"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference" - Robert Frost

November 1, 2013

Book Review: The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

Actually, I once got interested in reading this book not because it's a book about travelling, but because of the word 'bliss' on it. As you know, I was interested in the how-to-be-happy things.
It's a book about an NPR correspondent (it's Eric Weiner himself) who travels around the world looking for what 'happiness' means.

The journey starts when he decides to go to Netherland. There he meets a professor, Ruut Venhoven, who's doing researches about happiness. But Weiner pictures the building as "tempat yang tidak terlihat seperti tempat berkumpulnya kebahagiaan".
And tyhen, still in Netherland, Weiner spends his time sitting in a cafe and he starts to think "So this is why biggest philosophers are mostly European. They just sit and drink coffee and apparently doing nothing thennnn they found some philosophies. Like Existentialism for example." LOL look at the sarcasm =))

Another funny part is when he tells the readers about how he's been badly addicted to bags. "My wife even said 'Eric why don't you just be like normal man?' when she caught me secretly looking at bags' pictures on the internet." Oh well if you could just see his writings =))

I didn't really enjoy reading the part when he's in India and Bhutan (especially Bhutan, it's so boring if you ask me). Maybe because I'm not really interested in knowing about those countries hehehe

Reading this book can also enrich your knowledge about other unusual-to-be-talked-about countries.
Like, Moldova. Baru di buku ini saya tahu bahwa Moldova adalah negara miskin (termiskin di Eropa) yang di-'bully' oleh negara-negara tetangganya. Moldovans claim theirselves as Russians, whereas Russians point them as Romanian, and vice versa.
When Uni Soviet splitted, many of Moldovans lost their job, and many of them also don't have other skills to survive. Moreover, we all know that Uni Soviet believed in the communist ideology, which means that it applied command economy. Di era ini, orang-orang yang sebenarnya skill-nya mumpuni tidak akan terlihat karena disamakan dengan orang-orang yang skill-nya biasa-biasa saja bahkan cenderung tidak mumpuni. Baru ketika Soviet pecah, seleksi alam berlaku.
What makes it even worse is the fact that Moldova's belief is atheism. This puts such dryness -or emptiness- in their hearts and minds Wajar jika mereka kaget dan down.
But apparently they think that it all has changed sice Soviet splitted and they believe that someday someone will help them. This is such a wrong mindset, if you ask me.
Weiner describes Moldova as "orang-orang yang berwajah murung dan seperti tidak punya harapan."

I personally favorite this Moldova chapter, some because of personal reasons.
I know there's still a lot of us who act (and react) the way Moldovans do. I sometimes still do that--becoming reactive and blame all that I can blame.
What I want to remind ourselves is that: What's in the past is in the past. What is done is done. Kita bertanggung jawab atas hidup kita sendiri. Kita bertanggung jawab atas pilihan-pilihan yang kita buat setiap harinya.
Now, we must move on and star thinking: "What do I really want? How to reach it?"
Let's be empowered and be empowering, people! :)
*kenapa jadi gini tulisannya hahahahaha* 

Last, when in Qatar, Weiner puts a joke on Islam: "Umat Islam shalat lima kali sehari. Kenapa bukan empat atau enam kali, hanya Allah yang tahu." =))
*Now for you who are extremist/religious person or whatever, I still respect Islam. Please see this in a humorous way. Also, if you're jeli enough, di buku ini ada kalimat di mana Eric Weiner bilang kalu suara adzan itu indah. :)

This book is damn funny. I don't know why but I always find Jewish writers are funnier than the others. They always show their intelligence by writing such sarcasm sentence and it's just way way too funny. Anyway, back to the book, I burst out laughing every time I open new page.

Well, if you want to know a lil bit better about the world from a perspective of such weird-funny-yet-intelligent person, to know more about unusual countries where happiness is relative, you realllllllllly should read this book!!

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