insider goods

What to Buy to Look Like: A Brain Surgeon

Photo: Courtesy ABC

Status can be a funny thing. Of course it is most obviously expressed through shiny hardware and easily recognizable logos, but it gets far more interesting when you start to observe the more subtle signals — the way you tuck in your shirt, or what you eat for breakfast, or your particular brand of notebook can mark you as in or out. And of course, what counts as a status item varies wildly across human tribes. In our series Insider Goods, we’re talking to members of different tribes (some with their real names, some anonymously) to learn about the niche status items among plantfluencers, Broadway actors, or ballerinas.

Today we hear from Rahul Jandial — brain surgeon and neuroscientist at City of Hope hospital in Los Angeles and author of Neurofitness: A Brain Surgeon’s Secrets to Boost Performance and Unleash Creativity — on the shoes, pocketknives, and eye drops that are popular among neurosurgeons.

This is a classic. It shouldn’t surprise anyone — surgeons like blades. And these are common questions when we hang out: What’s the knife you have in your house? What’s the knife you have in your car? What’s the knife you have with you if you go hiking or on a picnic? And this is just the thing because of its timelessness. The Opinel 6 was used by Picasso to sculpt. It’s in the British [Victoria and Albert] Museum because of the simplicity of the design. [In 1985, the museum called it one of the “100 most beautiful products in the world.”] It’s a beautiful thing that’s timeless and has been through generations — not expensive, artsy, and gorgeous. It’s just an all-purpose knife, whether you’re opening boxes from Amazon or Ikea or you just have it in your car.