re: person who said blocks are bacteria magnets. i always dry my knives in a rack before putting them away.
quality knives are well worth it. Having grown up with crap knives and cutco (step up from crap IMO). When I got my first place, I went with a suggestion of my chef friend to buy the best knife I could for a chefs knife then went about buying more. So I went wusthof, then sabatier, had some henckels, global and some shun.
I have to say the shun and global do handle best for me. But all the top brands are all exceptional.
For the person who commented about bone, I would never use a good knife on a big bone. That's like using a ferrari to offroad. I use a cheap heavy high carbon steel chinese cleaver for chopping a chicken in half or hacking at the joints of meats.
for sharpening, be wary of cheap sharpening steels. I typically suggest keeping a 2 sided whet stone. I have a japanese one that has two different coarse sides. I also keep a sharpening (ceramic) rod around too when I don't need as much removal as with a steel. For those of you with space and are 'handy' types, get a multispeed grinder and you can get different discs like stone, leather, or cotton wheels that will help you sharpen many knives quickly and efficiently.
Interestingly enough, if you go to asia, many times, you can get some amazing knives that aren't brand names, but have the same type of steel. I have one japanese knife that I don't know the name of (it'sin japanese) but the sushi chef in town gets them every time he goes back to Japan so i had him get me one. amazing filet knife and probably on par with a shun any time of the day but half the cost at $65 US.