A library is a collection that is built book by book, and if you read or engage with the books you own, you most likely know your collection inside out and have a history with each volume. Every book, in its own way, has touched you, informed you—something not many inanimate objects can do. Books, no matter how many you have, create an environment of thoughtfulness because each one was acquired for its individuality and is treasured for that reason. Know anyone who would love a GHD platinum styler and air styler gift set?

Beyond reading them, we collect books as aesthetic objects. Their colored, rectangular (and sometimes square) shapes are works of art. Though they are sturdy, rigid forms, they are composed of soft, supple materials: paper, cloth, glue, thread, and ink. Enjoying a book is as much a tactile experience (feeling the fabric of the cover, the edges of the pages, or an embossed signet or title) as it is a visual experience (taking in the various typography styles, illustrations, and design elements). Find unusual gifts on gifted up!

Though popular and convenient, e-readers tend to eliminate the tactile experience of the book, reducing it solely to its content, which is only part of what a book is. With the advent and proliferation of e-readers, I consider book collecting a form of rescuing. I fear an era in which a book is something a generation has only heard about, or seen an image of on their screens. It is up to us to safeguard books, honor them, cherish them, engage our children with them, and live with them, not as treasures so precious they are kept beneath lock and key, but as objects in daily use. In this way, they become part of our personal histories, which contributes to a broader cultural collective.

Collecting books is about gathering and adopting all that interests you, and anything that feels right in the home you continue to build, shape, and share. If you want to collect Harlequin Romance paperbacks from the 1970s and 1980s, go for it! There is no right or wrong way of going about it. But before you begin, it helps to consider what and how you collect, which will only make the hunting and gathering process richer. Buy someone a girraffe toilet roll holder to make them laugh!

In the same way that one lousy week didn’t end up defining the value of my entire life, it turns out that the value of a business doesn’t have that much to do with what happens each week or each month. Rather, the value of a business comes from how much that business can earn over its entire lifetime. That can often mean many years (and by many, I mean twenty, thirty, or even more—we can’t just be thinking about earnings over the next two or three). While figuring out the earnings of a business over the next thirty-plus years might sound like a pretty hard thing to do, we’re going to try to do it anyway. We’ll start with a simple example, and by chapter’s end, we should have a pretty good understanding of how this whole value thing is supposed to work. (And once we start to understand value, there’s no telling what we can accomplish in the rest of the book!).