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What it takes to feel like a million bucks

July 09, 2006

Re "Happy? Let's Sum It Up," Column One, July 3

Happiness economics is apparently a legitimate field populated by behavioral scientists as well as those who would write for Forbes magazine. That people in Cuba come in second in happiness to those in our country attests to the fact that happiness unfolds from something other than palatial estates, Humvees, Rolls-Royces and designer everything.

As a psychotherapist, I hear people wanting community more than anything in their lives. And that's what I want more of as well. I hear single people wanting a dating partner who will call back, show up and take a risk. I hear adolescents wanting more fun time with dad or mom.

People definitely talk about their lack of money, but not as the chief barrier to happiness.

DARCY CARROLL

Los Angeles

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If most modern economists and the populations they sample really believe that maxed-out personal monetary wealth can leave you feeling like a million bucks, they ought to step back from the trough long enough to revisit John Steinbeck, who wrote: "Money's easy to make if it's money you want. But with few exceptions people don't want money. They want luxury and they want love and they want admiration."

KEITH HAMM

Echo Park

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