For those in the broad area of finance and investments it is easy to lose track of the purpose of the pursuit of higher returns (and wealth). We recently came across a number of pieces that in their own way get at this topic. Once the market is closed take a few moments to explore some of ways we can get more out of our efforts.

Robert Kolker in New York magazine highlights the story behind the turnaround at a Queens elementary school. Why is this interesting? Interesting, because noted hedge fund manager, and author, Joel Greenblatt, invested a relatively small amount of money into a novel “public school prototype.” Surprising to some, the program has turned out to be a overwhelming success.

Tim Harford in Forbes discusses the relationship between money and happiness. The problem is that is not clear that wealth itself leads to happiness. Harford asks some of the researchers on the topic of happiness to highlight those actions that seem to lead to higher levels of fulfillment.

Daniel Akst in delves into the issue of what is the highest and best use of our philanthropic donations? Given the wide range of problems (and solutions) on a global basis the question is by no means trivial. His answer is both practical and satisfying to those in the investment arena.

We hope you found those of interest. We plan on highlighting more of these items in the future.