Scott Galloway (@profgalloway) cohosts Pivot with Kara Swisher, publishes the No Mercy/No Malice newsletter, is a professor at NYU Stern School of Business, and is the author of The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning.

What We Discuss with Scott Galloway:

  • How American priorities have shifted from a society that creates millions of millionaires to one that idolizes individuals worth the GDP of Norway.
  • Why the opportunities Scott and earlier generations enjoyed are no longer available to the majority of the population today.
  • How Scott can predict if a young person will be successful by the time he or she is 30 (and what you can do to give yourself an edge if you’re not on the path).
  • Why striving for work/life balance and following your passion aren’t ideal strategies if you aspire toward great wealth.
  • The good news: why you don’t have to have great wealth in order to live a rich and happy life.
  • And much more…

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The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning by Scott GallowayWhat’s the formula for a life well lived? How can you have a meaningful career, not just a lucrative one? Is work/life balance possible? What are the elements of a successful relationship? Why is following your passion bad advice (unless you’re already rich)?

The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning author Scott Galloway joins us to answer these questions and more in this episode. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

Please Scroll down for Full Show Notes and Featured Resources!

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More About This Show

The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning author Scott Galloway harbors no illusions about how lucky he is that the world was a certain way when he — a talented, but unremarkable and undisciplined young man — needed the college education that would keep him from living out his days as an unskilled laborer.

“I was faced with two choices: I was either going to find a way into UCLA after being rejected, or I was going to be installing shelving,” says Scott. “I decided to write a letter, and the truth has a nice ring to it. I said, ‘I’m the son of a single mother who’s a secretary, and if you don’t let me in, I’m going to be installing shelving the rest of my life.’ They called me in in what was probably the seminal moment in my life. They said, ‘You’re a native son of California, and you’re our son, and we’re going to let you in. You need to be enrolled in seven days.'”

Nowadays, this tactic would never fly. Colleges have shifted from a self-perception of serving the public good to a luxury commodity only affordable to a select few. Scott says that exceptional kids from any income bracket in the United States will always find their way into the country’s top schools, but there’s no longer room for the average and the underachieving who make up the majority of the population.

Scott went on to become what most would consider to be a high-achiever, but if UCLA hadn’t given him a second chance during his slacker years, he’d probably be retired today on disability with a bad back.

“The thing that frightens me is the primary reasons I am successful are no longer here. I’m a talented person — I’m not a modest person. I put myself in the top one percent…I have a lifestyle, income, opportunities, healthcare, opportunities to impact others in a positive way that is well ahead of the top 75 million people, and it’s because of two reasons: one, being born in America, and two, an education system that loved the unremarkables.

“What we’ve decided in the ’70s and ’80s and I would argue through most of the 20th century, America’s collective goal was to make millions of millionaires. There was a general feeling, even if you worked for General Motors or Procter and Gamble, if you were a good citizen, you played by the rules, and you saved some money, 401k, by the time you retired, you could be a millionaire. And we created millions of houses that were millionaires.

“And it feels like through tax policy, through education of only the best and brightest…we’ve decided collectively our new goal is to crown the first trillionaire. We’re obsessed and we have this idolatry of billionaires and innovators, and we’ve decided it’s okay and even great to have people worth the GDP of Norway, but at the same time, household income and wages haven’t budged in 30 years. I would argue that we’ve lost the script. We need billionaires, but our tax policy is, in my opinion, one giant transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy, and I think it’s very dangerous.”

Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about the two primary inputs Scott can use to predict whether or not a young person will be successful from a modern perspective by the time he or she is 30, what you can do to get a leg up even if you don’t have the benefit of these inputs, why most people’s idea of what it means to be in the one percent today is a lot more extravagant than the reality, the upsides of competition from an evolutionary standpoint that don’t serve us in a world where everyone’s “howling in the money storm,” and much more.

THANKS, SCOTT GALLOWAY!

If you enjoyed this session with Scott Galloway, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:

Click here to thank Scott Galloway at Twitter!

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