The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Place in the World , by Eric Weiner is a book that has truly changed my life. (Geeze that sounds corny...)
I realize this is a ridiculous claim, but one that could not be truer and isn't a claim I take lightly. You see I am an avid reader. I was the child who got in trouble for reading because I was neglecting other things - chores, family, activities. I was the child who began reading Baby Siter Club books in first grade and has had a book in my purse/backpack and bedside table ever since. I am the adult/child/teenager who has always read before bed, books haven't changed my life they are my life. However, Weiner's book has caused me to live differently, look at things differently and apperciate life differently.
As Weiner's starts in Amsterdam and ends in the good ol' USA he not only explains his reveleations he teaches them. You see, Weiner begins with the world wide happiness index, and selected a few countries based on his scores. His grumpy search for happiness not only revealed happiness but brought him happiness. As Weiner travels through impoverish countries, rich countries, and war torn countries he serached for truth. In India he revealed that while they live in greater impoverish numbers their homeless people are still happier than our homeless people due to the fact that they still have a community, they aren't pushed to the side, or ignored, like their American counterparts they are embraced loved and cherished. It's this simple revelation that a sense of community, of being appreciated and loved makes us happier, despite the degree of our physical condition that truly is prooven. These may seem like obvious insights but they are ones that we forget about and look over time and time again. So many times have we heard people make comments about if only they could have this they would be happier, or if only they made more money they would be happier or if only.....but really it seems through Weiner that we learn this isn't true, that while those things improve our quality of life it's impact on the happiness index is much less.
That tiny revelation learned in India is one of MANY MANY that Weiner makes that truly makes you stop back and look at your own life. While I personally think that man...if I could travel like Weiner...boy would I be happy. But, on his own ommission he's a grump, unhappy and he is able to travel the world for a living. I highly recommend you join Weiner on his journey through the Netherlands, Maldives, US, UK, India, Thailand, Iceland, Holland, Bhutan, Sweden,Qatar, and others as he reveals and you realize that maybe happiness isn't just economical or maybe it's not even geographical, and it's definietly not personal....but maybe it's just realational.