Epicurus, born in 341 BC, was the first philosopher to examine what makes us happy, rather than what makes us good. After a lifetime of study, he came up with these three takeaways. Thanks to Alain de Botton's wonderful School of Life.
  1. Our friends bring us joy, but we don’t see them nearly enough. Once in a while doesn't cut it.
    To solve this, Epicurus bought a large house in the country and invited his friends to come live with him. Everyone had their own room, but there were also plenty of common areas. It was like a dorm filled only with besties.
  2. What makes work satisfying is not the money we make, but whether we feel we’re contributing to something meaningful.
    Epicurus and his friends gave up high-paying jobs working for other people and started doing their own things: farming, cooking, pottery -- wherever they could best contribute.
  3. We strive to own the nicest, most expensive things because we think they’ll make us calm (secure), but they won't.
    Instead, Epicurus found you could achieve this level of calm by spending time alone, thinking, reading, writing, and meditating. Mmmm.
  4. P.s. Epicurean communes spread like wildfire across the Mediterranean, with a whopping 400,000 people living in them at their height. They were only stopped by the Christian church in the 5th century, when they were converted into monasteries.
  5. Fun fact: Karl Marx did his Ph.D thesis on Epicurus! His little theory of Communism is the political, fucked up version of Epicureanism. Whoah!