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Publisher's Summary

In the first book to identify demographically proven happiness hotspots worldwide, researcher and explorer Dan Buettner documents the happiest people on earth and reveals how we can create our own happy zones. Detailing extraordinary new discoveries and meticulous research on four continents, Buettner observes happiness in unlikely places and gleans surprising insight into what generates contentment and what it means to thrive.

Intriguing studies debunk commonly believed myths. Think life was happier in the good old days? To the contrary, data shows that people flourish more in modern societies than in traditional, agrarian ones. Marriage, parenthood, gender equality, sociability – you'll be astonished at how (or whether) these factors figure in the happiness equation.

©2010 Dan Buettner (P)2010 Dreamscape Media, LLC

Critic Reviews

“A superbly produced, life-changing audio.” ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Around the world with circular reasoning

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

  • Overall

Great info

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

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Joe
  • Renton, WA, United States
  • 02-22-12

Misses the point

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Definetly a good read for global perspective on happiness, however the assumption that the spiritual/religious component as a REQUIREMENT for happiness does not seem to be the only conclusion. It seems to me the failure of government to address real issues of their populace is more an indication as to the significance religion in the happiness rating.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Rather abrupt, choosing a city to represent the USA left me to see how what I read could be applied to USA. I would have liked to see a conclusion that then compared the country in it's present condition.

Did Michael McConnohie do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes

Could you see Thrive being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

No

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ann
  • rochester, NY, United States
  • 03-06-11

Fascinating study

Certainly it takes real courage these days to study something like "happiness"--it's as if we've outgrown the very idea of it, we've become so accustomed to doing without it. In many cases, it confirms what you've known all along (like no one says on their deathbed that they wish they'd spent more time in the office) but also makes an excellent case for the importance of happiness in our lives, and gives some very brave and practical advice for how to achieve more happiness in your life. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Inspirational, but not always realistic.

It was interesting to hear about what's happening in different countries but not really possible to implement in my own life. We just don't have a society that will take care of us like Singapore, for instance. And I laughed out loud when he said we should take 6 weeks of vacation no matter what. Yeah, tell that to every job that exists in this country.

Overall I enjoyed it and though it was interesting, but a lot of the advice wasn't really applicable to Americans who are interested in remaining employed