His exacting standards of craftsmanship combined with a Spartan streak made him reluctant to buy any furnishings that he wasn’t passionate about. He had a Tiffany lamp, an antique dining table, and a laser disc video attached to a Sony Trinitron, but foam cushions on the floor rather than sofas and chairs. - Walter Isaacson about Steve
Some thoughts on this
I grew up in the camp of the Mediocres. Neither the camp that championed the Best nor the one that echoed the Worst. My parents would always buy something that was neither great nor bad. It was just average. Always got the job done. Over time I started gravitating towards the camp that pursues the Best. It started with clothes I would buy as a kid. Then went on in the bike I wanted as my first bike. Since then this desire to buy the best out of my available options has only increased. Fueled by purchases like my first Macbook, this is not a trend likely to stop in my life anytime soon (or as long as it is financially and logistically possible). I have not bought a car ever in my life, because I do not want to buy just about any car and cannot afford the ones I want to. Not yet.
This is crazy on a lot of levels. And this is not for everybody. Also this is not for everything in life. It does not mean when I buy a set of scented candles, I keep researching for days. However, it does apply to anything I am passionate about or care enough about or would be using daily. Pursue the Best for anything that matters to you, and embrace mediocrity for everything else that you cannot.
The other thing that is a by product of pursuit of the Best is the joy every time you use that product. When setting up my apartment in US, I went for the Zeppelin Air speakers. I fell in love with them the moment I saw them and still love them after months. It costs only slightly less than my TV but boy you should see my face every time I use it. I smile. That is what the Best gets you. (On that note it is easily not the absolute best speaker out there, but definitely something in the high end of what I was willing to spend on a speaker). It sounds highly materialistic but as a designer I find it necessary that I continuously reduce the mediocrity around me. Be that in my own designs or the products I use. It is not about being pretentious. Really. Rest of my apartment is still an Ikea shop. Just so you know. But then there is that one Aviator table from Restoration Hardware that I need to buy one of these days. Some day. That is the never ending pursuit of the Best. It never ends. There is always something better. Something else around that has a better alternative.
Unless you are a billionaire who can afford just about anything, this pursuit also leads to a self imposed minimalism. One that is based in the simple irony that you cannot afford the best of everything you would like to own. So instead of just buying anything that gets the job done, you don't. Often this is highly impractical for operational and social reasons. I find this by-product actually very useful and in some odd way - liberating.
Partisans of the worst won’t give a shit if someone drops a dish while people are hanging out in the kitchen. They can push their crappy bicycle to the limit without worrying if it gets scratched — without even being too concerned about it getting stolen. - An argument for The Worst
I find this argument amusing for a lot of reasons but mostly for the simple one that I find it akin to saying one should always buy cheap cars over a BMW or a Mercedes. To each their own I guess.
Hey, sometimes you want to have a conversation with your family every night at the dinner table for a month about what makes the perfect washing machine. Sometimes you just want clean socks. - Wilson Miner
In the end it is not a binary state of things. The pursuit of the Best is just that. The pursuit. The pre and the post. One that starts with doing basic research on the subject matter and continues well after having bought the object in question. Permeating in every moment you use the product. It is this process that many of us find amazing. It is a continuum. An optimization of initial research vs long term annoyance that comes out of everyday use of the product. We all start somewhere on that scale of the Worst to the Best, but I do feel I am in the camp that strives to push towards the Best vs one that actively strives for the Worst.
It's the same reason we refactor our code. Redesign our sites. Release updates to our apps. The pursuit to be better. The pursuit of the best.