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The Sandra Bullock Trade

The Sandra Bullock Trade

By David Brooks, published as an Op-Ed article in the New York Times on March 29, 2010

In this article, David Brooks uses the recent media storm around Sandra Bullock as an angle on the age-old problem of happiness. Apparently, Bullock’s professional life has just gone through the roof, with an Academy Award, at roughly the same time that her marriage went down the drain.

So, what’s more important in life: A good income or a happy marriage? There’s a lot of research on this topic now, and the message I got from Brooks’s article is that if you’re planning to get happy by making money, rather than by being happily married, you need to aim for at least $100.000 extra per year.

Research has, in other words, confirmed the story of the romantic movies and novels: You gain more happiness by marrying for love, than by marrying for money.

Towards the end of the article, Brooks has a paragraph that I think is important, and which don’t want to compress:

“Most people vastly overestimate the extent to which more money would improve our lives. Most schools and colleges spend too much time preparing students for careers and not enough preparing them to make social decisions. Most governments release a ton of data on economic trends but not enough on trust and other social conditions. In short, modern societies have developed vast institutions oriented around the things that are easy to count, not around the things that matter most. They have an affinity for material concerns and a primordial fear of moral and social ones.”

Amen
:-J

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