A handwritten note by one of history's most famous scientists has just sold for a small fortune at auction.
That's not the type of collectible that many people chase after, but when you learn that the scientist was Albert Einstein, it makes more sense. Einstein was born in Germany but later moved to the United States. He became famous and successful for developing the theory of relativity, the mass-energy equivalence (E = mc2) and his work on the Manhattan Project to develop nuclear weapons.
But before he was successful and world famous, Einstein was just a physicist trying to make a name for himself. That's the situation he was in during a 1922 trip to Japan, when he learned that he had won the Nobel Prize in physics. The award changed Einstein's life, but not right away.
It turns out the then 43-year-old scientist didn't even have any money on him when a courier arrived at Tokyo's Imperial Hotel with a package for Einstein. Instead of a tip, Einstein gave the courier a handwritten note, and promised it "will probably be worth more than a regular tip" someday.
It turns out he was right, because Einstein's note explaining his "theory of happiness" just sold for $1.6 million...
The auction house won't reveal the notes buyer or seller, but did share what Einstein wrote for the courier.
In German, Einstein shared some advice about how to lead a happy life:
A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.
Wise words, and especially true in Einstein's case. Like many successful people, Einstein's career had a slow start. His parents were actually convinced the young genius was "slow," and Einstein was rejected by a prestigious high school because his marks were too low (except in math and science).
Even after graduating, Einstein had a hard time finding and holding down teaching jobs. Most of his success came later in life. As he wrote in another note sold in the same auction, "where there's a will, there's a way."
Bidding started at just $2,000 for the note, but went on for almost a half hour until the anonymous bidder won.
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