unhappiness of not being happy,” Eric says. On his travels, Eric observed that other countries obsess about happiness less and tend to be happier for it. He spoke about the great paradox of happiness ~ “It’s a ghost, it’s a shadow. You can’t really chase it. It’s a by-product, a very pleasant side effect to a life lived well.