Charles Handy on Aristotle

After we abandon the croquet lawn for the comfort of the armchairs in Handy’s study next door (for the record, I was ahead but have no doubt that, in his prime, Handy would have trounced me), he reminds me of the central peg in his reading of the game of life: Aristotle’s concept of eudaemonia — happiness or, perhaps more accurately, fulfilment.

Handy glosses this as “do the best at what you are best at”. Making money is “a necessary and not a sufficient condition” for such a fulfilled existence, he says. He points to a beautiful bentwood chair in the study. It took three months to make.

Collecting the piece, Handy remarked to its creator that it was “a difficult way to make money”. “That’s not the point,” the craftsman responded. “It’s a difficult way to make a perfect chair.”

~ Charles Handy interviewed by Andrew Hill / FT, September 13, 2019