arthur brooks

arthur brooks   [washington dc] intro’d to him from aspen ideas festival – talk shared by Mellie. caught 2 things at tail end of live q&a:

1. (only) you know what’s on your heart

no one else does. so that’s your life’s assignment.. toward eu\daimon\ia ness

2. do more (seemingly) useless stuff today

the stuff with no agenda brings us joy/bliss

Streamed live on Jul 2, 2014

Social scientists have cracked the code on happiness. By marrying ancient wisdom and new data, we can identify what brings the most happiness — and the most unhappiness — to the most people. American Enterprise Institute President Arthur C. Brooks argues that the answers should not only change the way we live our lives, but also disrupt how we govern our country.

from research – about 1/3 of americans say they are happy, 10-15% of population say they are not happy – of those –

biggest single reason people say they are unhappy is loneliness..

8 min – happiness comes from: genetics, circumstances, values/actions

genetics – 48%

age 45 ish for guys – i want to be on the road i chose

events/circumstances – (his is what we think makes us happy) – it’s 40%

follow goals – doesn’t last – maybe 6 mos

1978 study at northwester – what happened to happiness – paraplegics ok 6 mos after; hit lottery 6 mos after.. lower happiness – like it blew out the circuits

values/actions – use that 12%

4 things:

faith – spiritual enlightenment


community – friendships (community – charity & friendship)

loneliest men in society – men at age 60


34 min – 89% of americans like/love their jobs.. (?) – doesn’t matter if you went to college or not.. doesn’t matter how much you make. it matters what brings value to the soul

the only people that get happiness from money are the poor

earned success – brings success – doesn’t matter what you do – as long as you create value for people

why do you do your work?

bach – for the glory of god and the good of man

bondservant ness

opposite of earned success – learned helplessness

we’ve got to have a system that gets to earned success rather than learned helplessness

40 min – 80% decline in world poverty: globalization, free trade, property rights, entrepreneurship

ugh – this part sounds like schooling the world..

if we don’t have a policy based on our gifts to the world… we’re not going to be able to do our job – to pass on our spirit of earned success

– – – – –


the latest of aei – human flourishing

4 words for people who are unhappy – money/power/pleasure/honor – 4 substitutes for happiness – formula to be miserable: use people love things, turn it around: love people use things

52 min – q on value – value is something you denominate yourself – you know what’s written on your heart – you know your vocation.. the biggest thing we can do for kids is help them ascertain their vocation.. nobody should tell you what value means.. that’s your personal assignment your life’s course.. so important to leave that ambiguous.. doesn’t matter how you measure it.. but have to understand it and accumulate it in a meaningful way

it’s less fun when you’re motivated extrinsically

aristotle – secret to doing things that make you happy – do useless things

do more (seemingly) useless things.. today


july 2014:

People who rate materialistic goals like wealth as top personal priorities are significantly likelier to be more anxious, more depressed and more frequent drug users, and even to have more physical ailments than those who set their sights on more intrinsic values.


ted2016 – A conservative’s plea: Let’s work together

up to 8 min – whoa. i don’t know.

11 min – we need to get less predictable..

liberals need conservatives and their obsession w/free markets.. and conservatives need liberals and their obsession w/poverty

13 min – be the person who blurs the lines…

at @Kennedy_School
overcoming political polarization
if we want to solve the problem of polarization today .. we have to solve the contempt problem.. t.. answer with (practice) warmheartedness
assume good ness
i know you ness
brooks contempt law
marsh label law
Arthur Brooks (@arthurbrooks) tweeted at 6:01 AM – 30 Aug 2018 :
Excited to share that I’ll be joining the Harvard community as a professor and senior fellow at @Kennedy_School and @HarvardHBS in the summer of 2019. You can read more about the appointment here: (


find/follow Arthur:

link twitter



Arthur is president of aei