In Afghanistan, Happiness is a Warm Poppy
Eric Weiner's book The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World won't give you any definitive answers about how or where to find happiness, but it is an incisive and entertaining tour of how some cultures reach contentedness: in the Netherland the method is tolerance; in Switzerland it is democracy, cleanliness, nosiness, boredom, and stability; in Bhutan, Weiner is advised to think about death five minutes a day . . . but this is also a country where they feed marijuana to pigs because it makes the "pigs hungry and therefore fat"; in Qatar easy money does not bring happiness; and in Moldova, comparing oneself to the Swiss and other Europeans makes Moldovans sad; in Iceland, darkness, failure, generous state-subsidized health care and unemployment benefits, and binge-drinking make for good times; in Thailand, it is best to think less; in Britain, muddling along is good enough (especially if you live in Slough); in India, to be happy you need to embrace the mysticism and the chaos, the wealth and the poverty, the yin and the yang, the thing and the anti-thing; and in America, sometimes in our search for happiness we forget what actually makes us happy, friends and family, and focus too much on money and materialism, so the next time you are unhappy, don't go shopping, go out binge drinking with your friends and then muddle along through your next day of work without thinking.