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Getting Rich: America's New Rich and How They Got That Way Hardcover – June 13, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0521829700 ISBN-10: 0521829704

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (June 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521829704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521829700
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,140,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book constitutes a major contribution to the field of household wealth and wealth mobility. It is filled with new and intriguing findings on what it takes to become rich in America. Well written and accessible, it should appeal to a wide audience both in the United States and abroad.” -- Edward Wolff, New York University

“Lisa Keister has produced a magnificently comprehensive examination of wealth attainment and mobility in the contemporary United States, including historical comparisons to the wealth processes in the early twentieth century. She attends to critical issues of how ethnicity, religion, and gender influence wealth attainment and mobility, and she assesses theories of wealth attainment and mobility using several high quality data sources. Keister's work on the accumulation of fortunes provides a lucid and provocative compliment to Williams Julius Wilson's The Truly Disadvantaged.” -- Darren E. Sherkat, Southern Illinois University

Book Description

Although basic facts about wealth inequality are no longer a mystery, we still know very little about who the wealthy are, how they got there, and what prevents other people from becoming rich. That is, we know very little about the process of wealth mobility. This book explores wealth by investigating some of the most basic questions about wealth mobility. How much mobility is there? Has the nature of mobility changed over time? Is entrepreneurship important? How much does inheritance matter? What other factors encourage or prevent wealth mobility, and how do these change over the course of a person's life?

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
The person who ranked this a "1" obviously was looking for a "self-help" or "how to" book which this is not. It IS an excellent analysis of how America's new rich got that way--exactly what the subtitle says. The author's conclusions show that there is some--but not a lot--of wealth mobility in America (but enough to justify her research on the topic which otherwise would merely conclude that wealth is overwhelmingly inherited) and that educational attainment and religion (perhaps to the extent that a education is fundamentally valued by a religious group) are important factors in "getting rich." The book avoids the trap of conclusion by anecdote (e.g., Well, Bill Gates dropped out of college, so education must not matter) by examining the FACTS across all of American society. This is the book for you if you want to know who in America succeeds in getting rich and why. If you want "snake-oil" get-rich-quick "secrets," look elsewhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Munro C. Richardson on June 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very well conceived and executed empirical study of wealth mobility in the United States. In this academic volume, Lisa Keister, a sociology professor at Duke University, studies the determinates of wealth accumulation. The author uses twenty-year longitudinal data to investigate why some people become wealthy while others do not. Some results of this study track with conventional wisdom, e.g. adults with relatively high wealth tend to have parents with higher education. The author also finds a negative relationship between family size and adult wealth accumulation. (This tracks with Dalton Conley's findings in The Pecking Order: A Bold New Look at How Family and Society Determine Who We Become.)

Probably the most interesting finding for the general public concerns the relationship between entrepreneurship and wealth creation. Keister finds starting a business is a key avenue for many people to "get rich." Conventional wisdom is that it takes money to make money. In other words, how much money you have in the first place (or perhaps can get from your family) in order to start a business to "get rich" makes a big difference. Keister, however, blows a hole through this excuse. Not only does she find that one's prior level of wealth apparently has no causal effect on whether one starts a business, but that family income is not determinate either. The data do not appear to discriminate between types of businesses, so one could argue that prior wealth might affect business size or success. Amar Bhide in
...Read more ›
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By Jennifer Benge on August 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
Good price
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2 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bruce1352 on October 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The only one getting richer from this book is the author!! Put the money in a mutual fund!
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