I’m inspired by the work of Lauren Greenfield. 📸
Finally sitting down with her investigation of wealth and “the desire to be wealthy, at any cost.” This study seems more important than ever as the global pandemic highlights divides.
I’m an immigrant from France who grew up immersed in Silicon Valley and Hollywood culture. I was also an expat in India. In the process of living across the globe, I internalized so many of the tropes visualized in this monograph. The photos have a haunting quality that evokes a civilization and broader global culture in decline.
Taking in the work, I learned that culture is like the air we breathe. If you’re not aware of culture, you don’t notice how it impacts your thoughts and actions. This book served as a mirror that reflects an image so heartbreaking that I feel motivated to make a change.
One character that stood out is the rogue financier and hedge-fund manager Florian Homm, a real-life Gordon Gekko. In contrast, I stumbled upon an interview with the then in high school, Emanuel Yekutiel, founder of the Bay Area’s very own Manny’s. 🙌🏻
Overall, Lauren Greenfield’s work helped me notice that no matter how much I achieve, the number of gadgets I buy, the perceived needs I fulfill, the causes I support, it will never be enough.
Venturing into the extremes as I explored these glossy pages, I was left with a deep sense of worry and powerlessness immersed in a world where we commodify every aspect of our lives.
With that in mind, I also hope that we can course-correct, reprioritize and rectify the financial, legal, and political structures that enable wealth culture as its exposed here. We can invest in people and communities in ways that are generative and not exploitative. In my experience, I’ve learned that this process often starts with building authentic and trusting relationships.
Jeremie Gluckman-Picard is a marketing professional who has spent their life striving to humanize tech products. Having lived all over the world — including India, China, France, and the U.S. — Jeremie has longed to make a difference by combining all of these experiences and helping others navigate the often rocky terrain of life. They recently published a book about growing up in Silicon Valley. You can connect with them on Instagram here.