Wisdom of Crowds
Wisdom of Crowds
The Rich and the Unhappy

The Rich and the Unhappy

If ambition, wealth and productivity do not necessarily fulfill us, then what can?

This week, our in-house philosopher and very own Editor-at-Large

returns to the podcast for a one-on-one discussion with about wealth, ambition and whether they are the paths toward happiness.

How do societal values, especially those in American culture, influence our sense of fulfillment? The guys probe why those who are perceived as the most successful — like tech entrepreneurs and posh weekend travelers — seem to be the least happy. This opens up questions about how those who face adversity find forms of happiness be it through a craft, a spiritual pursuit, or the broader expectations baked into their life circumstance. This deep and free-wheeling episode opens up rifts between Shadi and Sam’s perspectives on the utility of the happiness literature, the role economics and material success play, and what we sacrifice in the pursuit of what we think will ultimately bring us contentment.

In the full episode (for paying subscribers only), Shadi and Sam continue exploring the tension between ambition and spiritual fulfillment. They explore how societal values, rooted in seeing humans as economic entities, lead to existential despair. Shadi calls attention to how religious practices, like Ramadan, compel individuals to break from a regimen of relentless productivity and consumption. This episode is a real treat and we’re excited to share it with you.

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Required Reading:

  • Friendship as Sacred Knowing: Overcoming Isolation by Samuel Kimbriel (Amazon).

  • “Thinking Is Risky” by Samuel Kimbriel (Wisdom of Crowds).

  • What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael Sandel (Amazon).

  • The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition For Upbuilding And Awakening by Soren Kierkegaard (Amazon).

  • More about Aspen Institute’s Society and Philosophy Initiative.


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Wisdom of Crowds
Wisdom of Crowds
Agreement is nice. Disagreement is better.