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Einstein’s Handwritten Formula for Happiness Worth More Than 1.5 Million Now

In November of 1922, on a trip to Japan, Albert Einstein received word that he’d be awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. Fates had it that based on Alfred Nobel’s parameters for the award, it had been difficult to pick a winner the year before, hence the late decision. The notable thinker was trying to collect his thoughts, presumably for the acceptance speech, when a knock distracted him.   

Caught without funds on hand when a hotel porter made his delivery, the physicist scribbled some life advice on hotel stationery. According to Winner’s Auctions and Exhibitions, in an act of Einsteinian foresight, he assured the bellboy the note would be worth far more than a standard tip someday. The note read:

Einstein has advised the bellboy to keep the note, saying that some day its value will surpass the amount of a standard tip.

“A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.”

Einstein was en route to Japan when the announcement came he would be awarded the 1921 Nobel prize in physics. received word that he’d be awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. Fates had it that based on Alfred Nobel’s parameters for the award, it had been difficult to pick a winner the year before, hence the late decision. The notable thinker was trying to collect his thoughts, presumably for the acceptance speech, when a knock had distracted him.

Fast forward: Almost a 100 years later (in October 2017), the German tourist’s (sporting conspicuous hair) happiness formula sold for 1.5 million dollars when the bellboy’s nephew put it up for auction in Jerusalem.

A bidding war for the letter had lasted 25 minutes, and ended with an anonymous European buyer purchasing it for $1,560,000, a price that includes an additional charge known as the buyer’s premium, according to Reuters.

The happiness note is worth a lot more now in dollars & cents and in sense and sensibilities, says a student of social science.

The physicist was also famously quoted as saying, “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value,” at some point during his life. So, one can glean that blindly chasing success to the detriment of other virtues was not part of his life philosophy.


Some Einstein quotes on happiness…

Despite an invitation to the Nobel Prize ceremony, Einstein opted to continue his journey in Japan, which is why he didn’t travel to Stockholm that December to receive his award in person.





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Curated by Irshad Salim, Islamabad