Albert Einstein’s Elegant Theory of Happiness: It Just Sold for $1.6 Million at Auction, But You Can Use It for Free

Albert Ein­stein had a the­o­ry of gen­er­al rel­a­tiv­i­ty. Turns out, he had a the­o­ry of hap­pi­ness, too.

While trav­el­ing in Japan in 1922, Ein­stein learned that he had won the Nobel Prize. Sud­den­ly the object of unwant­ed pub­lic­i­ty, he seclud­ed him­self inside the Impe­r­i­al Hotel in Tokyo. And while there, explains NPR, “a couri­er came to the door to make a deliv­ery.” In lieu of giv­ing the couri­er a small tip, Ein­stein hand­ed the couri­er two hand­writ­ten notes, one of which read: “A calm and mod­est life brings more hap­pi­ness than the pur­suit of suc­cess com­bined with con­stant rest­less­ness.“ ‘

Ein­stein also gave the bell­hop anoth­er use­ful piece of advice: Don’t lose those hand­writ­ten notes. They might be worth some­thing some­day.

Sure enough, Ein­stein’s scrawled the­o­ry of hap­pi­ness sold for $1.6 mil­lion at an auc­tion on Tues­day.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Albert Ein­stein Tells His Son The Key to Learn­ing & Hap­pi­ness is Los­ing Your­self in Cre­ativ­i­ty (or “Find­ing Flow”)

The Musi­cal Mind of Albert Ein­stein: Great Physi­cist, Ama­teur Vio­lin­ist and Devo­tee of Mozart

Albert Ein­stein on Indi­vid­ual Lib­er­ty, With­out Which There Would Be ‘No Shake­speare, No Goethe, No New­ton’

Lis­ten as Albert Ein­stein Calls for Peace and Social Jus­tice in 1945

Albert Ein­stein Reads ‘The Com­mon Lan­guage of Sci­ence’ (1941)

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.