The Price of Happiness? About $1.8 million

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This is one of those stories about happiness you don’t hear every day. Mostly because it stems from the mind – and hand – of one Albert Einstein.

Rachel Siegel over at The Washington Post penned an article called “Einstein scribbled his theory of happiness in place of a tip. It just sold for more than $1 million,” and sums up the unlikely story of how a tip morphed into millions, and how one of history’s most influential scientists and thinkers imparted some advice we’d all like to know: the theory not of relativity but of happiness. Per the article:

“In November 1922, Einstein was traveling from Europe to Japan for a lecture series…News of Einstein’s arrival spread quickly through Japan, and thousands of people flocked to catch a glimpse of the Nobel laureate. Impressed but also embarrassed by the publicity, Einstein tried to write down his thoughts and feelings from his secluded room at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

That’s when the messenger arrived with a delivery. He either “refused to accept a tip, in line with local practice, or Einstein had no small change available,” according to the AFP.

Instead, Einstein wrote two short notes and handed them to the messenger. If you are lucky, the notes themselves will someday be worth more than some spare change, Einstein said, according to the seller of the letters, a resident of Hamburg, Germany who is reported to be a relative of the messenger.

Those autographed notes, in which Einstein offered his thoughts on how to live a happy and fulfilling life, sold at a Jerusalem auction house Tuesday…”

What was the advice and how much were these thoughts worth in today’s currency?

1. “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” ($1.56 million)

2. “When there’s a will, there’s a way.” ($240,000)

And to think, today with the Internet at our fingertips that advice is free!


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