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The thing is that it’s easier to predict the personal value of a real-world item. You don’t know in advance whether you’re going to get $200 of value out of a particular development product, because there’s no reasonable standard of comparison.

You would pay $40 for a T-shirt if it were some sort of collector’s item you could resell. You would pay $100 for running shoes because that’s less than $15000 for knee surgery, and you like having comfy feet. You would pay $150–300 for an ounce of weed because you know what weed is like, and you like it, and the price is driven up by legal issues. But what justification can you come up with for spending $200 on what is essentially a productivity tool, if it won’t necessarily make you more productive?

The same justification I use for buying books on programming: I am trying to make myself a better programmer and I'm willing to take a gamble on myself.

But book stores, unlike the company that produces mocl, won't give my money back if I find that the book didn't help me within the first 30 days.

So in this case, it's even a relatively safe gamble (assuming of course, that the company does in fact, honor the 30-day money-back thing).

Well it depends on the book store really. For example Barnes and Noble lets you return books up to 2 weeks after purchase. Amazon allows you to return kindle ebooks, but I'm not sure of their policy on physical books. And of course you could always go to your local library and see if the book is available there.

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