Eric Weiner tells you where to go if you want to find happiness

By Candice Krieger, July 25, 2008

Searching for happiness? You may have to travel further than you think, according to self-confessed grump Eric Weiner.

Mr Weiner, a veteran correspondent for US National Public Radio, has spent a year searching for the happiest nations in the world.

And where are they? Iceland, Qatar and the Himalayan country of Bhutan are pretty happy places to be.

Mr Weiner, 45, has chronicled his findings in his new book, In the Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World (Black Swan).

He tells People: “Bhutan has a policy of gross national happiness, and I thought the Icelanders were pretty darn happy.” And what about the Brits? “British people don’t do happiness. There is an enjoyment of misery in the UK. Despite talking about having a stiff upper lip, Brits do like to moan and chew on their misery.”

Mr Weiner spent a decade as foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, living in Jerusalem between 1995 and 1999. He came up with the idea for the book a couple of years ago while travelling around the world.

“I felt fatigued from visiting the least happy countries, so had the idea to look for the happiest places.” But he did not research Israel. “It doesn’t come up high in happiness surveys. Israelis can be charming, but there is certainly an underlying current of anxiety.”

He adds: “We are all affected by our culture and surroundings. Although we are all online and spend a lot of time on our mobiles, geography does matter.”

Home is in Washington DC — not, he notes, a happy place.

Last updated: 1:07pm, July 24 2008