I forget what magazine I originally saw a review of this book in, but it struck me as a fascinating premise. Send a reporter out to the world’s happiest- and unhappiest places- and see what patterns he notices. I love thinking about what qualities in an environment might lead to happier people- and how much of an influence your environment can have on your attitude.

I thought the book had a slow start- but I loved it by the end. It took me a few chapters to get used to the writer’s sarcastic tone and his references to being a perpetually unhappy person.

Here are a few quotes I enjoyed:

Iceland

“They don’t expect success. It’s the trying that counts.”

Thailand

“Thais are deeply suspicious of thinking. For Thais, thinking is like running. Just because your legs are moving doesn’t mean you’re getting anywhere.”

And his conclusion about happiness in different locations:

“Money matters, but less than we think and not in the way we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.”

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