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HAPPINESS IS RELATIVE

Read Albert Einstein’s handwritten advice from 1922 on living a happy life

Monika Flueckiger/EPA
Still passing on wisdom after all these years.
This article is more than 2 years old.

Fresh off the news of hearing that he won the 1921 Nobel prize for physics, Albert Einstein was on a lecture tour of Japan when he was delivered a message by a local courier. For reasons not entirely clear, he tipped the courier not in cash, but in short notes that seemingly contain Einstein’s  advice on how to live a happy life.

Winner's
Einstein’s note.

One note, signed and dated on stationery from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo in 1922, read, “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness,” in the physicist’s native German.

That note, as well as an additional note written on blank paper that said, “Where there is a will there’s a way,” was gifted to that messenger over 95 years ago and are set to be sold today at Winner’s auction house in Jerusalem, with opening bids set around the $5,000 mark. The letter’s seller, a relative of the original messenger, said Einstein told the courier, “Maybe if you’re lucky, those notes will become much more valuable than just a regular tip.”

Previous musings from the wild-haired physicist in the form of letters written in the 1950s in English sold at auction last summer for a total of $210,000. The priciest of the bunch was to Einstein’s former Princeton colleague, physicist David Bohm, and went for $80,000. Einstein’s flare for humble levity was on display in that letter, too.

“If God has created the world, his primary worry was certainly not to make its understanding easy for us,” he wrote.

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