Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Splendid Isolation: An Essay on Bhutan

Madeline Drexler, a friend and a celebrated writer in the US who has recently released an essay on Bhutan, writes to me as follows:

Hi Yeshey --

I am very curious what the reaction to the book will be in Bhutan. Will Bhutanese readers understand the nuanced picture that I aimed for in this book? Will they be critical? I have no idea. What do you think?

Incidentally, here are the websites where Bhutanese can download the e-book. The first two will cost $2.99 per book. The Scribd site offers a PDF of the book for free -- and if you could post the Scribd link (and the others, if you like) on your well-read website, I would be very appreciative.

Anyway, I hope you are well. More soon…

-- Madeline


I have read the essay and I loved it. I am amazed how an outsider who lived in Bhutan only few weeks can get to understand us and our confusions so accurately. I loved the title of the book too - "A Splendid Isolation":

To tell you something about the author:

Madeline Drexler is an award-winning journalist, author and travel essayist. She is editor of Harvard Public Health magazine and a senior fellow at Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Among her national honors: the 2012 Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Magazine Journalism; the 2012 Clarion Award for Feature Articles; and a 1996-1997 Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT. Drexler’s articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, The American Prospect, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Nieman Reports, Good Housekeeping, and many other national publications. Her book Emerging Epidemics: The Menace of New Infections (Penguin, 2010), originally issued in 2003 as Secret Agents: The Menace of Emerging Infections, drew wide critical praise. Drexler began her career as a staff photographer for The Associated Press.

Madeline has allowed the Bhutanese readers to download the Scribd version and read for free.



  1. Wow. This is wonderful. I can't wait to add up my collection.
    Thank you


  2. Could be another asset for my collections too. Thank you Yeshey sir.

  3. In my view, it is probably the closest description of Bhutan's GNH thus far. Thank you. What a breathe of fresh air from what is usually a preaching from the advocates and cynicism of non-believers.

  4. This is what appears with the Scribd link....

    "The document A Splendid Isolation: Lessons on Happiness from the Kingdom of Bhutan has been removed from Scribd by our automated copyright protection system because it appears very similar to a copyrighted document on Scribd"

  5. Hi Anon,

    OK ... I will notify the author.

  6. Dear Anon,

    Seems like Madeline's good intentions at allowing the Bhutanese readers to download the book free has been thwarted because of copyright issues. She says that she will work to see how that can be resolved. In the meantime, those of you who wish to download the books, she says that it is available at:

    Kindle e-book on

    It sells for $2.99 US.