Posted by: Joe Eds | August 9, 2010

But Will It Make You Happy?

This piece in The NY Times Weekend, headlined “But Will it Make you Happy?” by Stephanie Rosenbloom, was the most e-mailed on its website over the past two days for good reason.

In short the piece is about earning income, spending and happiness. There are several case studies revealing that some people step out of the “work treadmill” and while they do make less and live in cozier apartments are much more fulfilled. Fascinating read. As a recently married man with no kids that lives in an apartment in Los Angeles, I’m clearly a target reader. I’m also good friends with some in very similar situations: We make enough to provide, enough to live semi-comfortably, but perhaps lacking that umph of happiness that we all desire. Great read, everyone should take the time to check it out.

This one section made me grin ear-to-ear. I’ve been a long proponent of buying people “experiences” for gifts (ball game, concert, massage, you name it) for this very reason below.

One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff… paying for experiences gives us longer-lasting happiness is that we can reminisce about them, researchers say. That’s true for even the most middling of experiences. That trip to Rome during which you waited in endless lines, broke your camera and argued with your spouse will typically be airbrushed with “rosy recollection,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside. “Trips aren’t all perfect,” she notes, “but we remember them as perfect.”


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