A seasonal message from GKY President Stuart Stein.

The holiday season is a wonderful time for reflection and growth. We can often find pearls of wisdom in unexpected places during this time of year. One of my favorites is 18th century Scottish philosopher Adam Smith.

In his landmark book “The Wealth of Nations,” Smith described the invisible hand of the free market and opened a new line of thought and inquiry in economics. An earlier, and far lesser known work of his, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” concerns itself, among other things, with the meaning of happiness.

“Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely,” he wrote.

In the classic sense of the word, being lovely is synonymous with being worthy of earning the love of others and is a necessary condition for true happiness.

Smith, in this work, also introduced the concept of acting as if someone were looking over your shoulder. He knew that true character shows itself when nobody is looking.

As we enjoy the holiday season, we can all learn from Adam Smith. Focus on doing good – being truly worthy of earning the love and respect of others – even when it is easy (or profitable) to do otherwise. Business success is important, but shouldn’t come at the cost of character.

I feel blessed to work with great (lovely) people in serving great (lovely) clients to pursue important work. I hope you all have a joyous and lovely New Year!

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