by Don Thompson

What causes otherwise savvy investors to drop enormous sums of money on what, through a particular lens, looks like nothing more than a common object?

That’s the topic this book addresses with aplomb and insight.

There is an incredible contrast and such a world between the people who see Tracey Emin’s unmade bed, and say “What the hell – that isn’t art?!” and the collectors who spend £2.5m to acquire it. All this going on at the same time as a major financial crisis in the late noughties.

What’s going on there?

Thompson looks into the economics and psychology behind this phenomenon with passion and intrigue.

What I found really interesting about this book was the detail it goes into to try to make real what’s going on with contemporary art. How important celebrity and the power of branding are in the art world today as well as the wider world.

Once of the things I found most interesting was to learn that a lot of this work is sold simply for bragging rights between the mega rich. You can think of the investment banker who spent $12m on Hirst’s stuffed shark as nothing more than a 20-something year old woman saving up to drop an inordinate amount of money on a Gucci handbag. Why does she do it? So she can share a photo of herself with it on Instagram and feel like she has the envy of her friends.

The book really made me think about the fact that this phenomena isn’t limited to the contemporary art world – it’s everywhere. What other purchases and decisions do we make on a day to day basis which are motivated by showing off a little bit? Why buy an iPhone rather than a good-functioning Android phone? Why buy organic? Why buy vinyl when we have all the music in the world on Spotify?

This book really gave me a fundamentally new and exciting way of looking at the world, not just the art world.

The ultimate message of the book and what the author really tries to get across to you as you read is that the thing you should emphasis and optimise for is your own love of the work. That’s the only reason you should buy art.

Why? The reality is that 8 out of every 10 pieces of art that are bought never sell again for the same price they were originally bought. Many works, unless by a very recognisable name, will simply never re=sell.

So the name of the game is – buy art you love and don’t worry about the rest.

Want to hear more from Don Thompson and about the book before you make a purchase? Check out this video on Youtube—

Interested in buying the book? You can head over to Amazon to make a purchase now.