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Albert Einstein's note on happiness sells for $1.3 million at Jerusalem auction

October 24, 2017 7:24 PM
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Albert Einstein's note on happiness sells for $1.3 million at Jerusalem auction

The famous physicist wrote the sentence on a bit of stationary after finding out he had won the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics. His words were as lucrative as they were profound.

A note on happiness written by Albert Einstein in a Tokyo hotel in 1922 fetched a relatively high price of $1.3 million (€1.1 million) at a Jerusalem auction house on Tuesday.

Einstein wrote the message on Imperial Hotel Tokyo stationary shortly after finding out he had won the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics, Winner's Auctions and Exhibitions said.

Written in Einstein's native German, it says: "A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness."

Norway has knocked its Scandinavian neighbor Denmark off top spot in this year’s ranking. Norway has invested its considerable revenues from oil money in the future rather than spending them in the present, thereby avoiding "the boom and bust cycle of many other resource-rich economies," said the report.

Nordic countries regularly top the ranking because of their understanding in the common good, according to Meik Wiking, chief executive officer of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. Alongside Norway and Denmark, three more northern nations - Iceland (3), Finland (5) and Sweden (10) - were among the top ten happiest countries.

Switzerland (4) and Netherlands (6) were the other European countries to make the top ten. Germany remained in 16th place for the second year in a row, while the United Kingdom advanced four spots to 19th this year.

In 2007, the USA ranked 3rd among the OECD countries. This year, the country dropped one spot to 14 in the overall ranking, which was produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The reasons are declining social support and increased corruption, said the report.

China (79), Russia (49) and Japan (51) were able to move up their listings from last year, while India (122) slipped down this year.

Civil wars in Syria and Yemen have hijacked the happiness of the citizens of both countries, putting their names in the bottom ten least happy nations in the world.

Eight of the bottom ten countries in the ranking are from Africa. The list rated 155 nations on the basis of six factors -- "caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance." The Central African Republic came out as the least happy country in the world.

The UN has produced the report each year since 2012 after a proposal by the tiny country secured support. Bhutan wanted to recognize happiness as a universal goal and as a guiding principle for public policies. In the same year, the UN also declared March 20 as the International Day of Happiness. Bhutan is at 97 in this year's ranking, down 13 places from the previous year.

After writing down his formula for lifelong happiness, Einstein received a delivery from a hotel attendant.

The physicist, finding himself without any cash, handed his note to the bellboy in place of a tip. Einstein then reportedly told the bellboy to keep the note, which he claimed would eventually be more valuable than a regular tip.

Almost a century later, the attendant's nephew put the theory to the test and put the note up for sale at a Jerusalem auction house.

After bidding started at $2,000, the price rapidly increased until an unidentified European buyer had won the bid, paying a final figure far higher than the pre-auction estimate of between $5,000 and $8,000.

A second note Einstein handed to the Tokyo attendant – "where there's a will, there's a way" – also sold at auction on Tuesday for $240,000, while two other letters that Einstein wrote later in his life fetched $33,600 and $9,600.

Einstein was born in the city of Ulm in the modern German state of Baden-Württemberg in 1879. He went on to transform modern physics with his general and special theories of relativity. By the time of his death in 1955, his name had become synonymous with genius.

Source: dw.com

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