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Defining Value in the Midst of Fads

by Peter on October 24, 2008

This is the second year that I purchased Esquire’s “Big Black Book 2008” Edition. And at 11.95 a copy it does need to be a big edition. To be perfectly honest, the reason I bought the first one was because of the watches and suits. Although I don’t wear a lot of suits, I like wearing them when I can and if I could my left wrist would don a different $5000.00 or so watch everyday of the week. There is something I find special about these editions and it tugs at my philosophical heart strings. It is the question of “Why.” If don’t mean asking the question like a two year old but asking questions like, “Why is it that expensive?” “What is the story behind it?” And, “Why will it have value to me and my family in 50 years?”

The Editor in Chief, David Granger says in his, “Letter from the Editor” that the backstory is what gives things their value and not fads or purchasing ego boosters. He writes,

“In the same way that a man will wear his father’s watch, or in the same way that men in Europe take pride in wearing their fathers’ suites (retailored), value is enhanced by the provenance of the article a man is considering purchasing.”

The things that are most meaningful to us are such because, well they have meaning to us. The photograph of my father before he met my mom at a bank drive through are special to me. I have a whole photo album that he create of just him during the Vietnam war. How valuable would it be to you to have an album of your family history. I would think it would be very valuable. In fact, I am a little saddened that I didn’t take more photos of me in college because it’s nice to see from an outside point of view what I was actually doing. With this in mind I tell parents to be consistent in photographing their children. You don’t have to take a lot of photos. Think about this. If you just take 10-20 photos of your child every three months you would have on average 200-300 photos of your child by the age of 5. That’s quite a number and a number that would be very valuable to your child’s grandchildren.

To me it sounds like I’m rambling on but the point is this, invest your time effort and money into things that will out last you. I might even include one’s reputation. What will people say about you and what stories will be told about you to your grandchildren? Things of value have meaning and create meaning in others’ lives while fads are only purchases for the moment and soon finds its abode in the back of your closet.

Since value is highly subjective, I’d be interested to know how you define what is valuable.

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