May 2008

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« Oh Deer | Main | The Meaning of Meaning »



What makes you think that nobody would buy a 20-pg book?

People would buy it as long as it was cheap - because it doesn't matter if they read the whole thing at the bookstore, they'll forget it in a few days and would want to keep a hard copy at home so they can look at it every once in a while.

Most people have very bad memory.


I ususally find your comics and blog entertaining and I often think your philosophy is silly. However, your happiness formula is exactly correct. Keep periodically posting pieces in this blog or on other websites or reconsider writting a book - just strtch it out with lots of examples to each sub part of the formula. The world would be a lot better place if more people understood the simple facts you present here.

As you have already noted those that disagree just have not reached taht level yet.

Chris @ Martial Development

Happiness can be measured with biotech equipment. And according to the "happiest man on Earth", the secret is meditation.

Diana W

I like Kevin K's idea of a DVD, or you could just sell it as a 2 or 3 part magazine article. I'd love to see you dolled up on the cover of Glamour.

As for the money list, making a will doesn't really help with your own weath - getting added to someone ELSE's will does. Feel free to add me to yours. I'd settle for a plane ticket and hotel money to come to your funeral. Come to think of it, that might also help with my social life problem - expecting any handsome mourners?

Angry Lab Rat

A worldwide study was released near the end of last year, comparing happiness levels of most countries and ranking them. Main factors: health, education, wealth, and not dying from disease and war. Oddly, it was some of the coldest countries that seemed to come out on top.

See my blog:


You had me until you messed up this part of the equation. (and I hereby give you permission to call this equation 'Clancy's Law':

no (booze or caffeine) != Happiness

!= is 'not equal' for those of you who don't write C/Java for a living...


Your money formula is incomplete.

Money = Income + Investments - Expenses


The basis for this investment strategy can be found in the book "The Wealthy Barber"

It explains, in much the same order, money management techniques for the beginner.


I see one key flaw to the reasoning, what is happiness? Two anomalies come to mind. First, imagined happiness is different than reality. How many fantaises when fulfilled did not create the level of happiness anticpated. And second, there is a level of diminishing returns. If a particular meal makes you very happy when you eat it, what happens when you begin to eat that meal every day? Over time the level of happiness it first provided diminishes.


I read your blog entry hoping to find out how to get my social life going, but you stopped at the money part. I'm pretty healthy, and although I'm not as wealthy as a syndicated cartoonist, I have enough money to be comfortable.

So when do you enlighten us on the last two parts of the equation?


If the goal is happiness eliminating booze and caffeine seems counter productive.



you are a good man!




But surely there's diminishing returns on some of these. If you have a net worth of $5 million, another $5 million isn't going to help, and even $100 million isn't going to change your life that much. If you have a net worth of $10 000 then another $10 000 is probably going to be extremely helpful.

And of you have so many friends that you're invited to a party every day, you have enough social life. If you have a week to live, no amount of money is going to make you any happier.


This pretty much sums it up. If you look at the happiness formula, then life doesn't seem that complicated after all...


I wonder about that. There must be some universality to the formulas. The details are different of course, but for finances at least there is a formula. The rich will tell you there is no secret. What is the formula for spiritual development?
We've been having this discussion already here:


Adapting this to the UK, whats an IRA? Google yields predictable results, and I assume IR stands for Internal Revenue.


Asapting this to the UK, whats an IRA? Google yields predictable results, and I assume IR stands for Internal Revenue.


Why not write the book and spend a couple of paragraphs describing the rule detailed (or yr experiences leading to the conclusion detailed?


Maybe you could still write it and have it pdf download. :)

I'll like a copy.


Sounds very much like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs... which if I'm correct was written VERY many years previous this.


Scott, if you go with the wiki idea, try using TiddlyWiki, which is better suited to lots of small topics. This seems to fit well with the development of your formulas.


Scott !! JUST WRITE THE BOOKLET, and publish as a PDF. This could be another one of your generous outward bound acts. It might even be more popular than Dilbert, on second thoughts that's unlikely, but what the heck, you'll increase your funneral guest list like crazy. But take a page out of George Burn's book, "Gotta live to be 100, I'm booked!"



On the same line of thought my favourite formula is still:


Any basic math knowledge is sufficient to recorgnize that there are two ways to improve happiness: either ry to change the reality or change your expectations. What do think will be easier ?

Chris Hehman

Please add my voice to the chorus encouraging you to make this "book".

I agree with those that it should be a web site. But if the power of this idea is in its brevity, I don't see how a Wiki is the right answer. Why not just a simple ad-supported static set of pages?


My only problem with this is that the first three priorities in your happiness formula are uncontrollable. It's very difficult to control health to any extent, as well as wealth and even social life. Meaning is the only thing that can be controlled. The first three have to do with luck and success, not with a formula for happiness.

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