An Insight on Happiness from the Book, 59 Seconds.

59 Seconds, Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman is a book I have enjoyed. Below is a quotation from the book. I think you should consider buying it. I was going to put up an image of the cover but Amazon has a giant copyright notice on the thing and I learned from a miserable experience with CBS news that positive comments and a recommendation don’t matter a damn.

Dunn and her colleagues have conducted several studies on the relationship between income, spending, and happiness. In one national survey , participants were asked to rate their happiness, state their income, and provide a detailed break-down of the amount spent on gifts for themselves, gifts for others, and donations to charity. In another study Dunn measured the happiness and spending patterns of employees before and after they each received a profit-sharing bonus of between $3,000 and $8,000. Time and again, the same pattern emerged. Those who spent a higher percentage of their income on others were far happier than those who spent it on themselves.

This is a fascinating passage. Apparently Greed is not the only important human value. It would seem that contrary to Ayn Rand, altruism is not evil but a useful tool in the full and happy life. It’s amazing what you can learn from research.

James Pilant

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