In search of bliss

Eric Weiner was born in 1963, the year a graphic designer named Harvey Ball invented the yellow smiley face graphic. But that joy spreading little icon never worked on this author, whose favourite toy was Eeyore. He read self-help books in his search for happiness, discovering that happiness is not inside us, it is out there.

The Geography of Bliss

By Eric Weiner

Hachette Book Group

Eric Weiner was born in 1963, the year a graphic designer named Harvey Ball invented the yellow smiley face graphic. But that joy spreading little icon never worked on this author, whose favourite toy was Eeyore. He read self-help books in his search for happiness, discovering that happiness is not inside us, it is out there.

In this book Eric Weiner visits 10 places in the world, in search of that elusive thing, happiness. His search takes him to The Netherlands, where pretty much anything goes, and then to Switzerland, where success is number one, and happiness somewhere down the list of must-haves. His observations in those countries are pithy and interesting, but somehow not exactly what he hoped to find. His next stop is Bhutan. Perhaps an unlikely place to find those things that make people happy, but Mr. Weiner is a reader, and somewhere in the past he read Lost Horizon by James Hilton. The call of Shangri-La took him to Bhutan.

The author is advised to see “Karma” who will advise him on happiness. Karma discusses happiness willingly, but at length advises Eric to “think about your own death for five minutes every day.” He believes that Eric, like most North Americans fear death and that keeps him from true happiness.

His next stop in this search is Qatar. If money will buy happiness then this is the place to be; they are rolling in dough. Fifty years ago, they were a nation of shepherds.

Now with oil, the country is full of expatriates who fill all the service requirements, waiters, cooks, taxi drivers, for a country of rich people. Their happiness is air conditioned comfort.

Iceland, the authors next stop, is a country that loves and supports writers, a country that has a saying, “better to go barefoot than without a book.” They drink a lot, “it’s because of the dark.” And in the summer? “Oh yes, because we are so glad to see the light.” So happiness may be found in one big year round Viking booze up.

This author has a glib style and a journalists way of finding the “real” story. His next stop is Moldova (somewhere between Romania and the Ukraine) The per capita income is $880 per year. Without much English they say their lives are “feevty-feevty.”

To Thailand and mai pen lai, (drop it and get on with life) Great Britain and the town of Slough. (“Have a good moan and get on with it”) To India and meditation, where happiness is a contradiction. Then home to America, a country whose citizens seek happiness in moving house. A fun and informative book that could make you happy.

Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.

Just Posted

Indigenous cultural centre needed in Red Deer

Urban Aboriginal Voices Society hosts annual community gathering

Red Deer youth recognized for his compassion

Blackfalds man dies after vehicle collision

Shots fired at O’Chiese residence early Tuesday

Two occupants were not injured in 6:50 a.m. shooting

Red Deer County to freeze 2019 taxes

Good financial numbers to be passed on to ratepayers

‘Princess tea’ held as Red Deer church fundraiser

Knox Presbyterian Church event is on April 27

Inspired by a galaxy far, far away, these ‘Star Wars’ mementos could be yours forever

CHICAGO —The stuff of “Star Wars” —and there is unfortunately no better… Continue reading

Shoppers Drug Mart launches second online medical pot portal in Alberta

TORONTO — Medical cannabis users in Alberta can now get their therapeutic… Continue reading

Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic

DENVER — In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse… Continue reading

Delay of game calls, goalie interference top worst rules for NHLers: survey

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn’t just a thrill for… Continue reading

Avengers get epic send-off at ‘Endgame’ world premiere

LOS ANGELES — There were more than a few sniffles from the… Continue reading

Writers’ Trust launches program pairing rising writers with established mentors

TORONTO — The Writers’ Trust has launched a program that gives five… Continue reading

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Sri Lankan-Canadians mourn victims of terrorist attack in their homeland

Sri Lankan-Canadians were gathering Monday to mourn those killed in a massive… Continue reading

Most Read