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The Book by Eric Weiner The Geography of Happiness - Essay Example

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The paper "The Book by Eric Weiner The Geography of Happiness" highlights that from the small amount of evidence here that there is some kind of meaningful connection between geography and happiness, although it seems to lie more on the side of human geography than it does on physical geography…
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The Book by Eric Weiner The Geography of Happiness
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Eric Weiner asserts in his book, The Geography of Happiness, asserts that there is some link between geographical location and happiness, and explores several different countries which score high in Gross National Happiness, two of which are Switzerland and Iceland. It has often been surmised that people living in certain countries are happier and have better lives than those in other countries, and there have been several surveys to try and provide a reason for this. It is not necessary that a country be very rich (have a large Gross Domestic Product) for it to score highly in happiness; as evidenced by Thailand or Costa Rica, but it does help, as evidenced by Switzerland and Iceland. It is interesting to see how Weiner tries to find explanations for these high happiness ratings.
During the chapter discussing Switzerland, Weiner begins to discuss the reasons for the Swiss happiness. He surmises that one of the major reasons behind the happiness of this neutral nation is that they experience their emotions in moderation, neither being very happy or very sad. This may seem like a strange suggestion to make when discussing the happiness, as perhaps it may seem necessary to experience happiness at the extreme to feature highly on the Gross National Happiness scale. In this case, we can say that there may be a link between geographical location and happiness, as the neutrality of the country seems to have had an impact on the neutrality of the people, and this leads to happiness. Another thing that Weiner mentions in his discussions of Switzerland is that the Swiss feel a huge connection with nature, and the way that geography contributes to this source of happiness is that Switzerland has a beautiful natural environment.
Many other things are mentioned in the discussion of Switzerland, such as their huge wealth (and thus surmising that the Swiss should feel less envy than those in other countries) and their tendency to vote often (thus surmising that democracy is the route to happiness) and these too can be linked geographically to the Gross National Happiness index. These latter two reasons Weiner are also associated with Iceland, a wealthy country with a well-established democratic government. Weiner also gives other reasons which may contribute to the happiness of the Icelandic people, one of which is a tendency towards the creative. Weiner even goes on to suggest that everyone in Iceland is a poet and a dreamer, and perhaps this leads to the large number of extremely happy people here. It is also interesting to note that the fact that the country is extremely dark for six months of the year does not seem to have negatively impacted the Icelandic people, putting paid to the notion that those living in sunny countries are happier than those in the far North (or South).
Icelandic people are also very patriotic; something that Weiner notes is missing from some of the other, unhappier countries. A strong sense of identity and the fact that the Icelandic people are fiercely proud of their own language has been stated as one of the main reasons that this nation is so happy. Weiner suggests that this might be because it is easier to express yourself in a language you love, and freedom of expression is one of the main things that link these happy countries.
Overall, there are a few things that link these two countries and others which also score highly, which are freedom and wealth. These two things do not necessarily link all of the happy countries, and thus it would be impossible and inaccurate to say that there is one true geographical formula for happiness, but there are several things that link these two countries in particular (and can be found in other areas of the book). In conclusion, it is easy to say from the small amount of evidence here that there is some kind of meaningful connection between geography and happiness, although it seems to lie more on the side of human (economic) geography than it does on physical geography, something that may not have been expected before reading this book. Read More
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