Book Review: Happy

A review of Lonely Planet’s Secrets to Happiness from the Cultures Around the World

For this small book, Lonely Planet has drawn on cultures across the globe and chosen 55 ways to be happy in mind, body or spirit. There’s an emphasis on travel experiences opening our minds to ‘how different cultures invite happiness into their lives’ and how to apply these customs at home.

The secrets to happiness are from cultures both wealthy and struggling, from huge countries and tiny islands. Some applaud quiet, like Bali’s Nyepi (Day of Silence) others encourage talking, as in La passeggiata (talking to your neighbors) in Italy. Some are based on discipline like Ramadan in Egypt, others celebrate letting loose, like Carnaval in Brazil.

I enjoyed the inclusion of some Korean traditions. Korean & Japanese karaoke is something that can be done anytime and ‘is an excellent study in shedding inhibitions’. Another everyday Korean tradition that makes the list is obangsaek (traditional five colors in harmony) which is illustrated in the Korean dish bibimbap and relates to drawing power, health & happiness from balancing your life.

Each selection has a color illustration or photo accompanying it. This nice little book retails for $14.99 US.

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