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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 4, 2007 / 24 Kislev 5768

Pursuing success is not enough

By Paul Johnson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When I was just beginning adult life — during my first term at Oxford — I was struck by an autobiographical reminiscence of the writer W. Somerset Maugham. He wrote, as I recall: "When I was 18, I desperately wanted to be rich, successful and famous. Now I am all three, but I am not sure I am any happier."


The comment made Maugham seem bitter, suspicious and uneasy. When, years later, I got to know Maugham, I realized why he had made this remark. He was locked in litigation with his family, who were after his money. I felt sorry for him.


When I look at The Forbes 400, the billionaire and the celebrity rich lists, I wonder how many of the people on them are actually happy. And what about fame and success? I remember what Noel Coward once said to me regarding fame: "It's a very fragile thing, old boy. Rather like carrying a Ming vase in a storm of wind. It can be snatched out of your hand any moment. Then you miss it."


As for success, here's what Lord Beaverbrook, the greatest media magnate of his day, had to say on the subject: "Aw, Mr. Johnson, success is much less important than health. You can be the richest man in the world, and the most successful man alive, but if you lose your good health you will be a very unhappy man."


It is well to bear in mind these warnings. Not that anyone will be deterred. Ambitious men and women will continue to pursue wealth, fame and success until the end of time. And if they didn't do so, the world would be not only a much poorer place but a far less interesting one.


Guidelines


The question to be asked, then, is this: How can the quest for wealth, fame and success be combined with the pursuit of happiness? I'm not sure there's a foolproof answer. But there are some useful guides. Here are four of the most important.


Try to combine the pursuit of wealth with creativity. Clever manipulation of bits of paper and values may make you a billionaire, but creating a successful business, expressed in solid objects (factories, offices, docks and facilities, things of bricks and mortar and concrete) or in real estate (in lands and plantations) is more conducive to happiness. To make something — something real, visible, fruitful and productive — where once there was nothing is a fine expression of one of the deepest and healthiest human instincts.


A successful man is likely to find happiness in producing something useful or delightful or beautiful. I've found this to be true myself in producing books — more than 40 at last count — some more than 1,000 pages and some with superb illustrations. My accolades I share with my publishers and printers.


It must be a grand thing, and a deep source of happiness, to produce an entirely new, desirable, handy and cheap everyday object that hundreds of millions welcome and enjoy — for instance, a revolutionary corkscrew or a safety razor, a compact or a handbag. I remember as a child hearing the shouts of delight with which the grown-up female members of my family greeted the first nylons. What a triumph to have produced those!


Create happiness and satisfaction by creating jobs. And not just paid occupations — all governments do that, often by the million — but genuine jobs that justify themselves, have a real purpose and longevity. The great 12th-century Jewish sage Maimonides wrote that charity is a blessing, and we must all exercise it if we can. But the finest form of charity is to enable a poor man to support himself with honor and usefulness.


A businessman who can create useful, well-paid and secure jobs is doubly blessed, by the individual he makes self-supporting and by the society he renders more secure. He helps himself, too, for, as Maimonides says, there is joy in lifting people out of want, not by alms but on a permanent basis.


Job creation leads me to the fourth source of happiness that the right kind of success brings. It should have a moral basis. If possible, it should be consistent with the needs of our fellow men and women in the broadest sense, not just their material needs but their emotional and spiritual needs.


A tall order, you say? Yes, it is a tall order. But then, the pursuit of happiness is a very ambitious undertaking — utopian, almost — and one that requires the highest kind of standard in the methods used to attain it.


How, in general, can the pursuit of success be made consistent with the needs, in the broadest sense, of other people? Only if it conforms to a set of moral principles. I'm not saying that a businessman should primarily pursue moral aims. That would be asking too much, and I suspect it wouldn't work. What he ought to do, however, is to ensure that his business, his methods and his products or services are not incompatible with morality. He or she should always be careful when devising a business strategy or entering a new product field to study the moral implications with at least as much attention as is paid to the legal and regulatory implications.


Of course, it is desirable, to my mind, that all business activities be rooted in Judeo-Christian teaching, both theoretical and practical, or conform to a morally defensible framework of principles. We should not pursue wealth, fame and success for their own sake. If we want a chance at happiness as well, our vision must be placed much higher.

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Previously:

11/07/07: Are famous writers accident-prone?
10/31/07: Courage needed to disarm Iran
09/20/07: Who Will Say ‘I Promise to Lay Off’?
07/24/07: Greed is safer than power-seeking
04/02/07: Benefactors must be hardheaded
03/07/07: American idealism and realpolitik
11/28/06: Space: Our ticket to survival
10/24/06: Envy is bad economics
10/11/06: Better to Borrow or Lend? Rethinking conventional wisdom
08/22/06: Don't practice legal terrorism
08/08/06: A summer rhapsody for a pedal-bike
08/03/06: Why is there no workable philosophy of music?
07/11/06: Historically speaking, energy crisis is America's opportunity
07/06/06: The misleading dimensions of persons and lives
06/06/06: First editions are not gold
05/23/06: A downright ugly man need never despair of attracting women, even pretty ones
04/25/06: Was Washington right about political parties?
04/12/06: Let's Have More Babies!
04/05/06: For the love of trains
03/29/06: Lincoln and the Compensation Culture
03/22/06: Bottle-beauties and the globalised blond beast
03/15/06: Europe's utopian hangover
03/08/06: Kindly write on only one side of the paper
02/28/06: Creators versus critics
02/21/06: The Rhino Principle

© 2006, Paul Johnson

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