Five Below Fundamentals

Patrick McCorkle
2 min readDec 25, 2023

As I did my last minute Christmas shopping, I went to one of my favorite stores: Five Below. They manage to offer items for low prices due to their deals with suppliers and the way they ship products, among other techniques.

Before you have to ask, they aren’t an affiliate for this blog. I simply like Five Below a lot.

No matter if I’m in Oshkosh, Appleton or West Bend, I know that a Five Below store will have an amazing book section. Over the years, I’ve found gems such as A Feast for Crows, Dark Knight: A True Batman Story and Black Panther: The Ultimate Guide for $5 or less, which is a fraction of their retail price. Not only am I saving money, but I’m also helping give merchandise a second chance, which falls into my environmental philosophy.

On this last trip, I found How Money Works, part of the DK How Things Work series. I highly recommend these books, because they cover fundamentals of core topics in succinct and visual ways. If you’re a busy professional with a partner and/or children, your time is limited. If you spend a few minutes each day, you’ll cover a lot of ground with these or similar resources.

My younger self was always eager to expand his knowledge. That isn’t a bad thing, but I ran into a problem. My mind was trying to consolidate gains in new areas at the expense of forgetting older ones. What does it matter how fast you read or listen to material if you quickly forget it?

As I age, I place special importance on a strong grasp of a topic’s fundamentals. One cannot have in-depth or nuanced discussions without knowing them. It took me awhile to resist the choir of voices calling for expansion and new topics to be ok with slowing down.

It’s not a weakness to review basic concepts. In fact, doing so is a sign of intelligence, indicating that you accept that your mind can’t remember everything. Furthermore, acknowledging that you need refreshers signifies that you’re comfortable and confident, not insecure.

Over the past couple of months, I analyzed my moral/ethical values and created “The Stewardship Creed.” I was able to make something that resonated with me and a few others precisely because I reviewed some religious fundamentals: the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, and so on. Since that process was so enriching, I plan on repeating it for other subjects such as political science and history.

I believe that the How Things Work series will help me in this journey. As we enter a new year, I encourage you to review the fundamentals of a particular field.

If you’re looking for reading materials, Five Below is a great place to start. You never know what you’ll find for quite an affordable price.

In this economy, that’s welcome news.

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Patrick McCorkle

I am a young professional with keen interests in politics, history, foreign languages and the arts.