He didn’t have change to tip the courier who brought a message to his Tokyo hotel room.
So Albert Einstein wrote him a brief note on hotel stationery, telling him it might be of some value later.
The 1922 message has been called Einstein’s “Theory of Happiness”, and yesterday sold at a Jerusalem auction for a reported $1.5 million.
Translated from the original German text, it reads…
“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.”
The bidding war quickly escalated, by phone and online, for an item having a pre-auction estimate of $5000 to $8000. The European buyer chose to remain anonymous.
There is no mention of how this Japanese bellboy’s treasure got into the hands of the seller, a Hamburg resident who also remained anonymous.
Note: There was a second handwritten note penned by the Nobel Prize winning theoretical physicist which read “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. It is not getting the same attention, nor the same value, as the happiness quote.
I know little about Einstein, but it seems from this, he must also have been wise as well as smart. Interesting story, Van.
He left a lot of his writings to the Hebrew University, which he founded in Jerusalem. This one was a surprise to the archivists who study his work…and yes, he was much more than E = mc 2. Wise and smart…good call, J.
I love this quote! And yes oh how true it is. I’m just now slowing down getting off the rat wheel and in so doing life once again has returned sweeter then ever. Goosebumps on the price that this quote brought. Thank you, Van!! 💕👏💕
It was nice to see another side of this scientific mind. One of the translations used the word “restlessness” at the end…that one opened up a lot of possibilities for me. Maybe meat for another post ? Thanks, Amy
Bread crumbs to follow …. I know the feeling …. 🙂
Interesting that the one quote is so much more valuable.
Maybe the will/way quote had been used so often ? For me, it was sweet to see him address the idea of a simple life, one which his could not have been, B. Thanks.
A valuable tip indeed! Thanks for sharing, Van.
Best tip, ever. Most welcome, Tonya.
I love the quote, a precious gift in so many ways 🙂
He knew it would be valuable, some day.
Definitely, I bet he didn’t realise quite how much! 🙂
Wow what a cool story!
I thought so too, Lynn.
I love this story!
He had insight beyond science, Elyse.
I love the quote and wonder what happened to the bellboy..:)
Me too. I read one report that said the seller in Germany was a relative of his ??? Not verified, but interesting, George.
Thank you for sharing this amazing story behind the paper! Amazing!
I enjoyed seeing his handwriting too, Erika. Wonder why it took so long to uncover this one ?
Right! A precious legacy!
This story hits me on several levels. First of all, I’m struck by the fact that Einstein was prescient enough to know that his fame would make that napkin worth so very, very much.
Then, I have to admit that I think, “Huh. Arrogant, much?” I know those words are uncharitable of me, and certainly more revealing of my personality than his, but there you are.
THEN, the words themselves. “A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.” I try to live by those words, and I sure do wish that others tried to, too.
Because, clearly many others are not and they are scrambling to outdo, outbid, and to claim ownership of a scrap of decades old paper with a message that urges them to stop scrambling, to stop trying to outdo.
He was already pretty famous in 1922, the message was said to notify him of his Nobel Prize while he was on a lecture tour in Japan. So, I guess he knew.
I get the irony in the mad bidding for his note, and maybe in the contrast to the 2nd note that professed “where there’s a will…” ? It seems to point to that pursuit of success. Thanks, Maggie.
This compels me to read up on Einstein. I’m sure there are more than a few biographies out there. Thanks, Van.
I’m amazed at how much someone spent for this bit of wisdom. I agree with the sentiment, whole-heartedly, but I don’t see how anyone could spend that kind of money for it. Perhaps I’m just too quiet and modest…
It doesn’t make much sense, but I guess I’ve never been caught up in the enthusiasm of an auction, especially where celebrity is involved.
Me neither. But to each his or her own… overpriced piece of paper. 🙄
This quote is a win/win on the value market.
It makes you wonder if any of his original scientific writings were offered up for auction ? This, a bit outside of his field.
I think I love that it wasn’t scientific. And made him seem more “like us”. 🙂
I miss our elders, they went through hard times, remembered what it did to their family and never wanted to live like that again if possible. My vote for President every election is Rosevelt. He took a country starving and no money and created jobs, one of which my gramps worked on after leaving the military. It’s a absolute shame these great people are relegated to school books or the one of story. My grandparents were always thankful to him. As my gramps said, not in the exact words, he had balls!!!!!! That or a Vagina with a head full of ideas on how the government will work together and not bend over overtime someone gets feelings hurt.
My 2 cents.
I have the same reverence and respect for that generation, M. They strengthened our families, our world. Thanks.
Love the quote l, Van! You find interesting bits of info to share with us!! Thanks! 🍂🍁 Christine
In spite of all the negatives in the news, I like to find some interesting stuff…it’s always out there, Christine. Thanks.
Einstein was such an amazing wit. The more I read about him, Van, the more he intrigues me. This is a great story… what a premonition. 🙂
I agree, he was a bigger than life kind of character. Thanks, D.
oh this quote info is so true and fascinating story – and wow – that sold for a lot of moola
Much, much moola !
That’s a $B tip Van.
Just might be, DK. Thanks.
I truly believed when I was much younger my passion in life would make me famous one day. Living and experiencing life, I quickly learned anonymity produced greater peace and self awareness resulting in great personal joy and happiness. I never had to worry about an enlarging cranium (“developing a BIG head.”) Ego was easy kept intact. I learned to measure success not on personal accomplishments, but on accomplishments I helped other’s achieve.
After reading your post and learning about Einstein’s message, it’s nice to know my vision in life was shared by such an amazing individual.
Glad to hear that, Doc. For myself, that restlessness was sort of vague. I didn’t strive for fame or wealth, I just always wanted to know what I was truly meant to do in life. In many ways, it’s still that “I wonder what I’ll be when I grow up” thing, that lasts a lifetime. Thanks for sharing.
Reading this post reminded me of what my father always said about Einstein (whom he said he knew, since he was one of my father’s nuclear engineering Ph.D. advisors) – and BOY do I wish he’d saved and passed along a few of those notes he undoubtedly received during that time!
My father’s Top Secret security clearance precluded sharing much about his work, but he did say, more than once, “Einstein could explain the most complex matters in such simple language that anyone with just a bit of the proper background could understand them.” When acknowledged for this talent, according to my father, Einstein always said that he felt that if someone couldn’t explain something simply they simply didn’t understand it well enough themselves.
That did NOT mean “dumbing down,” either in concept or language, however. There is a way to introduce unfamiliar terms so that their meaning becomes clear. Apparently Einstein was a master at that as well, along with possessing many other talents in other arenas, far beyond the level of competency.
Only savants are uni-faceted in their brilliance – and even they have more to them than meets the eye.
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
“It takes a village to educate a world!”
I bet you do wish you had some of those documents from your dad’s files, M. How cool is that ? What you say just proves that Einstein was a genuine teacher. I’ve known so many folks who are experts in their field, yet could not explain anything on a level that made sense to the average listener. Thanks for sharing this.
My pleasure, Van. I’ll bet my Dad wished he had some of them when he was alive too. He would have been a rich man and I’d be an heiress – lol.
Brilliant. Whenever I happen upon an Einstein quote, I nod my head in agreement.
So true, one of the great minds of all time. Thanks, Julie.
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Wow to that note, and reading through the comments, I was so interested in reading Madelyn’s reply too.. He had a brilliant mind and such a deep knowledge..
Thank you for sharing this Van..
Have a lovely weekend.. sending you Hugs xx ❤
My pleasure. Thanks for reading so much here today, Sue. I appreciate you. Have a great weekend yourself. Hugs back to you.
This is very interesting, Van. Thank you for excellent weekend share.
My pleasure, E.
LOVED this! 🙂 xx
Glad to hear it, Deb.
Love the quote. and…what a tip! “Big tipper” comes to mind!
For sure !