Maybe an economist can make us feel less guilty about shopping. "Retail shopping powers two-thirds of our economy," says Anirban Basu, quickly settling the issue. "If you've got it, then you can spend it." A father of two young daughters, Basu seems aware that mall hopping is in his future. "We don't have enough upscale shopping. ... If you really want haute couture, you have to go someplace like Tysons Corner," he says. "A lot of the retailers look at the Baltimore-Washington area and see it as one." This is a mistake, says Basu, because Baltimore has the money. "We don't realize how wealthy we are as a region."
Painting by Caspar David Friedrich "He has been my favorite painter for half my life. Every time I see one of his paintings ... I think, 'Genius.' I love the themes. The landscapes are pure and unobstructed by modern industry."
Storage from California closets "There's never enough storage space ... at the end of the day, we look at our homes and say we need an extra room just for stuffed animals or for clothes."
Original manuscripts by Joseph Schumpeter "This is the Harvard economist who came up with the notion of creative destruction. That capitalism is dynamic and as businesses fail or falter, new industries will replace them. ... One technology quickly replaces another. His work was very relevant in his time, though he was in an ivory tower."
Patek Philippe watch "I collect watches, but it's never enough. I'd love to have an example of their work."
A new house "Our home [in Baltimore City] is 77 years old and we love it, but I'd like to build a Taj Mahal for my wife, Debita -- as an expression of my love for her. She's a horribly patient woman and I couldn't imagine being with anyone else."