Leave The Change: Money, Generosity, and Happiness At Work

by Scott Crabtree

“Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.” – David Lee Roth

While that’s a funny quote, it’s not terribly accurate according to the science of happiness. Long story short, money helps many individuals, families, and countries to be happier, but it typically doesn’t make nearly as much difference as most of us imagine. People who are extremely poor get much happier when they can suddenly afford basic needs. For the rest of us more money only makes a slight difference. As leading happiness researcher Ed Deiner writes, being materialistic and focusing on money is likely a good way to be unhappy.

But studies suggest money can buy us happiness, if we spend it correctly. One of the best ways to be happier is to give money away. For a video explaining more, check out TEDx talk:

I encourage you to try one or more of these ideas at work and see how you feel:

* Buy something from a vending machine, and leave the change.

* Buy a friend at work lunch.

* Donate to a charity through work, and get your company to match the donation if possible.

* Get a thank-you gift for a coworker who deserves your gratitude.

However you try being generous at work, I’d love to hear how it makes you feel.


Scott Crabtree

As the Founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happy Brain Science, Scott Crabtree empowers individuals and organizations to apply findings from cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology to boost productivity and happiness at work.

3 thoughts on “Leave The Change: Money, Generosity, and Happiness At Work

  1. Hello Scott,

    I was just reading your blog post and wanted to send you a high five on it and share something I’m excited about.

    We just launched a new app called Niko Niko – its an iPhone app that helps you track your mood and find out what makes you happy so you can do more of it.

    I’d love to have you give it a try and let me know what you think: http://nikoniko.co

    Our goal is to help you be mindful of your mood by logging it through Niko Niko and learn more about what you’re doing and how it impacts your mood.

    The business we’re building is around team dynamics and how people’s moods impact team performance and culture.

    We’ll be releasing a version soon that has analytics for team leaders around the happiness of their team.

    We’d love your input as someone who cares about this. We’re building out the product now and would love your input. If you think we’re on to something, and want to talk to our founder or write a blog post about it, we’d love to chat.

    Hope you like it and thanks for taking the time to check out Niko Niko!


    Mary Ann Querijero
    Niko Niko – Track how you feel. Be happier.

  2. I was recently very surprised how grateful a colleague was when I offered to buy his lunch because he was traveling and only had hundred dollar bills. He didn’t take me up on it but it was amazing what a difference the offer made.
    Thanks for the great blog!

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