I came across an interesting article about an art auction this morning. To summarize, an anonymous bidder paid $57.2 million for a 3 1/4 inch tall, 5,000 year old sculpture. At first, it seems like a lot to pay for something of such small stature... but it is incredibly old, well preserved and quite intricate. The article got me thinking about how much money I am willing to spend on artwork to decorate my apartment. Obviously, I am entirely incapable of even considering spending within five orders of magnitude (that 10,000 times for the non-scientists) as this piece sold for. I would probably spend about $100 for a single piece of artwork.
Then my interest turns to how much money the anonymous bidder must possess. Let's just say for the sake of argument that my net worth is roughly $10k. If I am willing to spend about a hundred bucks for a piece of art, that would be 1% of my net worth. Again, for the sake of argument, let's assume that this bidder is also willing to spend only 1% of his/her net worth on any one item. These estimates would make this person a billionaire five times over. How do people get this much money? And how can I become like these people (in wealth, not necessarily anonymity)? The only thing that I am certain of, is the answer does not lie in academia.