Light the fire. Get under the blanket. Hold that hot mug close….
It’s time to relax with some of the most unconventional stories from around the web.
Here are your weekend reads.
That’s Some Expensive Fruit
If you like to follow art news, you probably heard about the $120,000 banana featured at the Art Basel show in Miami.
The piece — which is literally just a ripe banana attached to a wall with some duct tape — grabbed the six-figure sum from a brave art patron.
At least, until a performance artist ate the banana right off the wall.
The original artist is claiming that’s totally fine — the art piece was always meant to be eaten and replaced. As many times as you like.
What you’re really buying, the artist said, is the certificate of authenticity. If you have that, you too can tape a banana to a white wall and call it a $120,000 masterpiece.
On the one hand, this is pretty ridiculous. It reminds me a bit of the time I went to the Tate in London and saw an art display… that was just the artist’s trash, dumped on the floor. We get the commentary on the commercialization of art — there’s not a lot new to say.
On the other, there’s a decent chance you’ve heard of this banana already. The gallery had to remove other installations to make room for all the people who showed up to see it. So it’s… brilliant marketing, maybe?
It also shows just how seriously the art world takes provenance. The artist in this case doesn’t even pretend anything else matters — just that certificate of authenticity.
The art world is always strange. Still, this is one of the strangest stories to come along in a while.
Running to Stand in Place
Another week, another elegy for the American dream.
This one at least gives us a fun extended metaphor to hang our worries on.
Which is nice, because the article is full of scary facts — and some uncomfortable truths — about what’s going on in our economy.
Why it’s reverberating out into other sectors of our culture, especially politics.
And why it’ll never be like the old days again.
If you want a clear-eyed view of where we stand today — with a few centuries of context squeezed in — this article is a nice place to start.
But don’t finish up here.
Because while the author here doesn’t really offer any solutions, we know the American dream isn’t ending — it’s evolving. We might be going through a rough patch at the moment, but as this next story shows, there’s hope for improvements tomorrow…
Earning Your Time
As productivity has grown nearly exponentially, most of the spoils have gone to the owners of large companies or those near them in C-suites.
But that may be changing.
Not in terms of monetary rewards — we’re probably still a ways off from making that fair.
But what’s more important than money? Time.
And that could be headed straight into your hands.
Because with so many productivity gains, we’ve hit something of a brick wall. It’s hard to squeeze much more out of ourselves without big technological gains.
Or, perhaps, counterintuitive thinking. The sort of thinking that led to the discovery that the eight-hour workday actually saps productivity — and we’d all be more productive working fewer hours.
Now, if you work for a large company, it’ll take countless meetings and consultants beating the drum for years before anything changes.
If you work for a small company, you’ve got a better shot — especially if you can convince someone like a founder to get on board.
And if you work for yourself, well, you can put this into practice today.
Which is another reason to earn your wealth unconventionally. Not only is it easier to grab money where there’s less competition… but when you work for yourself, you can take unconventional truths like the above and put them straight into practice.
This one might not make you more money. But time is more valuable anyway — I’ll take it in a heartbeat.
A “Perfect” Way to Enjoy Your Whisky
A Pepsi bottler and distributor spent some of his vast fortune creating the most complete collection of Scotch whisky in the world.
He spent 20 years amassing his collection — trying to get examples from every distiller out there, including a number that have gone defunct. His collection even includes a 1926 Macallan, a bottle of which recently sold for 1.5 million pounds (about $2 million).
His entire collection is estimated to be worth 8 million quid, or about $10.5 million. And it’s going up for auction early next year, on the Whisky Auctioneer website.
If you’ve got the cash — and the interest — some extremely rare and valuable whiskies that aren’t often sold are about to become available.
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth
P.S. Not quite ready to stake $2 million on an expensive bottle of Scotch? Or some of the other six-figure bottles about to go on sale at Whisky Auctioneer? You can get in on the game at a more reasonable price point with our partners at The Whiskey Barrel — where all sorts of rare and valuable bottles are sold every day. The price might not be as high… but the returns can be.
Ryan Cole is the editor-in-chief of Unconventional Wealth. He’s been covering the alternative investment space for nearly a decade and writing about finance and investment for almost 20 years.
Ryan has walked the walk for years, living a very unconventional life. He’s led snowmobile tours through the mountains of Colorado, settled in Japan for five...