McLean businessman and philanthropist Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals professional hockey team, told the annual meeting luncheon of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce today that the publication of his new book, “The Business of Happiness,” is imminent.
Leonsis said that following a near-death experience that he called a “reckoning” in a 1983 plane crash, he spent 25 years searching for “what makes people happy.” A self-described “student of happiness,” he said there are five basic factors to happiness, which are spelled out in his upcoming book. Happy people, he noted, live longer, are more successful and have “better sex lives.”
He said that success does not lead to happiness, but it’s the other way around. The five components of happiness, he told the 150 attendees at the luncheon, are: 1. active participation in multiple communities of interest, 2. high levels of personal expression (there are 75 million active blogs on the Internet, he noted), 3. personal empathy, the component that “keeps society going,” 4. moving out of the “I” into the “collective we,” and 5. “finding the higher calling in everything you do.”
Citing an example, Leonsis said his goal as owner of the Washington Capitals, who are enjoying enormous success so far this season, is not to win championships, but to maximize the experience of social bonding and community building of the team’s fan base, and that winning championships helps to optimize that.
Both of Leonsis’ primary business involvements are in Northern Virginia: AOL and the Capitals, who are headquartered in Arlington’s Ballston corridor.