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The “Happiness” issue of Harvard Business Review (Jan-Feb 2012) is one of the most upbeat, innovative, inspiring, paradigm-altering magazine issues that I’ve read in ages.   And not just saying that because I’m in it!


To be completely and utterly candid, I did buy the issue in an airport magazine shop because I wanted to see the actual print version of my piece, “Dividing Attention Deliberately,” part of a series on “Skills Every 21st Century Manager Needs,”  where I talk about how some people are making “multitasking” into something ‘multi-inspiring.”  [I’ve 500 free downloads of this article available here: ]


The whole issue, “The Value of Happiness:  How Employee Well-Being Drives Profits,” is inspiring and paradigm-changing.  Instead of going article by article, here are some key quotes.  I urge you to pick up this issue and think about what it would mean to turn these ideas into reality, in your community, in your schools, in your place of work, in your leisure life, online and off.    Clayton Christensen (one of my favorite business thinkers) talks about how difficult it is to get institutions to change their own rules, and why it is important to have, within every institution, a “skunkworks” structure that tests the very premises of that institution.

Here are some choice quotes from the issue, beginning with the lead to an essay by Justin Fox, “, “The Economics of Well-Being”: 


“Money isn’t everything.  But for measuring national success, it has long been pretty much the only thing (other than, of course, sports).” –Justin Fox, “The Economics of Well-Being.” 



The following quotes all come from Christopher Meyer and Julia Kirby: “Runaway Capitalism”:


“When the wrong measures of success drive decisions, strengths can mutate into serious liabilities.”


“As industry after industry becomes concentrated to the point of oligopoly, fixating on preservation of competition loses its meaning.  It also leads to a failure to notice—and to cultivate and preserve—an equally rich source of innovation in our newly connected world:  collaboration.” 


“People tend to cling to the rules they grew up with.” 


Industrial production introduced new rules into the agricultural economy—for the organization of work, for accounting, and so on—largely due to the high investment in plant and equipment needed to support mass production. . . . Information-based production is …different, because information is not scarce in the same sense that goods are.. . . For scarce assets in a market economy, prices are set, at least implicitly, in an auction among rivals.  But the next Wikipedia entry means more Wikipedia for everyone.” 


“The importance of emerging economies . . . turns out not to be that they are a source of lower-cost labor for global firms or even that they are exciting markets in which those firms can grow revenues.  It is that they will reveal what kind of economy is suitable for an information technology world.”



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Cathy N. Davidson

Cathy N. Davidson

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