Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
6:00 PM–7:00 PM Free
Long isolated from industrialization and just beginning to open its doors to the modern world, Bhutan is a deeply spiritual place, devoted to environmental conservation and committed to the happiness of its people—in fact, Bhutan measures its success in Gross National Happiness rather than in Gross National Product. In a country without a single traffic light, its citizens are believed to be among the most content in the world. To Lisa, a Los Angeles-based journalist hailing from Brooklyn, it seemed to be a place that offered the opposite of her fast-paced life in the United States, where the noisy din of sound-bite news and cell phones dominate our days, and meaningful conversation is a rare commodity; where everyone is plugged in digitally, yet rarely connects with the people around them.
Thousands of miles away from everything and everyone she knows, Lisa creates a new community for herself. As she helps to start Bhutan’s first youth-oriented radio station, Kuzoo FM, she must come to terms with her conflicting feelings about the impact of the medium on a country that had been shielded from its effects. Immersing herself in Bhutan’s rapidly changing culture, Lisa realizes that her own perspective on life is changing as well-and that she is discovering the sense of purpose and joy that she has been yearning for.
In this smart, heartfelt, and beautifully written book, sure to please fans of transporting travel narratives and personal memoirs alike, Lisa Napoli discovers that the world is a beautiful and complicated place-and comes to appreciate her life for the adventure it is.
Lisa Napoli is a journalist whose last staff job was on the public radio show Marketplace. An early chronicler of the dawn of the World Wide Web as a columnist at the New York Times CyberTimes, she has also been the Internet correspondent at MSNBC. She began her career at CNN, worked in local news in North Carolina, and has directed several documentaries about Southern culture.
Simon Winchester, who joins Lisa in a conversation about her experiences in Bhutan, is the bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, among others. His epic new book, a “biography” of the Atlantic Ocean, from its origins 370 million years ago through the population of its shores by humanity and their interactions with it, was published November last year. Simon has made a number of appearances at the Rubin Museum.