U.S. Missing From Top Cities List

Mercer, the human resources consulting firm, conducts an annual survey of cities with the best standard of living. The purpose is to help "multinational companies and governments compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments."

A quick glance at the 2011 results begs the question: What’s wrong with the U.S.? Eight of the top 10 are in Europe and despite a leading eight cities in the top 50, the first U.S. destination on the list is Honolulu at No. 29.

The top five: Vienna, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland; Auckland, New Zealand; and Munich and Dusseldorf, Germany. Vancouver comes in sixth before a return to four more locations in Germany, Switzerland and Denmark.

Africa and the Middle East dominate the "bottom 10," with Baghdad at the final spot of No. 221.

But really, where are the New Yorks, Chicagos and other domestic locales?

Austrian Man Gives Up Wealth, Starts Charity for Entrepreneurs

A very unique — and inspiring — story from the Austrian Alps via The Telegraph. One can’t help but think that if more people thought in these terms, the world would be much better off.

Mr Rabeder, 47, a businessman from Telfs is in the process of selling his luxury 3,455 sq ft villa with lake, sauna and spectacular mountain views over the Alps, valued at £1.4 million.

Also for sale is his beautiful old stone farmhouse in Provence with its 17 hectares overlooking the arrière-pays, on the market for £613,000. Already gone is his collection of six gliders valued at £350,000, and a luxury Audi A8, worth around £44,000…

Mr Rabeder has also sold the interior furnishings and accessories business – from vases to artificial flowers – that made his fortune.

"My idea is to have nothing left. Absolutely nothing," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Money is counterproductive – it prevents happiness to come."

Instead, he will move out of his luxury Alpine retreat into a small wooden hut in the mountains or a simple bedsit in Innsbruck.

His entire proceeds are going to charities he set up in Central and Latin America, but he will not even take a salary from these.

"For a long time I believed that more wealth and luxury automatically meant more happiness," he said. "I come from a very poor family where the rules were to work more to achieve more material things, and I applied this for many years," said Mr Rabeder.

All the money will go into his microcredit charity, which offers small loans to Latin America and builds development aid strategies to self-employed people in El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile…

Since selling his belongings, Mr Rabeder said he felt "free, the opposite of heavy".

But he said he did not judge those who chose to keep their wealth. "I do not have the right to give any other person advice. I was just listening to the voice of my heart and soul."

Hat tip to The Huffington Post.