When you try to categorize the “best” of anything, whether it’s a car, book, or actor, there is going to be disagreement.
For example, right now I think the Pixel Fold is the best phone you can own. Most of you reading this probably disagree with me and say that the iPhone or one of the Samsung phones is the best. You’re not wrong. The same would go for what I see as the best car, or best movie this year.
Recently Rachel Connolly wrote a fantastic article for the New York Times titled “The Tyranny of ‘the Best’“. It’s a fantastic read and I encourage you to check it out, but here is the crux of her viewpoint:
“How even the least exciting consumer choices are framed in terms of elusive state-of-the-art options; and, conversely, how necessarily subjective things (novels, colleges, where to live) are increasingly presented as consumer choices for which there is an objective ‘best.'”
This reminds me of a few years ago when Chris Lema was looking to move his family. In trying to find the “best” city for them, he built a huge (and amazing!) spreadsheet that categorized and weighed the things that mattered most to them. He factored in schools, weather, cost of living, and dozens of other items, all weighed in the way that they chose. He had no desire to find a “best cities to live” article, because those were for someone else — he wanted to find the best place to live for his family, on his terms.
For what it’s worth, they ended up in Sugar Land, TX (not far from Houston) and seem quite pleased with it!
The 14″ Laptop
I often use this blog to share tools and toys that I think are amazing, and I hope that people find those helpful, but I know that we all weigh things differently. I recently picked up a new 14″ laptop for some work stuff, and had two people criticize the size of it — one said it was too large, and the other said it was too small. They were both right! For what I needed with this computer, 14″ was perfect, but their needs are different and that’s excellent.
I still enjoy perusing the “best of” lists when looking for a new product, but it’s rare that I purchase the “best” of anything, because it very likely isn’t the best for me.