Letter from the Editor
In the early days of developing the magazine you now hold in your hands, Victoria Ollers, our Associate Publisher, conducted an Elite Survey, having in-depth conversations with a diverse group of more than a hundred smart people in our target demographic. She reserved the question that is the title of our magazine for last and got remarkable responses. All were thoughtful and thought provoking; some of them are on page 14. To no surprise, we found that everyone is interested in being happy. And somehow it’s nicer still to know that people are also concerned with what makes others happy. Women’s shoes, or stuffed toys, or Rick Mercer will each put a smile on someone’s face, and if you’re not sure you are that particular someone, you may still be interested in reading about what’s important to the people around you. I have tried to collect articles ranging from serious to silly and from useful to nothing-but-fun. The fact that exercise is good for you is not exactly news, but perhaps some of the science that Celine Saroyan explains might be. Debra Forman goes head on into some reasons why you might not be happy at work, and suggests how you can change that. I’m still working out whether I believe that Rick Mercer is not a comedian, but I like his reasoning. Conrad Black, the Extension Chair, Christians and some irresistible penguins in the centrefold all provide insights into happiness from very different points of view. The biggest new information on happiness is our exclusive release of the Ipsos study. John Wright points out why this study is so different from others and gives some indications
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of what we can learn about human happiness from his nearly half million interviews. 6% of Hungarians, but 51% of Indonesians report being very happy: what do you make of that? So much to think about in this field, and more to come in the months and years ahead. If thinking makes you unhappy, please don’t look at this piece. On a very personal note, maybe I should say that happiness has been a life long informal study for me. I am not one of those lucky individuals who always has a rosy disposition and can take his own happiness for granted. I therefore value knowing something about what makes me, and you, happy. Like the people that we interviewed, I’ve learned that just thinking about happiness is a step in a happy direction. On that note, I once read that the greatest luxury is to work with the people you want to work with. My experience on this magazine bears that out so I can honestly say that I’ve been living in luxury for some months. Rebecca, Stéphanie, Dan, Ruth, Ginny, Dave, Tim, Scott, Bruce, Andy, Glenn, Pam, Rob, Erik and Sarah are part of the team that has made this premier issue possible. Megalexis did the proofreading. They were a pleasure to work with and I know that any errors you find are mine not theirs. Richard Waterhouse, our Art Director, deserves a special tribute and the best I can think of is to lift from Christopher Wren’s memorial and say “Reader, look around you” (at this magazine). As for Victoria Ollers, if I had been one of her interviewees, my answer to the question of what makes me happy would be not so much red Smarties or gin, as it would be working with her and our team. We hope that shows in these pages.
The Happy Magazine