Eric Weiner

Author, The Geography of Bliss and Man Seeks God

A wry yet sincere searcher for happiness and the divine.

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Biography

Eric Weiner can't keep away from the big questions. His last book, The Geography of Bliss, was about happiness (big topic); his new book, Man Seeks God, is about, well, God (even bigger topic). But as you know if you've read Bliss, Eric has the special ability to take these big questions and make them personal: he brings an everyman's perspective, immediately sympathetic, full of humor, insight, and even self-doubt, that makes everything he talks about funny and real. He calls it "funny/serious": a unique balance of skepticism and sincerity.

Since Eric's a former international correspondent for NPR and The New York Times, when he has questions, he travels. The Geography of Bliss took him from Bhutan, where the government measures the country's well-being by its Gross Domestic Happiness, to Iceland, where strong communities and stiff drinks keep citizens cheery in the brutal cold. Now, in Man Seeks God: My Flirtations With The Divine, Eric is prompted by a health scare to explore the world's religions and try them on for size. It's an amazing story filled with such memorable characters as the UFO-worshipping Raëlians and the great Nepalese Buddhist sage Wayne-from-Staten-Island, but also a very real spiritual journey that teaches Eric deep truths. As for his personal decision? We'll let him tell you that himself.

When he does, we know you'll enjoy the chance to laugh while you learn. And there is a lot to learn. As the world grows more connected, a real understanding of global faiths only becomes more crucial. More personally, Eric's talks could create a safe space for exploring these traditions outside the spin zone, or just a chance to glean some knowledge from these ancient teachings. Whatever your angle, you'll leave Eric's talks smiling — and a little wiser, too.

Books

Man Seeks God

My Flirtations with the Divine

Eric Weiner

After a health scare leaves him reeling, Eric Weiner-an atheist by default-sets out on a worldwide search for an experience of the divine. Propelled by the confrontation with his own mortality and questions about the best way to raise his daughter, Weiner travels to Nepal, where he meditates with Tibetan lamas and a guy named Wayne; to Turkey, where he whirls (poorly) with Sufi dervishes; to China where he attempts to unblock his chi; to Israel where he studies Kabbalah, sans Madonna; and to Las Vegas, where he has a close encounter with Raelians (followers of the world's largest UFO-based religion).

Weiner's journey takes place at a time when more Americans than ever-nearly one in three-are choosing a new faith. At each stop along the way, Weiner tackles our most pressing spiritual questions: Where do we come from? What happens when we die? How should we live our lives? Why do socks abscond? With his trademark wit and warmth, Weiner leaves no stone unturned.

Twelve (December 5, 2011)

Excerpt

The Inner Nightclub of Everlasting JoyWorldHUM

Reviews

Searching for a deity to believe inThe Seattle Times
Finding My ReligionThe New York Times
Stumbling Toward the DivingAARP
'Man Seeks God'San Francisco Chronicle
'Man Seeks God'The Washington Post

The Geography of Bliss

One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Eric Weiner

Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness." The book uses a beguiling mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. Are people in Switzerland happier because it is the most democratic country in the world? Do citizens of Qatar, awash in petrodollars, find joy in all that cash? Is the King of Bhutan a visionary for his initiative to calculate Gross National Happiness? Why is Asheville, North Carolina so damn happy? With engaging wit and surprising insights, Eric Weiner answers those questions and many others, offering travelers of all moods some interesting new ideas for sunnier destinations and dispositions.

Twelve; Reprint edition (January 5, 2009)

Reviews

Why Is That Land Smiling?The New York Times
Ode to joyThe Guardian
Chasing HappinessForbes

*Praise "Part travelogue, part personal-discovery memoir and all sustained delight, this wise, witty ramble reads like Paul Theroux channeling David Sedaris on a particularly good day..... Fresh and beguiling."
— Kirkus Reviews

"Laugh. Think. Repeat. Repeatedly. If someone told me this book was this good, I wouldn't have believed them."
— Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do With My Life?

"With one single book, Eric Weiner has flushed Bill Bryson down a proverbial toilet, and I say that lovingly. By turns hilarious and profound, this is the kind of book that could change your life. The relationship between place and contentment is an ineffable one, and Weiner cuts through the fog with a big, powerful light. The Geography of Bliss is no smiley-face emoticon, it's a Winslow Homer."
— Henry Alford, author of Municipal Bondage and Big Kiss

"Think Don Quixote with a dark sense of humor and a taste for hashish and you begin to grasp Eric Weiner, the modern knight-errant of this mad, sad, wise, and witty quest across four continents. I won't spoil the fun by telling if his mission succeeds, except to say that happiness is reading a book as entertaining as this."
— Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic

Topics

Eric tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

The Geography of Bliss

Man Seeks God

Videos

One Man's Search for "His" God | TEDx

Feedback

From a major university on their first 'common reader' program:
Dear Eric — You were wonderful today. I enjoyed both talks, and was pleasantly surprised at how much new there was for me this evening. I ran out a bit early but I understand the Montclair students were lined up long to ask you questions!

You really exhibited what you said about the importance of honesty in writing, and having read many essays by students pondering your exploration of bliss against their own thoughts on the subject, this point rings especially true.

Thank you for making our first common reader such a success. Those of who have been working on bringing a common book experience to our university, in an effort to further our students' sense of the joyful, fruitful possibilities of the life of the mind, are delighted and grateful that our first stab at it with you has been so successful. Because it went so well we can do it again, which is great.

A public library:
Eric was the perfect guest author. The words I would use to describe him would be gracious, open, inquisitive, explorative, reflective and funny.

His visit was well-received by our community, and those who met him were thrilled. As an author of a popular book he was queried with repeat questions whereupon he answered each as if it were for the first time.

The audience at the [...] Theatre totaled nearly 485 and he was great. He interacts with the audience in a very natural way, everyone laughing with him as he chimed in with a humorous take. The book signing was lined up with eager fans who had, for the most part, already read his book. Each was eager to get a personally scribed and signature autograph.

As we say on the [...] committee – Whoaa!

Articles

— The New York Times