CNN: Ten big ideas from TED

Richard Galant and John D. Sutter from CNN are here with me in the press room at TED. They've been filing dispatches of the presentations and other events here and they are terrific. (Above, a video by CNN's Jarrett Bellini).


Psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman says millions of dollars won't buy you happiness, but a job that pays $60,000 a year might help. Happiness levels increase up to the $60K mark, but "above that it's a flat line," he said.

"Money does not buy you experiential happiness but lack of money certainly buys you misery," he said. But the real trick, Kahneman said, is to spend time with people you like.

CNN: Ten big ideas from TED


  1. If more money doesn’t make you happier, you’re doing it wrong. More money could mean being able to fly out and spend a weekend with friends all over the country, with only worrying about schedules and not cost. It would mean never worrying about severe health care expenses for you or your kids, or if you have enough money, never having to worry about it for your extended family, friends, and their kids. It would mean being able to be a patron of the arts, buy everything you can at the little mom&pop store on the corner, save the local library or npr station, help your favorite webcomic author give up their day job. You could find a piece of the world that you liked and be free to defend it as much as you wanted.

    And it doesn’t stop there. If you had as much money as Bill Gates, you could single-handedly try to fix education inequalities, solve major world issues.

    I think the losers who don’t know what to do with 100k or 200k are just going out and buying shinier cars or little houses in more expensive parts of the city.

  2. I thought the happiness line was $350,000 per year.

    Honestly, happiness is comparative. If you are hanging out with CEO’s who pull in $5 million + per year and your take home is $60,000, you probably won’t be happy.

    1. If the happiness line was 350,000, then practically no-one in New Zealand would be happy. I’d trust Kahneman on knowing his numbers.

      In what situation would someone earning 60,000 be hanging out with CEOs earning 5million? And why would that person not be happy because someone they knew had more money than them?

  3. Regardless as to whether more money equates to happiness, one thing is for certain: people who make more money than you are better than you.

  4. Wasn’t it David Lee Roth who said, ‘Money can’t buy you happiness, but it does allow you to park your yacht right alongside it’?

  5. I have noticed in the corporate world that people making above $50k a year generally work more hours than people who make less. Much of the time, the amount of extra hours worked is in proportion to their income. I’ve seen alot of people making $100k year that work 60 hours a week and have to do everything at the whim of their employer. Doesn’t seem worth it to me.

  6. In Christopher Lydon’s interview with Ralph Nader, Nader recounts someone who only had 20m saying, of someone who had more, “Yes, but I have something that he doesn’t have: Enough.”

  7. @ Anonymous #1:

    Nice construct but now use the same brains that you put in it and deconstruct it. It’s very easy really. Then be happy.

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