Two boats, three fast cars and one home

In a white-collar crime case in Philadelphia involving some Blue Cross executives, the prosecutor accused the perpetrators of “living the high life,” which meant “taking luxury vacations; buying fast cars, boats and real estate.”

These are the things lottery winners often say they are going to buy, as well. The conclusion is that these things will bring happiness, why then commit a crime to get them or slap down a dollar every week on the miserable odds of trying to win the lottery?

So why, according to the World Values Survey by the UK’s Scientist Magazine, does Nigeria have the highest percentage of happy people followed by Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador and Puerto Rico – all poor countries? The same study shows that happiness levels have remained virtually the same in industrialized countries since World War II, although incomes have risen considerably.

The researchers say that the “paths to happiness” are:

  • Genetic propensity to happiness

  • Marriage

  • Make friends and value them

  • Desire less

  • Do someone a good turn

  • Have faith (religious or not)

  • Stop comparing your looks with others

  • Earn more money

  • Grow old gracefully

  • Don’t worry if you’re not a genius

    Got any Nat King Cole?

    We got nostalgic when we heard that Homestore was reviving the RENTNET brand. Started by a couple of B-school grads from U.C. Berkeley, the old RentNet was one of the first viable online start-ups. It began before crazy IPOs, stupid business models and sky-high company valuations. Cendant bought it for $3 million; just one year later and the founders could have fetched $30 million or more. Oh well, the business wasn’t started just to make money, it was started to change the world. –Bradley Inman

    King of Microsoft builds ‘Gatesville’

    Most people are satisfied enough with the headaches of one home. Some people are really adventurous and maintain two. And then there’s Bill Gates, who apparently is securing his own little kingdom in Medina, Wash. Mr. Microsoft has purchased 11 homes surrounding his estate over the last decade in an effort to protect his family’s privacy.

    Now Bill, if you can create a 4.2-acre buffer zone around your home, why can’t you create a similar cushion between our Outlook inboxes and the hundreds of Viagra ads we receive a day? We want privacy too–or at least the right to not be solicited as we work behind your multi-billion-dollar-producing operating systems. We’ll even pay extra for it. –Jessica Swesey

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