How to Buy Happiness (Pt 1)


Booking under: Keith

Two weeks ago, I decided to test-drive some advice on money and happiness. In addition to doing things like boosting energy and having fun with friends, sometimes we can inject a bit of excitement and happiness into our lives by spending some money and buying ourselves something of value. Here’s how things went for me:



The three latest additions to my personal library.

Previously, I shared about one of my hobbies – reading philosophy books. Given my goals for this month, I decided now is the perfect time to indulge in a little splurge to expand my collection.

For those who don’t know, my favorite philosopher is David Hume. I’ve been reading his works since my undergraduate years, starting with 1748’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. I’ve since expanded my collection of Hume’s works with An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751) and Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), in addition to a variety of secondary literature on his thought. Now that I have an excuse to indulge myself, I decided to pick up Hume’s first (and most famous) book, A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-1740), as well as two secondary sources: Hume: a Very Short Introduction and The Bloomsbury Companion to Hume.

It was wonderful to hold some new books in my hands again, especially because it has been so long since I’ve bought any books. Remembering Gretchen’s advice that we need to make changes in our daily living to accommodate our new purchases, I’ve been reading on a near-daily basis. Within a week, I’ve completed the Very Short Introduction to Hume (which was not as well written as I would have expected, but still a worthwhile introduction for those who are interested) and have moved on to the much thicker and technical Companion. Spending roughly forty five minutes a day reading before bed has been delightful and also a great way to unwind after work. The experience has provided me with some interesting food for thought, particularly on how we are creatures of sentiment whose reasoning is much more limited than we would like to admit (I know that’s true for me!). Here’s to keeping up with this habit.



Spend out in terms of ideas. Think outside of the the box.

By way of a reminder, spending out refers to using our resources (not just money) when needed and not to hoard things “for the future”. Like I mentioned last time, I have continued to “spend out” by proposing ideas for thought leadership/blog pieces and writing ahead to cover what I take to be useful and timely articles. This has been a lot of fun for me and I was glad to hear the positive feedback from colleagues.

Another way I have been reminded to spend out is to not hold on to gift ideas but to share them ASAP. There was a gift idea I had for Nicole that took a while to secure, and I have been debating when to share it with her. With this month’s lessons in mind, I will share it with her when I next see her instead of waiting for a special occasion. Mind you, it’s not an earth-shattering present at all. But I am quite sure she will appreciate it. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a gift every now and then? I’m as excited as you to see how this turns out!


Our theme for last month was “celebrating friendsgiving”, and it’s been great to carry this onto this month and having a dinner with friends who are back in town. From short, individual meet ups to bigger group dinners, it’s been wonderful to be able to reminisce about the good ol’ days and share a few laughs. Another commitment was to be generous with helping others, and although I was not specifically approached to help with editing as I was before, I’m still on the look out for ways I can contribute and help others. The final goal from June was to help my new colleagues settle in easier. I’m happy that we were able to partner together in some casual table tennis games, and look forward to meeting some new colleagues who will be joining us soon!


to-do list

This was, altogether, a successful month. I’m happy to see that money is conducive to happiness – it’s just a matter of how we use it and whether we choose to only focus on ourselves or on others too. Check back with us next week for Nicole’s goals and how she’s been doing. And of course, feel free to let us know your thoughts too!


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