Summary of The Blue Zones of Happiness

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Global explorer Dan Buettner rose to fame through his study of “Blue Zones,” the regions where people live longest. In this engaging talk, he culls his Blue Zones research for practical knowledge about happiness. Despite a moment of strong language, getAbstract suggests this lecture to all seeking happier lives and nations. Buettner’s research won’t guarantee happiness, he explains, but it can “tell you how to stack the proverbial deck.”

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why Singapore, Costa Rica and Denmark are paragons of happiness;
  • How happiness manifests in three forms – “life satisfaction, positive affect” and “purpose”; and
  • How people and countries can optimize their happiness.

About the Speaker

Global explorer Dan Buettner is a National Geographic fellow and an expert on longevity.



Three nations – Singapore, Costa Rica and Denmark – offer enduring lessons on happiness. Each “Blue Zone” is uniquely happy: Singapore rates strongly in “life satisfaction,” or how people assess their life. Costa Rica excels in “positive affect,” the enjoyment of everyday life. Denmark gets high scores for “purpose,” or meaningful existence. However, these countries share six common denominators that account for “about 90% of human happiness”:

  1. “GDP” – This measure improves happiness up to a point. After a country attains about $25,000 GDP per capita annually, pursuing other goals, such as...

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