When Will You Have Enough?

by Jason Unger

Enough

The other day, I saw a short description of the latest book by John Bogle, founder of Vanguard and inventor of the first index fund, that struck me.

The book’s title, Enough, comes from a conversation had by two of America’s most famous authors, Joseph Heller (of Catch-22 fame) and Kurt Vonnegut (who wrote Slaughterhouse-Five).

In the introduction to the book, Bogle describes it simply and brilliantly, so it’s printed here (courtesy of his website):

At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch 22 over its whole history. Heller responds, “Yes, but I have something he will never have . . . Enough.”

Think about that for a second.

It’s heavy, right?

A billionaire has the means to obtain everything he could ever want in the world. Millions of people would kill to have that opportunity. But that’s not the point.

Life is not about getting more and more. It’s not about the quest for stuff. It’s about being happy. And having enough.

This is a powerful way to think about your purpose in life, and why you do the things you do. Do you live for more or do you live for enough? And if you live for more, when will you have enough?

About the author: Jason is the author of Automatic Finances: 17 Days to Your Financial Freedom, a guide to automated money management. He started investing thanks to a free lunch, and after finding out how he was getting the short end of the stick, he sought out how to do it right. More ยป

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

wrc January 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm

One of the best posts ever . . . .

Thanks

Ken January 17, 2010 at 9:13 am

intersting question! I say I live for enough but I have excess of many things…so my behavior doesn’t match what I say in all situations. Good point.

Kris @ Debt-Tips February 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm

That’s a question I ask myself every day. Although I know the answer is like a dog chasing its tail. If only I really did have enough…

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