Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

America is the land of awesomeness, yet relatively few people seem to be awesomely happy.

Indeed, every time there's a survey about happiness, America seems to end up around the same position as it does in, say, education.

Not that I'm suggesting the two are related, you understand. Clever people are some of the most miserable I know.

However, this year's United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network report on happiness again avoids ranking the US near the pinnacle.

We come in 14th. For which, I suppose, we should be grateful. However, we've slipped from last year's 13th place because of our decreasing social support and our increasing corruption.

Now where would anyone get that idea from?

Well, the report's authors mused: "The United States can and should raise happiness by addressing America's multi-faceted social crisis -- rising inequality, corruption, isolation, and distrust, rather than focusing exclusively or even mainly on economic growth."

Money isn't everything? We'll come back to that.

You, though, want to know which country is the armadillo of joy, the guinea fowl of giddiness, the satyr of satisfaction?

It's Norway.

Yet again, Scandinavians reek contentment.

Last year, the winner was Denmark, but Norway has leaped ahead of it with its traditional blend of jigging in the streets and drinking till you're silly.

I'd assumed that's what it was anyway, as I have several Norwegian friends who excel at both.

However, as USA Today reports, Norway has not only low unemployment and a fine social support system, but also a relative lack of economic inequality.

It seems that not too many Norwegians crave gilded furniture and sink faucets. Instead, they value such oddities as time, space, family, the environment and -- a personal observation this -- some of the world's finest and most undiscovered chocolate.

Then there's the money thing.

Your average Norwegian earns more than $100,000 per year. The government invested in oil and all its people have reaped the benefits.

"By choosing to produce oil deliberately and investing the proceeds for the benefit of future generations, Norway has protected itself from the volatile ups and downs of many other oil-rich economies," said John Helliwell, one of the report's authors and a professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

There are other factors. Norwegian healthcare is excellent and I can't help thinking that Norwegians tend not to be too keen on things like war and self-aggrandizement.

Surely, though, Norway has its drawbacks. It's cold as hell. Or, rather, it's a cold hell for several months of the year.

For many months, it's also darker than the souls of most Wall Street types. How can these people claim to be happy when there's no light being pumped into their brains?

How can they shiver, shake, never have a hope of winning the World Cup or enjoy a Hollywood, Wall Street or Miami Beach and still be do darned contented?

Indeed, what is it about Scandinavia that the top three happy countries all hail from there?

Denmark has to make do with a miserable second place and Iceland is third. (Finland came fifth, and only Switzerland broke up the Scandi-clad party by coming fourth.)

In the end, perhaps it depends on what you call happy.

This survey merely asked one simple, if academically long, question: "Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top. The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?"

Norway actually scored a 7.54. That would win it a bronze in the Olympic high dive, wouldn't it?

But what would a grim realist say?

Could it be that Norway scored so highly because its people simply can't conceive of a better life than they one they have? Is it so dark and cold there that they're only too grateful to have warm clothes, warmer bodies and an endless supply of beer?

Is their happiness, in fact, merely a cloak for their lack of imagination?

I have decided to take this research into my own hands. I have just booked a trip to Norway and will report back from there.

I can only hope that I will sound happy.