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The question of the book is important: what's special about places that rank highly in happiness surveys? The author travels to visit them for National Geographic. One meets colorful characters and learns about the cultures of various communities around the world, and so it's a worthwhile book for that alone. And the topic of how to promote happiness is interesting to ponder. "Thrive" does provide a useful catalog of hypothesized happiness factors and a clear short summary of happiness research.
Ultimately, the answers to the central question are unsatisfying because they are contradictory from one place to another (political freedom is key / a strong dictator is great) or else it is not clear what is cause and effect (happy people trust each other / trusting people are happier). Also, the author doesn't perform the critical test of visiting any sad places to see if they have more or less of the supposed happiness factors: there are, for example, places with sunshine and fresh vegetables that are nevertheless perfectly miserable.
Although it is whinier and not as supposedly scientific as "Thrive," "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner might in the end be a more insightful take on the exact same topic.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Great info but very fast narration so it was one thing after the other but it went through everything very quickly. I think they could have slowed down an added in some definitions of what certain things were.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful