Eric Weiner Quotes

Who on Earth is Eric Weiner?

Eric Weiner is a popular speaker and author of the New York Times bestseller The Geography of Bliss, Man Seeks God, and the recent The Geography of Genius. Weiner's books have been translated into more than 20 languages. He is the author of numerous articles, books and technical papers on both the human physical body and the history of science. As a professional musician, he is president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

Books by Eric Weiner


Best 80 Quotes by Eric Weiner

“The problems we discover on our own are the ones that motivate us the most.”

Eric Weiner

"Man Seeks God" Quotes

“A confused mind is one that is open to the possibility of change.”

Eric Weiner
Man Seeks God

“Believing in everything looks a lot like believing in nothing.”

Eric Weiner
Man Seeks God

“Depression, contrary to what we normally believe, is not sadness but an inability to fully feel sadness. Depression is sorrow denied.”

Eric Weiner
Man Seeks God

“I read, and underline, anything I can get my hands on, but I have a particular weakness for self-help books. I love these books, though I dislike the term "self-help." For one thing, it's not accurate. You're not helping yourself. The person who wrote the book is helping you. The only book that can accurately be called self-help is the one you write yourself. The other problem, of course, with self-help books is that they broadcast weakness, and thus invite judgement. That's why my wife insists I keep my sizable collection hidden in the basement, lest dinner guests suspect she is married to a self in need of help.”

Eric Weiner
Man Seeks God

“Saying grace before a meal. Watching our breath. Repeating the ninety-nine names of Allah. Whirling like a dervish. Prayer. They all have one objective: to get us to pause just long enough to realize that life, your life, is a freaking miracle. The least you can do is pay attention.”

Eric Weiner
Man Seeks God

“The act of underlining always contains an element of self-recognition.”

Eric Weiner
Man Seeks God

"The Geography of Bliss" Quotes

“A simple question to identify your true home: where do you want to die?”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Better to be a small fish in a clean pond than a big fish in a polluted lake.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Boredom, a certain kind of boredom, is really impatience. You don't like the way things are, they aren't interesting enough for you, so you decide- and boredom is a decision that you are bored.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Compromise is a skill, and like all skills it atrophies from lack of use.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“For me, a place unvisited is like an unrequited love. A dull ache that- try as you might to think it away, to convince yourself that she really wasn't the right country for you- just won't leave you in peace.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Happiness doesn't require words.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Happiness is a ghost, it’s a shadow. You can’t really chase it. It’s a by-product, a very pleasant side effect to a life lived well.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Hilmar owns many books, even by Icelandic standards. The other day, when he came home with a wheelbarrowful, his five-year-old daughter looked him in the eye and implored, “Please, Daddy, please, no more books!” Hilmar has a stock answer to those who criticize his excessive book buying. “It is never a waste of time to study how other people wasted time.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Hotels are wonderful inventions, but they are not the ideal window to the soul of a nation.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Humans, even nomadic ones, need a sense of home. Home need not be one place or any place at all, but every home has two essential elements: a sense of community and, even more important, a history.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“I've always believed that happiness is just around the corner. The trick is finding the right corner.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“I've spent most of my life trying to think my way to happiness, and my failure to achieve that goal only proves, in my mind, that I am not a good enough thinker. It never occurred to me that the source of my unhappiness is not flawed thinking but thinking itself.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“In fact, researchers have found that people who are too busy are happier than those who are not busy enough. In other words, the playwright Noël Coward got it right when he observed that interesting work is “more fun than fun.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“In the late 1960s, a young Martin Seligman, now the pooh-bah of the positive-psychology movement, conducted experiments with dogs. He would place a dog in a cage and give it a (supposedly harmless) electric shock. The dog, though, could escape to another side of the cage and avoid the shock, the onset of which was signaled by a loud noise and a flashing light. Then Seligman put the dog in a no-win situation. No matter what he did, he couldn’t avoid getting shocked. Then, and this is the part that surprised Seligman, when he returned the same dog to a cage where he could easily avoid the shock (by jumping over a low fence), the dog did nothing. He just sat there and endured the shocks. He had been taught to believe that the situation was hopeless.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

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“Indeed, there was a difference, one that any Thai person could spot instantly but not most foreigners. What the Thais know instinctively is that a smile, a real smile, is not located in the lips or any other part of the mouth. A real smile is in the eyes. To be precise, the orbicularis oculi muscles that surround each eye. We cannot fool these tiny muscles. They spring to life only for a genuine smile.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“It's not what we believe that makes us happy but the act of believing. In anything.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Maybe happiness is this: not feeling that you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Money matters but less than we think and not in the way that we think. Family is important. So are friends. Envy is toxic. So is excessive thinking. Beaches are optional. Trust is not. Neither is gratitude.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Music is playing. "We will, we will rock you!" But no one will be rocked here. There will be no revolution. People are too comfortable, and comfort is the revolutionaries’ worst enemy.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“My favorite theory is one I call the Get-Along-or-Die Theory. In warm places, this theory states, life is too easy; your next meal simply falls from a coconut tree. Cooperation with others is optional. In colder places, though, cooperation is mandatory.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Only a fool or philosopher would make sweeping generalizations about the nature of happiness.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Our happiness is completely and utterly intertwined with other people: family and friends and neighbours and the woman you hardly notice who cleans your office. Happiness is not a noun or verb. It's a conjunction. Connective tissue.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Paradise is a moving target.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Part of positive psychology is about being positive, but sometimes laughter and clowns are not appropriate. Some people don't want to be happy, and that's okay. They want meaningful lives, and those are not always the same as happy lives.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Perhaps it's true you can't go back in time, but you can return to the scene of a love, of a crime, of happiness, and of a fateful decision; the places are what remain, are what you can possess, are what is immortal.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Perhaps love and attention are really the same thing. One can’t exist without the other. The British scholar Avner Offer calls attention “the universal currency of well-being.” Attentive people, in other words, are happy people.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Religion is like a knife. If you use it the wrong way you can cut yourself.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Some cultures, for instance, are collectivist; others are individualistic. Collectivist cultures, like Japan and other Confucian nations, value social harmony more than any one person’s happiness. Individualistic cultures, like the United States, value personal satisfaction more than communal harmony. That’s why the Japanese have a well-known expression: “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” In America, the nail that sticks out gets a promotion or a shot at American Idol. We are a nation of protruding nails.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Some places are like family. They annoy us to no end, especially during the holidays, but we keep coming back for more because we know, deep in our hearts, that our destinies are intertwined.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“The great thinkers have long pointed to a connection between creativity and happiness. "Happiness," Kant once said, "is an ideal not of reason but of imagination." In other words, we create our happiness, and the first step in creating anything is to imagine it.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“The greatest source of happiness is other people--and what does money do? It isolates us from other people. It enables us to build walls, literal and figurative, around ourselves. We move from a teeming college dorm to an apartment to a house, and if we're really wealthy, to an estate. We think we're moving up, but really we're walling off ourselves.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“The Inuit frown upon thinking. It indicates someone is either crazy or fiercely stubborn, neither of which is desirable.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“The late British-born philosopher Alan Watts, in one of his wonderful lectures on eastern philosophy, used this analogy: "If I draw a circle, most people, when asked what I have drawn, will say I have drawn a circle or a disc, or a ball. Very few people will say I've drawn a hole in the wall, because most people think of the inside first, rather than thinking of the outside. But actually these two sides go together–you cannot have what is 'in here' unless you have what is 'out there'."
In other words, where we are is vital to who we are.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“The measure of a society, he said, is how well it transforms pain and suffering into something worthwhile.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“The problem with finding paradise is that others might find it, too.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

Products by Eric Weiner

“The word 'utopia' has two meanings. It means both 'good place' and 'nowhere'. That's the way it should be. The happiest places, I think, are the ones that reside just this side of paradise. The perfect person would be insufferable to live with; likewise, we wouldn't want to live in the perfect place, either.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“There is more to life than just pleasure. We want to achieve our happiness and not just experience it.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“There's no one on the island telling them they're not good enough, so they just go ahead and sing and paint and write.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Thinking about happiness makes us less happy.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Until the eighteenth century, people believed that biblical paradise, the Garden of Eden, was a real place. It appeared on maps–located, ironically, at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in what is now modern-day Iraq.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“We are shaped not only by our current geography but by our ancestral one as well. Americans, for instance, retain a frontier spirit even though the only frontier that remains is that vast open space between the SUV and strip mall. We are our past.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“We feel so disoriented, irritated even, when the touchstones from our past are altered. We don't like it when our hometown changes, even in small ways. It's unsettling. The playground! It used to be right here, I swear. Mess with our hometown, and you're messing with our past, with who we are. Nobody likes that.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“We help other people because we can, or because it makes us feel good, not because we're counting on some future payback. There is a word for this; love.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“What doesn't kill you not only make you stronger, but also more honest.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“What is religion if not a guide to happiness, to bliss? Every religion instructs followers in the ways of happiness, be it in this life or the next, be it through submission, meditation, devotion, or, if you happen to belong to the Jewish or Catholic faith, guilt.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“When the last tree is cut, When the last river is emptied, When the last fish is caught, Only then will Man realize that he can not eat money.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Why do we lose our temper? Because we love perfection. Create a little room for imperfection in your life.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Without cold, there would be no coziness.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“Worst of all was Freud. While not technically a brooding philosopher, Freud did much to shape our views on happiness. He once said: “The intention that Man should be happy is not in the plan of Creation.” That is a remarkable statement, especially coming from a man whose ideas forged the foundation of our mental-health system. Imagine if some doctor in turn-of-the-century Vienna had declared: “The intention that Man should have a healthy body is not in the plan of Creation.” We’d probably lock him up, or at least strip him of his medical license. We certainly wouldn’t base our entire medical system on his ideas. Yet that is exactly what we did with Freud.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

“You can tell a lot about a country by the way people drive. Getting someone behind the wheel of a car is like putting them into deep hypnosis; their true self comes out.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Bliss

"The Geography of Genius" Quotes

“All genuinely creative ideas are initially met with rejection, since they necessarily threaten the status quo. An enthusiastic reception for a new idea is a sure sign that it is not original.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Brainstorming sounds like a great idea, but it doesn’t work. Dozens of studies have demonstrated this conclusively. People produce more good ideas—twice as many—alone than they do together.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Cosimo was the Bill Gates of his day. He spent the first half of his life making a fortune and the second half giving it away. He found the latter half much more satisfying, once confiding in a friend that his greatest regret was that he did not begin giving away his wealth ten years earlier. Cosimo recognized money for what it is: potential energy, with a limited shelf life. Either spend it or watch it slowly deplete, like yesterday’s birthday balloon.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Culture is the enormous yet invisible ocean in which we swim.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Divergent thinking is when we come up with multiple, unexpected solutions to problems. Divergent thinking is spontaneous and free-flowing. Convergent thinking, by contrast, is more linear and entails a narrowing, rather than an expanding, of your options. Convergent thinkers are trying to find the one correct answer to a question. Divergent thinkers reframe the question.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Geniuses are always marginalized to one degree or another. Someone wholly invested in the status quo is unlikely to disrupt it.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

Products by Eric Weiner

“Ideas are like bananas. That bananas grow only in tropical regions doesn't make them any less delicious in Scandinavia.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“In a fascinating study, psychologist David McClelland found a direct link between Greek accomplishments and the prominence of “achievement themes” in the literature of the day. The greater the amount of such inspirational literature, the greater their “real-world” achievements. Conversely, when the frequency of inspirational literature diminished, so did their accomplishments.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“It is a fatal fault to reason whilst observing.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Just as not all butterflies produce a hurricane, not all outbreaks of bubonic plague produce a Renaissance.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Nothing kills creativity faster than a wall.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Philosophy is like wine. There are good years and bad years but, in general, the older the better.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Places of genius challenge us. They are difficult. They do not earn their place in history with ethnic restaurants or street festivals, but by provoking us, making demands of us. Crazy, unrealistic, beautiful demands.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“See what is before you, the thing itself. Analyze later.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Silicon Valley’s success is built on the carcasses of its failures. In the Valley, failure is fertilizer. Like all fertilizer, though, it must be used wisely by a skilled farmer, otherwise it is useless and smells bad.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“Studies have found that creative people have an especially high tolerance for ambiguity. I suspect this holds true for places of genius as well. Cities such as Athens and Florence and Edinburgh created atmospheres that accepted, and even celebrated, ambiguity.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“The expectation of a reward or evaluation, even a positive evaluation, squelches creativity.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“The less-is-more phenomenon holds true not only for individuals but for entire nations. A good example is the “oil curse,” also known as the paradox of plenty. Nations rich in natural resources, especially oil, tend to stagnate culturally and intellectually, as even a brief visit to Saudi Arabia or Kuwait reveals. The citizens of these nations have everything so they create nothing.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“The number of geniuses who appear in any given field at any given time is a function not of the pool of talent available but, rather, the attractiveness of the field.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“The story of the world is not the story of coups and revolutions. It is the story of lost keys and burnt coffee and a sleeping child in your arms. History is the untallied sum of a million everyday moments.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“There’s a simple reason for this. The more shots you get at the target, the more likely you’ll eventually score a bull’s-eye, but the more misses you’ll accrue as well. The bull’s-eyes end up in museums and on library shelves, not the misses. Which, when you think about it, is a shame. It feeds the myth that geniuses get it right the first time, that they don’t make mistakes, when, in fact, they make more mistakes than the rest of us.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“We are more willing to offend someone with whom we have weak ties, and a willingness to offend is an important part of creativity. Strong ties make us feel good, make us feel that we belong, but they also constrict our worldview.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius

“What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.”

Eric Weiner
The Geography of Genius