The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

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What makes a nation happy? Is one country’s sense of happiness the same as another’s? In the last two decades, psychologists and economists have learned a lot about who’s happy and who isn’t. The Dutch are, the Romanians aren’t, and Americans are somewhere in between…
After years of going to the world’s least happy countries, Eric Weiner, a veteran foreign correspondent, decided to travel and evaluate each country’s different sense of happiness and discover the nation that seemed happiest of all.
·He discovers the relationship between money and happiness in tiny and extremely wealthy Qatar (and it’s not a good one)
·He goes to Thailand, and finds that not thinking is a contented way of life.
·He goes to the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, and discovers they have an official policy of Gross National Happiness!
·He asks himself why the British don’t do happiness?
In Weiner’s quest to find the world’s happiest places, he eats rotten Icelandic shark, meditates in Bangalore, visits strip clubs in Bangkok and drinks himself into a stupor in Reykjavik. Full of inspired moments, The Geography of Bliss accomplishes a feat few travel books dare and even fewer achieve: to make you happier.

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Buttertea at Sunrise: A Year in the Bhutan Himalaya by Britta Das

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Often seen as a magical paradise at the end of the world, Bhutan is inaccessible to most travellers. Set against the dramatic scenery of the Himalaya, this beguiling memoir recalls hardships and happiness in a land almost untouched by the West. When Britta Das goes to work as a physiotherapist in a remote village hospital, her good intentions are put to the test amid monsoons, fleas, and startling conditions. But as she visits homes in the mountains and learns the mysteries of Tantric Buddhism, the country captivates her very soul. Gaining insights into the traditions of the mystical kingdom, Britta makes friends, falls in love, and battles illness. Throughout it all, as she writes, she worries about the “destructive nearness of technology” and fears that Bhutan’s charm and innocence may soon be lost. Still, Bhutan has endured for centuries, and there is no denying that the country has transformed her life forever.

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