Black Friday Alternative

If you’ve followed this blog at all, or if you’ve read The Old Money Book, you know how I feel about rampant consumerism. Aside from the obvious effect of crippling many Americans financially, it’s also eroding our personal relationships.

I feel that many people have substituted shopping for having real interests like reading, travel, mentoring, and simply sitting down with someone you care about and having a conversation.

I’m not a grump old man (yet), and I enjoy buying something new–occasionally–as much as the next person. Alright, probably not as much because most of things I buy tend to get better with age, but let’s not quibble: I’ve taken no vows of poverty, and certainly none of silence.

But trampling each other and fighting over toys the day after Thanksgiving is beneath us all. It’s an embarrassing, media-induced hysteria that sends otherwise sane people out into the streets and malls to buy merchandise of generally poor quality, which many of them cannot afford, to be given to friends and family to show them that we love them.

I have a not so novel idea: instead of buying someone something (which they may or may not like or use), invite them to a coffee shop or restaurant, far from a shopping center. Enjoy something hot to drink or eat, and, at some point in the conversation, pull out a piece of paper. On this piece of paper you’ll have written a list of the five or ten things you appreciate about this person, what they’ve meant to you, and the positive impact they’ve had on your life. You’ll read this list out loud to the person you’re with. And that will be your gift to them this holiday season.

I can assure you this: you will probably spend less and get more out of giving this gift than out of any transaction you could make at any store in the world. It will be appreciated more deeply. It will be remembered more fondly, for a much longer period of time. Throw in a smile, which is always a “must-have accessory” and a hug, which seems to warm everyone regardless of the weather, and you’ve got a very fine gift indeed.

To put a bow on it, you can add, as a last mention, that you’ve made a donation to Heifer International in your friend’s honor. (You can donate as little as ten dollars, and as much as you want.)

That’s the Old Money Black Friday Alternative. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Pass it on.

- BGT

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November 22, 1963

eternal flame

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Thank You, Goodreads.com

As some of you already know, The Old Money Book is up on goodreads.com¬†and, I’m delighted and grateful to say, is being very well received.

In an effort to promote the book on the website, I recently offered to give away twenty autographed and personalized copies to Goodreads members. The response was overwhelming, with 600 readers asking for a copy.

First, I simply want to say Thank You to everyone who entered the giveaway. I’m humbled at the interest and the enthusiasm for the book. If you were lucky enough to win a copy in the giveaway, your Old Money Book will be personalized, autographed, and sent via USPS this weekend, so watch for them in the mail.

Second, I want you to know that I’m going to do a second giveaway of another twenty copies. I’ve just asked the Goodreads Team to coordinate it, so visit the site to find out how you can enter to win your free copy.

Finally, as always, if you’d like to purchase a personalized, autograph paperback copy of The Old Money Book directly from me, please feel free to request as many copies as you’d like. Simply contact me directly at byrontully (at) gmail (dot) com.

- BGT

 

 

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Rory Kennedy, Old Money Gal

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Classic OMG Style

Classic Style

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Wealthy Selfie

Selfie from the Wealthy

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The New Double Bottom Line for Our Companies–And Ourselves

Our free market economy is driven by men and women who have an idea, a product, a service, a vision. Something that might be incredibly essential or unbelievably frivolous, but something that they feel compelled to create and offer for sale to the public.

We buy it, or we don’t buy it. We trade our hard-earned money for the product, service, or experience and these visionary men and women make money. Sometimes a lot of money. That profit informs the “bottom line” and determines whether or not a business endeavor was successful.

It still does, but today that’s only half the bottom line. The other half is this: what is the social impact–negative or positive–of this commercial endeavor? Sure, new businesses create jobs, increase tax revenues, and make millionaires. But what is the social impact of the business? Do we need another brand of cigarettes that contribute to illness? Do we need another strip club that brings out less-than-attractive attributes of men at the expense of women? Do we need another biological or nuclear weapon?

The double bottom line for business owners today is this: can I make a profit…and contribute in a constructive way to society?

As individuals, we find jobs more scarce and less secure, the pressure to perform greater, and the temptation to cut corners more attractive. Our bottom line–bringing home money to pay the bills and build security for the future–must confront these realities with courage.

We probably work harder for what may be less pay, but, even so, we must strive to raise our ethical standards beyond what they were five years ago, ten years ago. We have to be a man–or woman–of our word. We must carve out a reputation for integrity that will, in a very short time, precede us in all our business dealings, even if it costs us profit and opportunity for advancement in the short term.

For reputation is an echo that rings often and fades slowly.

In tough economic times, we must make sure our companies measure up to the double bottom line. And we as individuals must measure up to it as well.

Old Money, New Money, or No Money, we must set an example. Because as the unemployed, the underemployed, and those unjustly trapped at the bottom of the economic ladder will take their behavioral clues from us.

In challenging times, we need to put our best selves forward.

- BGT

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