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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Road to Happiness is not paved with Gold

A reading list for anyone who is seriously seeking a path to happiness courtesy of:

Crash course for 'happier millionaires'
Money can't buy happiness, but can happiness buy money?
By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

  • "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind:" Shunryu Suzuki. "Which is more important; to attain enlightenment, or to attain enlightenment before you attain enlightenment; to make a million dollars, or to enjoy your life in your effort, little by little, even though it is impossible to make a million; to be successful, or to find some meaning in your effort to be successful."
  • "Stumbling on Happiness:" Daniel Gilbert. Another Harvard professor, who says in his new book: "If everybody realized constant production and consumption aren't a source of happiness ... how many of us would get up in the morning and say: I know it's not going to make me happy, but I want to keep the economy going?"
  • "The Art of Happiness:" The Dalai Lama. "Everywhere, by all means imaginable, people are striving to improve their lives. Yet strangely, my impression is that those living in materially developed countries, for all their industry, are in some ways less satisfied, are less happy, and to some extent suffer more than those in the least developed countries."
  • "Money & the Meaning of Life:" Jacob Needleman. "The battlefield of life is money. Instead of horses and chariots, guns and fortresses, there are banks, checkbooks, credit cards, mortgages, salaries, the IRS. But the inner enemies remain the same now as they were in ancient India or feudal Japan: fear, self-deception, vanity, egoism, wishful thinking, tension, and violence."
  • "The Millionaire Mind:" Thomas Stanley. "As most millionaires report, stress is a direct result of devoting a lot of effort to a task that's not in line with one's abilities. It's more difficult, more demanding mentally and physically, to work at a vocation that's unsuitable to your aptitude."
  • "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience:" Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. "Isn't it funny? I've been studying happiness for at least 40 years, but I still don't have a definition of it. The closest one would be that happiness is the state of mind in which one does not desire to be in any other state. Being deeply involved in the moment, we do not have the opportunity to think about anything but the task at hand -- hence, by default, we are happy."
  • "Seven Spiritual Laws of Success:" Deepak Chopra. "Everyone has a purpose in life, a unique gift of special talent to give others ... Sit down and make a list of answers to these two questions: Ask yourself, if money were no concern and you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do? ... Then ask yourself: How am I best suited to serve humanity? Answer that question and put it into practice."
  • "The One Thing You Need to Know." And if all else fails, take Marcus Buckingham's incredible advice: "Discover what you don't like doing and stop doing it."
  • "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior:" Dan Millman. "The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in the capacity to enjoy less ... This is the final task I will ever give you, and it goes on forever. Act happy, feel happy, be happy, without a reason in the world. Then you can love and do what you will."
  • "The Alchemist." Paulo Coelho's novel is a spellbinding must-read about everyone's lifelong search: "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it ... God has prepared a path for everyone to follow ... The secret to happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

A short time ago I read a piece in the NY Sunday Times about some "poor" millionaires in Silicon Valley who were having a hard time making ends meet on 7 million dollars a year. They felt so "poor" compared to their billionaire neighbors. Some kind of a disconnect?
Tell me.

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