A person's happiness can be broad, or deep, or both, or neither. Broadness measures how multifaceted a form of happiness is. Financial success often creates quite broad happiness: it delivers a vast array of desirable objects, situations, relationships, and experiences. But does financial success deliver the broadest happiness possible? To investigate that, we have to look deep. Depth measures how "non-obvious" a form of happiness is. It's obvious to anyone that getting the situations and sensations they want will (often) bring them happiness. But it's not at all obvious that there's a way to be happy independent of situations and sensations. And it's even less obvious that in its fully mature form, achieving happiness independent of situations and sensations empowers a person to more effectively take control of situations and sensations. Optimal happiness is both deep and broad. Warren's book will point you in the right direction.
Warren MacKenzie – Zen and the Art of Wealth. In Zen and the Art of Wealth, veteran financial planner Warren MacKenzie dishes up homespun wisdom about planning and investing during a weekend his character Alex spends with an old friend, Dave, who’s business is failing, plunging him into despair.
Mr. MacKenzie is among the more popular contributors to the Globe and Mail’s Financial Facelift because he encourages people to enjoy their lives rather than becoming slaves to their financial goals.
As the story unfolds, the two men – both in their early 60s with spouses and children - talk, cook, drink, sit by the fire and labour to lengthen the limestone fence encircling the Alex’s farm. Dave is torn by indecision whether to give up his business or mortgage his family’s home. Alex keeps asking questions, offering financial planning lessons at every opportunity.
But while Dave laments and Alex expounds about investing, Alex is digging for something deeper. He’s leading Dave in the direction of self-knowledge and of letting go of his troubles through the practice of Zen. The overall effect is calming and informative. Mr. MacKenzie is combining a lifetime of financial planning and investing experience with a possible road to happiness through Zen.
No doubt this book will appeal to the baby boom generation, many of whom have accumulated enough wealth to worry about and are familiar with the concepts of Zen Buddhism. Even without the philosophy, the investment and financial planning advice Mr. MacKenzie conveys in this little book – and the appendices at the end – is truly valuable.