The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway [6/10]

As an ex-actuary, I’m partial to the idea, ridiculous though it must be, that you can somehow create a formula for living life, a calculus if you like. So I’ve read a number of those How-To books that attempt to ascribe probabilities and rationality towards life’s decisions. “The Algebra of Happiness: The Pursuit of Success, Love and What It All Means,” by an ex-entrepreneur and hedge fund principal, now professor at a business school, Scott Galloway, called out to me. And at the front of the book is a fancy page of graphical equations of the type “smiley face = …” I began impressed but quickly floundered, for Galloway hasn’t come up with anything new, rather, this book is his “tips for life” for business students, couched in investment-speak. For example, “invest in experiences over things” becomes “car < lion.” There’s plenty of meat (or sensible advice) here, and if you’re youngish and aligned with well-paying professions and partial to robust jargon, “The Algebra of Happiness” might well spark something deep. As for me, I got little out of it, though some of his pithy homilies, such as “serendipity is a function of courage,” made me chuckle with recognition. In other words, come to this book if you need it, otherwise don’t expect profundity.

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