More Than Money
Issue #42

More Than Money Magazine

Table of Contents

“The Editor’s Vault”

Muse You Can Use

Two score and one (more or less quarterly) issues ago, this magazine was brought forth, as Lincoln might have said, dedicated to the proposition that fulfillment in life is about more than money.

Twelve years later, our message is much the same. We still encourage people to act on their values, to explore what they think about money and its role in their lives—to ask, in essence, what is money for ? And we still haven't had to retract the observation (in Issue No. 1) that money is the last frontier of the human mind,"harder to talk about than sex."

On the other hand, some things have changed. One is me, the new editor. I hope to build on the success of my predecessor, Pamela Gerloff. It might be appropriate at this point to launch into my grand editorial vision, for which I happen to have ready 27 eight-by-ten, color, glossy pictures with circles and arrows. But my sense is that it would be better to go right to the proof of any editorial plan—the issue you hold in your hands.

Our cover story explores Henry David Thoreau's legacy as a cultural pioneer on the subject of money. Thoreau saw economic arrangements as the practical expression of a particular philosophical view. It was his refusal to pay the state money that he feared would be used to extend slavery that landed him in jail, an event which led to his essay, "Civil Disobedience." Thoreau explored the cost of our working, buying and spending as expressed not in dollars and cents but in vials of life energy. With Emerson and other Concordians, Thoreau saw that money matters always involve a degree of moral and ethical sense.

My choice of our cover story entails some organizational history. We recently moved our office to Concord, Massachusetts and became known as the More Than Money Institute. While our mailing address is new, Concord's cultural and ethical legacy, as exemplified by Thoreau and Emerson, is not. Bob Kenny and I quickly realized that Thoreau, Emerson and Concord's other writers are among those thinkers and social doers who have long provided inspiration to More Than Money.

I'd like to pass along a value-added factoid about Thoreau and money that you won't find in our story. Thoreau did not know commercial success as a writer and had to support himself in other ways. He was Spartan to a fault and is usually seen as a financial failure. But he apparently had a real touch in Concord real estate. When Thoreau's house for the last 12 years of his life sold for $2 million, I became curious about the alleged market value today of Thoreau's many addresses in Concord. All told, he lived in 9 places in Concord, including a section of a now-famous country inn, Emerson's grand house, and addresses along Main Street that today sport a major bank, a fancy store and the town's public library.

I looked up as many of these properties as I could find on the town's lists of assessed values. My list was not complete, but it suggested that the places where Thoreau dwelled (outside of Walden Pond) have a total market value north of $5 million. Be it perverse or funny, this irony reminds us that even in Thoreau's hometown, much work remains to be done to honor his plea for a "new means of valuation."

Elsewhere in this issue, we have an article on a member of the More Than Money Institute who experienced an almost unimaginable loss, the death of a son, yet who found a way to convert his grief into something positive, a foundation that helps others. We also have a snazzy "More Than MONEY CenterFOLD," featuring, naturally, money folded into boots, boats, birds, that sort of thing. Odd, perhaps, but we hope you find it interesting.

Albert Keith Whitaker ponders what Aristotle has to say about the nature of giving to foundation professionals. In her article, psychologist Carol Kauffman discusses ways to help identify and develop one's "signature strengths." (I will say up front that it has nothing to do with signing checks.)

Our columns explore the power of modest philanthropic gifts, and the power as well of frank talk about money dilemmas—in this case between two men. Lastly, we reprint an essay by a parent who was alarmed to find an incriminating "Dear Santa" list that he had penned as a boy. I am that parent, and I wrote the essay years ago while on the staff of The Boston Globe . Its message about toy lust and moral judgment, however, is on the money for this magazine —especially at this time of year.

Now, about that grand vision.

Rather than referring to it as a journal, calling this publication a magazine better reflects the editorial direction in which I wish to take it. More Than Money Magazine will look, and indeed will be, a little different, yes. But the changes will not be dramatic. There will be new voices, new topics, and slight shifts in editorial focus, but there's no thought of wrecking a good thing.

One difference is that we will no longer have themed issues. The single-theme approach served this publication in the past. Now it is time to turn to a new template. It's my hope that every number of the magazine will be a portal onto the variety of issues and concerns that this institute and its members have. There will be a cover story to anchor each issue, but features and columns may march in a different (but I hope complimentary) direction. A multi-theme approach will enable readers, especially new ones, to quickly get a feel for breadth of issues and ideas we care about. Each issue will have a centerfold about a subject related to our work that is visual in nature.

I would like it to be evident that this magazine is the periodical companion to the More Than Money Institute. The institute publishes these pages not only as a gift to the world of ideas and moral reflection but to further its purposes and programs and to build support for its mission. As editor, I want our articles to be provocative and to start conversations. My orientation as a professional journalist is to connect the magazine's content with events and issues in our society. But we will also print articles and essays about enduring themes and topics, of course. We must recognize that, as Ezra Pound said, truth is the "news that stays news."

Editing this magazine will be fun. It may not be easy, given the force of our society's uncritical assumptions about money. I'm hopeful, however. Indeed I believe, if I may borrow another phrase from Lincoln, that this magazine and the convictions for which it stands shall not perish from the earth—at least for another two score and one (more or less quarterly) issues.

—Richard Higgins

A writer, editor, and former longtime Boston Globe reporter, Richard Higgins has edited three books and published numerous essays and articles in national and scholarly publications. He is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and the father of three children.

Editorial Policy : The views expressed by contributors and quoted sources in More Than Money Magazine are not necessarily those of the More Than Money Institute. We encourage and support respectful dialogue among people of diverse viewpoints and we provide a range of perspectives on different topics.


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