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Boring and Poorly Written
on August 17, 2012
After hearing a radio interview of the author I was very interested in this book but became extremely disappointed after reading it. To be fair, the author clearly states that it is not a scientific or research-based book (such as The Millionaire Next Door) just tales from the observations he's made in his career.
The book reads more like a jumble of gossip pieces or blog posts assembled into categories like parenting, marriage, and charity, and the snippets of juicy and embarrassing details begin as though the author was a young student aspiring to be a short story writer, which is seen in mid-chapter anecdotes that start with "I'd known Jen for years," and "Elaine was his fifth wife."
The details that attempt to tantalize the reader fall flat, such as when the author writes about getting a tour of a special hotel room for "whales" who lose a minimum of $500,000 at a casino. He got to tour the room because the woman named Jen noted above facilitates it for these super-rich people. While touring the room, a super-rich guy drunkenly stumbles in with "the two most beautiful women I've ever seen" [prostitutes] who were also part of the room package.
This story is hopefully exaggerated (albeit believable) because that would mean that while the room was being used by a client of the hotel, his privacy was being violated by strangers looking around at his stuff and knowing private details of his life, such as how much he loses at casinos and his elevated risk for STDs. Jen then went on about how the man's son is the same way, but also does cocaine.
The book is not entirely without merit. The last 10% was enjoyable as its thesis is summed up in the statement, "the richest people don't have the most, but need the least." I also enjoyed a story from his childhood about going to Poland, Ohio and working for a wealthy woman who everyone in town was incredibly interested in, but never thought to be friends with.
Having said this, the chapter on parenting (which I was looking forward to the most) was not very interesting, and neither were any of the others. I read one of the stories to my wife (about a teenager who used his parents' credit card without permission) to see what she thought. Her reply was, "so how much did you pay for this book?"