The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway

21 June 2019

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The Algebra of Happiness is such a fun bluntly honest read.

Have you read a fun nonfiction book? There are plenty of interesting, informative, and fun nonfiction books but none that are as fun as The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway. I want to thank Portfolio Penguin for sending me a copy of this fun book for an honest review.

Galloway is best known for The Four and if you’ve read that then you’ll want to know that The Algebra of Happiness is a different kind of book. It’s like Galloway took notes from his journal, including all the blunt honesty and humor that WILL make you laugh out loud and sometimes CRINGE while reading it.

You don’t have to take everything seriously because it is Galloway’s personal observations. He mentions this right up front and says take it or leave it. The topics delve deep into love, wealth, health, and death, basically all aspects of what we call life. So there’s something here for everyone.

The Algebra of Happiness – SUCCESS

the algebra of happiness success

Galloway is a professor of business and has had decades of experience running failed and successful businesses. So it’s great to see his personal thoughts on the subject of success. After all, each person’s definition of success is different.

 

Here’s a list of some of my favorite takeaways from the SUCCESS section of the book:

 

Struggle porn is a myth that tells you that in order to become successful you must be miserable before you can be successful. In fact, you can experience a lot of reward on the way to success. Basically, don’t be miserable, and if you are, do something about it.

 

-The world is not yours for the taking, but for the trying.

 

-The world doesn’t belong to the big, but to the fast. You want to cover more ground in less time than your peers.

 

-Spend more time sweating than others do.

 

-Opportunity is a function of density. Get to a place that’s crowded with success.

 

Money can buy happiness up to a certain point. Once you get up to that certain point (security) more money won’t matter.

 

Invest in the things that give you satisfaction and joy.

 

-The definition of rich is having passive income twice the amount greater than your money going out.

 

-Invest in experiences over things.

 

Resilience/Failure = Success

 

The Algebra of Happiness – Business

the algebra of happiness business

Stay Thirsty. Talent is key, but it will only gain you entrance to a crowded VIP room.

 

-Don’t follow your passion blindly or at all depending on the passion. You should do something that people will pay you to do, something that doesn’t suck, and something you’re good at. By having all three of these things you will become passionate.

 

Boring is sexy. Invest in something that is proven to be sustainable.

 

-Always get the easy stuff right. Show up on time, have good manners and follow up with people.

 

-You are (probably) not Mark Zuckerberg

 

-Look for a product that doesn’t require you to get out a spoon and publicly eat shit over and over.

 

-Nothing wonderful will happen without taking a risk and subjecting yourself to rejection.

 

-Train yourself to take calculated risks every day.

 

The Algebra of Happiness – LOVE

the algebra of happiness love

Galloway has been married and has had kids for a long time. The way he describes love is honest and touching and I believe some of these insights can help you to grow in your relationship with your spouse and children.
-The most important decision you’ll ever make is not where you’ll work or who your friends are, but who you choose to partner and have kids with for the rest of your life. People who have a real partner in every way are the happiest for the rest of their lives.
Three Aspects of Marriage: Passion, Values, and Money
Good sex is 10% of a relationship, but bad sex is 90% of a relationship.
-Masculinity means relevance, good citizenship, and being a loving husband and father.
-Provide as much comfort for someone you love at the end of their life.
-Happiness = Family
-Becoming a parent gives you the motivation to become better. Overall it matters more about the love you give than the money.
-Love and relationships are the ends to everything. Everything else is just the means.
-Love received is comforting, love reciprocated is rewarding, and love given is completely eternal.
-Married couples typically have 3x the assets as a single person.
-Love someone who loves you unconditionally.
-Don’t keep score over the small or big things. You should be working as one entity. Be as generous as you can to your spouse even if unasked for.
-Do something every day because you love your spouse deeply.
-Express affection and desires as much as possible.
People who don’t feel desired anymore are more likely to feel insecure and like themselves less around you. This is cancer and can turn into contempt.
Love is the willingness to take the life you already have and tear it up for the other person.

The Algebra of Happiness – KIDS

the algebra of happiness kids

Keep your kids close and makes small investments every day to build up your relationships with your kids. Think about when you die, who do you want to be around you supporting you with your last breathe. You want your kids there don’t you? Treat them nicely now and they will be there when you go.

 

You never know true love until you have kids. Do what’s best for them even if it’s doing something you hate because those things now are just inconveniences in the presence of the people you love.

 

The Algebra of Happiness – HEALTH

Have you tried writing your thoughts down in a journal? Writing is one of the healthiest forms of self-therapy as you can get all the shit rattling around in your head down on paper and reflect on it.

 

Another takeaway mentions drinking less alcohol. Alcohol may be fun but you’ll notice once you cut back or stop completely your life becomes much brighter. Most of the time drinking will just get in the way of your health and success.

 

Don’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff. Life has a way of working itself out. You have to realize that a bunch of unplanned shit will be tossed your way but in the end, you will always find a way through that shit.

 

And lastly, show gratitude. Don’t be an asshole because again, in the end, that won’t get you anything good. People will either hate you or want to be you depending on your status. Regardless, being an asshole is not the best way to go. Be as humble as you can because people will remember you well for your humbleness.

 

After finishing The Algebra of Happiness

After reviewing my notes and writing this review of The Algebra of Happiness I realize there are so many takeaways about life to be had from this book. I’m grateful to have read it and was unexpectedly touched by Galloway’s attention to love and death, life and the future. Even though he sometimes comes across as a blunt, angry, and arrogant professor he seems to have a soft side.

 

I got a lot from this book that I wasn’t actually searching for in the first place and that’s what made me love reading it. If you want to experience a similar feeling buy and read this book.

 

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Book Recommendations

Ikigai by Ken Mogi (Find purpose)

Atomic Habits by James Clear (Build strong habits)

Habis Nikah, Ngapain? – After Married, What Next? by Daniel Arsenault (Love)

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards (Parenting)

 

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