The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Arthur C. Brooks (Harvard Business School): "Money does not increase happiness, it only decreases unhappiness: from $ 100,000 it does not matter how much you have"


Highlights: Arthur Brooks is an American sociologist who teaches at Harvard Business School. He believes that well-being is not a destination, but a project that is based on four pillars: faith, family, friends and work. The secret, in the end, is love, says the 59-year-old. Brooks: "The Great Resignation does not exist in the United States, it is not even a total fiction" He says companies can do virtually nothing with the four pillars of happiness with the help of their employees.

The leadership professor believes that well-being is not a destination, but a project that is based on four pillars: faith, family, friends and work

Arthur C. Brooks (Spokane, Washington, 59 years old) is not a happy man. That's why, he says, he has made happiness his field of study: at 31, this social scientist left his career as a horn soloist to start a doctorate in public policy analysis, and now teaches lessons on happiness and leadership at one of the most prestigious business schools in the world: Harvard Business School (HBS). A columnist for The Atlantic and author of several bestsellers, Brooks directed for 11 years the American Enterprise Institute, the Republican Party's leading think tank. The American sociologist, who is married to a Catalan and who has just become a grandfather, receives EL PAÍS —in perfect Spanish— before giving a talk at IE University in Madrid.

Question. The philosopher Julián Marías said that happiness is "the necessary impossible", what is happiness for Arthur Brooks?

Answer. When I ask my students on the first day of class, they say it's a feeling. They are wrong: if you are looking for a feeling, you will live a continuous frustration. Happiness is not a destination, but it is a direction, a project. Everything worthwhile in life is a project, it's not a thing you have. In addition, on this path you have to go against the current, against the world and nature. It only wants two things for us: to survive and to pass on genetic matter. It doesn't matter if we are happy or not. And if you heed, like the hippies, the mantra of "if it feels good do it", you will end up destroying your life. You have to go against the tide of the economy, culture and especially Mother Nature...

Q. And what are the keys to this project?

A. Invest in four habits: faith or philosophy—a way to get perspective, so you're not always focused on yourself—family, friendship, and then work. The latter only has to have two characteristics, which are neither money, nor power nor fame: the success earned, that is, the idea of generating value with your efforts and that people know that you do it well; and service to others. This goes for any job.

Q. Tuition for a Master of Business Administration at HBS is about $74,000 annually (over 68,000 euros). As a teacher he teaches people who, if they are not rich already, will earn a lot of money. How do you approach with them the relationship between money and happiness?

A. The median salary after leaving HBS is $200,000. My class is the most popular because my students know that everything they have done for years is not going to make them happy. Some think, "If I have success, money, pleasure, and fame, I'm going to get to happiness." This is a mistake. I tell them that there is nothing wrong with money, but that they have to understand its relationship to happiness: money does not increase happiness, but decreases unhappiness. And, besides, only up to a fairly low point, about $100,000. From that figure, it does not matter how much money you have.

Q. So reducing unhappiness is different from increasing happiness?

A. Happiness and unhappiness are not opposites, they occur in different parts of the brain. When we think we are having a good day, it means that the mixture of these two sets is positive. There are four things you can do with money: spend it on things, have more time, buy experiences, or donate it. Nature says you want to have more things, but this is never going to raise your happiness. However, if you invest it in your family and friends, it will increase your happiness. And if you give it philanthropically, too. The secret, in the end, is love.

Q. We live in a time of stress and anxiety, especially in the workplace. In the United States, the process called the Great Resignation has been forced. What can companies do to remedy this?

A. The Great Resignation does not exist, not even in the United States, it is a total fiction. The problem with burnout isn't business, it's a cultural problem: companies can do virtually nothing with the four pillars of happiness. In the United States and around the world there is less and less faith, not just traditional as I have [Brooks is a practicing Catholic], but less spirituality. There are many young people who say, "I'm not religious, but I'm spiritual," and it's neither. In addition, family is becoming less important. The problem of loneliness is catastrophic. Companies only have leeway in the pillar of work, helping the employee have a purpose, but they can do nothing for their faith or for their family. The problem is cultural, not economic.

Q. If the problem is cultural, what cultural differences do you see between the United States and Spain?

A. In the United States, people work more, it's the culture of the immigrant. Spain is a country of leisure. In the United States you meet a person for the first time and the first question is: what do you do?, here is: where are you going on vacation? It is a window to the Spanish soul. When I'm here I'm much more relaxed. I would love to live here, but my wife doesn't want to [laughs].

Q. On many occasions, labor discontent has to do with workers not feeling fulfilled by their work. What advice would you give to young people entering the labour market?

A. Normally when you go to a graduation, the speaker always says that "find the job you love and you will not work the rest of your life". That's terrible advice. You're never going to find a job that's always fun. The second piece of advice they give you is "save the world," which you're never going to get. What you have to do is find something interesting, which sometimes won't be fun, and which won't always have a global impact either, but will always be your thing. The most interesting thing for you is your vocation if you can make a living from it.

Follow all the information of Economy and Business on Facebook and Twitter, or in our weekly newsletter

Source: elparis

All business articles on 2023-06-09

You may like

News/Politics 2023-04-17T10:39:44.241Z
Life/Entertain 2023-06-18T12:15:13.983Z

Trends 24h


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.