Innovation is Key to Happiness

Written by Holly Anderson on December 1st, 2009

I appreciated Mr. Koch’s book because it laid out the principles of successful businesses in terms that we can all understand.  He uses examples through history to support his theories of economic freedom within a coorporation.  I enjoyed how Koch defined the science of liberty that it is more than just arguing about politics or views, that it is physical, tangible, and important for us to grasp.  An aspect that I liked about this course is that it taught us how to critically pull apart everything that we rely on in society.  Once we think we are safe in our biases and assumptions, we realize that we are not.  Often it feels as though the media is trying to ‘brainwash’ us to believe in a particular view.  We might be caught up in the aspect of “working for the man” in a giant coorporation someday, with little creativity.  It can be difficult to seize the large picture of true evolution of democracies when we are so involved in the details of politics and work.  To use an example from Tropical Nature, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees.  One of Koch’s principles that I particularly enjoyed is creativity and innovation.  Innovation is the key to happiness, and when we are stagnant is when unhappiness can come into our lives.  Aristotle came upon this same thought when he said that happiness comes from human action.  I think that Postrel and Koch are absolutely right in that we have to find the dynamism that will lead to the creation of value in our personal lives as well as society as a whole.

To expound on how important Koch’s view of innovation is, I want to continue with Ben’s example of the crystal.  The amazing thing about crystals is not only how exquisite they are, but that there are millions of ways for a crystal to form.  Take a snowflake for example.  Water molecules are able to bond together into intricate lattices that have millions of patterns and beautiful designs.  No two snowflakes are exactly the same.  Yet each water molecule is exactly where it should be to support the snowflake structure.  This has several implications in Charles Koch’s Science of Success.  Like a snowflake, a coorporation needs the contribution at the right time and place from each person’s talents. If the water molecule isn’t capable of supporting the lattice of snowflake, it will be incorporated into another snowflake.  There is a niche for every person and the ability to innovate makes it possible to create beauty and value, and I would even claim virtue in society.

I think one of the most valuable aspects that I have taken away from this course is that there is something deeper than just having a successful business in the science of liberty, it comes to the core of what makes us human.  How can we change so that we can align our choices with our new knowledge?  As Shakespeare said, “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”


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