Introduction to “The Geography of Bliss”
When it comes to the topic of happiness, most of us will readily agree that it is a very important aspect of life. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of understanding what makes people happy in life. Whereas some are convinced happiness comes with money, other maintain that happiness comes when people have a good relationship with each other. In 2008 Eric Weiner published the book The Geography of Bliss, One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World. Eric Weiner journeys around the globe over the course of one year in order to find the happiest places in the world. He begins his journey in the Netherlands, home of the World Database of Happiness, where he meets the godfather of happiness research, Ruut Veenhoven. He searches for the happiest places on earth like Iceland, and even the unhappiest like Moldova. Eric Weiner selects ten different countries out of his list that range from different income levels, weather, tradition, and political views. This journey took him all over the world in his own personal search for that word, Happiness. He finds out that each country have their own vision on happiness and the location is not a factor but families, relationships, culture, and occupation do have an effect in one’s true happiness. Weiner is one of the few that were able to show us where happiness is and was able to describe it but he also mentions that even the wealthiest countries like Qatar can’t buy happiness, love, and even culture. Also how the people of Moldova believe their unhappiness comes from poverty and they blame the Soviet Union and the politicians for not understanding their needs.