I was incredibly excited when I heard that Linda Leaming had published a second book about her life in Bhutan. Leaming is an American who took a job in the faraway kingdom of Bhutan and fell in love with the people there, especially a talented painter, Phurba Namgay, whom she later married. This story is chronicled in her first book, Married to Bhutan, which I reviewed HERE. In her second book, A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan About Living, Loving and Waking Up, Leaming takes a less narrative approach by dividing each chapter into a particular lesson or theme. However, she tells plenty of new and fascinating stories to illustrate these themes.
Naturally, since the Bhutanese are Buddhist, many of their actions and thoughts are formed by their religion. But you don’t have to convert to Buddhism to find much wisdom in this book. It is about living more peacefully, something that Americans find difficult to do because we feel we must fill every moment with action. We’d never put up with a three-hour wait at the bank, and yet that’s exactly what Leaming learned to do when she moved to Bhutan. On the other hand, Americans rarely have to worry about being attacked by monkeys, something that is much more likely to occur in the mountains of Bhutan. (And, to provide balance, Leaming does point out some things about the United States that fascinate her Bhutanese husband!) Obviously, there are benefits and drawbacks both to living in Bhutan and the United States, but since most of us will be staying in the U.S., A Field Guide to Happiness teaches us how to transfer some of the benefits of Bhutanese living to our everyday lives to achieve the best of both worlds!
A Field Guide to Happiness is the kind of book that I want to keep at my bedside to read over and over again when I’m beginning to feel stressed and overscheduled. Leaming’s advice deserves to be repeatedly programmed into our busy brains until it becomes a natural way of living and thinking. Leaming admits that she still falls off the Bhutanese wagon sometimes when she’s in the United States, but it is possible to get back on the ride when we make a concerted effort to adopt the wisdom found in Bhutan. If you’re struggling to relax, simplify and de-stress, pick up a copy of A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan About Living, Loving and Waking Up, by Linda Leaming.
Watch the book's trailer:
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.