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Business World: Ken Honda’s Agenda ‘Happy India’

By  Business World | Published March 28, 2023

Best-selling author and star influencer Ken Honda is on a mission. After his iconic work ‘Happy Money’: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money’ sold 9 million copies worldwide, Honda wants to capture India in a new book, tentatively titled ‘Happy India’.

During his maiden visit to the country, Honda is hugely influenced by the Indian way of life. India’s generosity and spiritual quest have touched him, even if he is a bit taken aback by the apparent lack of civic sense in Indians’ day-to-day life.

It was, however, his playbook for happiness, and the ability to channel “smiling money” to spread cheer and happiness that was the talking point at a BW Dialogue, where BW Businessworld’s Chairman & Editor-in-Chief Dr Annurag Batra engaged the author in an engrossing chat about his book, his philosophy and life lessons, and, of course, his abiding interest in India.

“If you want to travel fast, travel solo. If you want to travel farthest, travel in a group, have a network, said Honda, quoting an African proverb.

“Financial Freedom is when you don’t think of money. For happiness, however, you should rely on friends’ ‘joint account’,” added Honda, highlighting why wide networks give an individual both a cushion and a purpose in life.

“If money was a person, he would be a happy, generous person. A mean person would imply making money at the cost of someone else’s misery,” he said.

Drawing an analogy with the Indian way of life, Honda explained, “You are born with a gift — to teach, to speak, to write, to create a business.  Everyone has a reserved seat in the train. You occupy your seat and do your dharma. Else you are kicked out of your seat”.

The globetrotter had an interesting contrast to share with the packed hall in the Capital when he contrasted the questions he usually encountered in the US with those in Japan.  “In the US, I am often asked, ‘How I can get more ‘Happy Money’? In Japan, on the other hand, people often ask me: ‘How I can satisfy myself with the money that I have’?”

Honda initially started writing booklets for his friends and acquaintances. As his writings got popular, he was approached by publishers. Rest, as they say, is history. Until he turned 34, he didn’t know he could actually write. Honda is 58.

When he is not addressing power-packed seminars, courses (he makes it a point to return the fees for those who fail to attend), or podcasts, Homda follows his other passions. India, for one.

During his current visit here, along with his daughter, he has already had a slice of India. He finds this land fascinating for its vibrant hues, and he wishes to take up his ‘Happy India’ project next. His followers and readers here, however, would probably yearn for more “money lessons”, if the audience questions asked at the BW Dialogue are anything to go by.

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