Not directly related to startup investing in any way. That said, it has a fascinating concept of a world tour exploring the themes of happiness and national cultures interpretation of this. Makes me wonder what a "Geography of Entrepreneurship" would look like. In addition, in the 2020's, 1) is there a golden age taking place somewhere? 2) if so, what is the golden age centered around, 3) how do we find it?


  • Netherlands: Happiness is a Number
  • Switzerland: Happiness is Boredom
  • Bhutan: Happiness is a Policy
  • Qatar: Happiness is a Winning Lottery Ticket
  • Iceland: Happiness is a Failure
  • Moldova: Happiness is Somewhere Else
  • Thailand: Happiness is Not Thinking
  • Great Britain: Happiness is a Work-In-Progress
  • India: Happiness is a Contradiction
  • United States: Happiness is Home
  • East Asian Happiness gap
  • Maybe philosophers are unhappy because most of the time they're lonely brooding pasty skinned white guys who wrote philosophy
A quote by Henry Miller
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
Subjective well-being - Wikipedia
A quote by Laura Klos Sokol
When Americans say it was great, I know it was good. When they say it was good, I know it was okay. When they say it was okay, I know it was bad.
Hardwired for Happiness | Dana Foundation
Happiness, which is good for both mind and body, is at least in part biological, rooted in the evolution of the brain and nervous system.
Eric Weiner Quotes (Author of The Geography of Bliss)
315 quotes from Eric Weiner: ‘Money matters but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.’, ’So the greatest source of happiness is other people--and …
Lots of good quotes.
Eric Weiner Archives | Travel Quote

Bill Holm (poet) - Wikipedia
Cities in Civilization by Peter Hall
Author(s): Adams, Matthew | Abstract: One of the oldest ideas in Western thought is that of the golden age-a bygone era in which men and women, by virtue of exceptional creativity, were briefly able to live the good life. In Cities in Civilization, Peter Hall argues that most of these golden ages ar…
The Authors — Iceland’s Secret
Yi-Fu Tuan - Wikipedia




  • Each year more people go to zoos in Switerzland than all events combined
  • The concept of "homesickness" comes from Switzerland, where passports don't have place of birth but have ancestral homeland
  • The Swiss are wealthy and patient which is a rare combination


  • "Rich people in the West have not touched fresh bodies and wounds"
  • After $15k a year, link between economic growth and happiness is disconnected
  • Travel comes from the trevail
  • 90% of Bhutanese who study abroad return to Bhutan afterwards
  • "Lama Licker"


  • Chinese say that goal is to be a good ancestor
  • Flanders Netherlands is where the first lottery was held
  • Happiness and luck are etymologically from the same word


  • Bracketed indulgence is a popular characteristic of the Icelandics
  • Iceland loves its writers
  • Free food is a big deal because very expensive
  • Icelandic everyone is related. Has impacts. For example, America tolerates high unemployment (5-6%) and low inflation (1-2%.) These allowances are flipped in Iceland. Because everyone is literally family, they accept greater collective pain (inflation) versus greater individual pain (unemployment.)
  • Culture in Iceland is being invented
  • Icelandic like Chinese "I learned Icelandic in order to learn how to think"
  • Odin is god of verse and violence
  • "Misery expressed is misery reduced"
  • Denmark and Sweden have more population than Iceland but less creative
  • "The land itself is a source of creativity and volcano changes"
  • People talk about energy
  • Swiss suppress envy by hiding things, Iceland suppressed envy by sharing them
  • "Compete" used to etymologically mean to "seek with"
  • "Failure doesn't carry a stigma in Iceland—in a way we admire failures"
  • A pinch of self delusion is good for happiness
  • Crap in art does the same thing as in agriculture, it's fertilizer for the good stuff, but you can't have one without the other.
  • Iceland superstitions between "knowing and not knowing", very Chinese
  • Joseph Campbell met the leader of the Heathens
  • "Vikings didn't plunder/raid any more than others, Irish settlers just wanted to discredit Vikings"
  • Middle-wise
  • Iceland Airways employed a Stopover Iceland policy as a way to promote tourism
  • "Gone Native", Hedonic refugees
  • Rogner is a happy artist
  • Happiness and unhappiness two different coins so you can have both at the same time (rather than alternating)
  • Boredom and happiness are all choices


  • Moldovan culture is essentially Romanian. Became a democracy but not happy.
  • Ronald Inglehart: culture is trust and tolerance, internal and external trust
  • "Substituting real values with money values"
  • Powerlessness kills happiness more than anything
  • Weiner prefers ersatz politeness to genuine rudeness
  • Solid identities are important
  • Seeing Moldovan unhappiness did not make Weiner happier (e.g. no "relative unhappiness")
  • "Not our problem" is not a philosophy, quality of a society is more important than one's place in society


  • Thai dating customs: method, motive, opportunity, sexpats,
  • Thai permissiveness vs. Dutch permissiveness
  • "You're too serious, don't think too much"

Great Britain

  • Diversity is not necessarily helpful for happiness
  • Town of Slough, where the BBC did 50 person Slough happiness studies
  • "You come home because this is where you live"
  • There are toothpaste people and toilet paper people


  • India makes foreign cultures subsume to them
  • Bangalore is India's SV, and used to be the garden city before IT took over
  • Happiness is a U shape in life
  • Koshi's Bangalore

United States

  • Paradise is only talked about when something is lost
  • Miami and those who move there, Weiner now lives there
  • "Where do you want to die?" is the place that really identifies home
  • Summary of happiness end of book


  • N/A

Bonus Resources

The Geography of Bliss Summary, Review PDF
Good summary of each country.
The Geography of Bliss Book Summary (PDF) by Eric Weiner - Two Minute Books
Ready to learn the most important takeaways from The Geography of Bliss in less than two minutes? Keep reading! Why This Book Matters: The Geography of Bliss discusses the factors […]
Has a video overview of the book.
Paid resource but useful for finding the researchers and sources. 
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
As a foreign correspondent for NPR, Eric Weiner spent more than 10 years reporting on problems overseas, such as suicide bombings in Iraq...
"It truly is a handy reference to understanding what makes people in certain nations happier that others."
The Geography of Bliss: The Secrets of the Happiest Places on Earth
From Bhutan to Britain, or what medieval depictions of heaven have to do with the neuroscience of well-being.
Introduces the book in Brain Pickings style.
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
RATING: 10/10 A search for happiness around the globe. Few books have made me question my entire outlook on life like this one. Being an American, you may find after reading this book, your definition of “happiness” no longer suits you. Get at Amazon The Big Idea: The two common factors across all…
Treasure trove of content, both on this book and other book notes as well. This author also uses Markdown.