Notes of Advice From Einstein Written in Lieu of Tip Fetch $1.8 Million at Auction

Photo via AP Images.
Photo via AP Images.

Once, while he was traveling, Albert Einstein either found himself without any cash to tip a delivery man, or the messenger refused to accept. So he scribbled a couple of notes of advice, and they’ve just sold at auction for over a million dollars total. Today, of course, he’d get dragged for three days on Twitter before issuing an apology via Notes.


According to the AFP, in 1922, Einstein was in Japan for a lecture series, when he learned he won’d won the Nobel, making him a very hot commodity. And then:

A courier arrived at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo to deliver Einstein a message. The courier either refused to accept a tip, in line with local practice, or Einstein had no small change available.

Either way, Einstein didn’t want the messenger to leave empty-handed, so he wrote him two notes by hand in German, according to the seller, a relative of the messenger.

“Maybe if you’re lucky those notes will become much more valuable than just a regular tip,” Einstein told the Japanese messenger, according to the seller, a resident of Hamburg, Germany, who wished to remain anonymous.

The notes said: “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness,” which sold for $1.56 million according to the Washington Post, and, “When there’s a will, there’s a way,” which went for $240,000.

Some asshole is absolutely going to try this in lieu of tipping sometime in the next two weeks; don’t be that guy.

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Nihongo Hanashimasen.

There were at least two times in Tokyo where I left a tip and the waitress ran after me and refused to take my money. I was finally informed by a helpful person that there is pride in providing great service and it’s not something that should be paid extra for. They looked vaguely horrified that I tried to tip, I apologized profusely.