Michael Heller is one of the world’s leading authorities on ownership. He is the Lawrence A. Wien Professor of Real Estate Law at Columbia Law School where he has served as the Vice Dean for Intellectual Life. Michael’s latest book, Mine!: How the Hidden Rules of Ownership Control Our Lives, shows how people navigate, dispute, and resolve ownership issues. Listen in as Michael discusses airplane seating, custody of children, and the astounding South Dakota laws.
[4:40] Michael dives right in and shares a common story about ownership a lot can relate to: when someone pushes their seat back on an airplane.
[5:30] “I had it first.” There are six story arcs we tell ourselves when it comes to ownership.
[7:10] As it relates to the airplane example and as people get more territorial about their space, there’s actually more conflict happening than there was 20 years ago on airplanes.
[8:10] If you want to resolve interpersonal conflict with your seatmate, buy him or her a snack.
[9:50] Michael discusses the difference between need vs. ownership.
[11:20] As kids, we know right away what possession means.
[12:55] Online retailers understand human psychology. They understand we have a deep desire for physical possessions.
[15:00] The United States actually has two legal systems. One for the people and one for the ultra-rich.
[16:20] South Dakota has been a tax haven for the ultra, ultra-rich.
[20:55] As a professor, Michael really wants to teach his students what it means to be a grownup.
[22:50] Any decision you make reveals your deepest values.
[29:15] Children’s lives have been torn apart by badly crafted or non-existent estate plans. Parents can ease this burden by being specific.
[30:45] The news thinks that we’re going to have an end to ownership, especially when it comes to cars, houses, and other possessions. Michael disagrees.
[37:00] Business leaders tend to overestimate the importance of law, especially intellectual property law.
[42:10] Michael shares how ownership might differ in different countries.
[44:35] Listener challenge: Take time to understand the six simple stories of ownership.