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Rich Like Them: My Door-to-Door Search for the Secrets of Wealth in America's Richest Neighborhoods Hardcover – January 5, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While academics frequently conduct research to try to unlock the secrets of garnering great wealth, Esquire editor D'Agostino took a more direct—and more entertaining—route: he picked the 20 wealthiest neighborhoods in America and went door to door, garnering interviews with 50 very wealthy, very different individuals—including doctors, art dealers, real estate moguls and one shrimp-peeling–machine manufacturer. Many of the author's subjects confessed that they have been less motivated by a drive for wealth than a desire for a certain lifestyle, an obsession with a certain field and a need for independence, and that focus, passion and street smarts have contributed more to their success than luck or any formal training. Several of his interviewees leveraged their success through reinvestment, often in real estate, raising the question of how well their net worths have survived in the current credit crunch. While D'Agostino freely admits that his sample is far from scientific, weighted heavily to friendly people who happened to be at home when he went calling, his debut is witty and inspiring. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

Think door-to-door journalist who, out of curiosity and a desire to uncover so-called fail-safe secrets, knocks on approximately 200 doors in 20 of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the U.S. What’s even more amazing is that 50 responded cordially in face-to-face meetings with this Esquire magazine reporter. Armed with demographic information, D’Agostino trains, planes, and autos, often in Motel 6 and other inexpensive accommodations, from coast to coast to get the story. He backs up his primary interviews with solid psychological research, such as the study concluding that “persistence in pursuit of knowledge leads to success.” Although no one particularly famous is featured, all conversations help the author formulate five major (and many minor) observations: (1) to connect the dots that lead to wealth, first you have to see the dots; (2) luck doesn’t exist; (3) you need an intensity that will scare people; (4) the myth of risk—which is a bet you’ve tried to rig; and (5) never let pride get in the way of profit; humility is the secret ingredient. Dialogue is sharp, bright, and engaging. --Barbara Jacobs
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (January 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316021466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316021463
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I liked this book. It is the write-up of a research project the author undertook regarding how rich people generally get to be rich or to stay rich. 50 rich people from around the country who live among the top 50 well-to-do zip codes in the country were interviewed. They resided in one of 19 towns within 11 states. And the results of the interviews were compiled into the 5 chapters included in this book. I encourage you to take a look at the Search Inside feature Amazon provides. You can see the Table of Contents there.

Sprinkled through the 5 chapters were 41 point headings that represented words of wisdom the author learned from those he interviewed. My favorites were as follows:

>>Connect the people you meet
>>Once you connect the dots, then follow through
>>Don't deviate from your planned path to get a quick gain
>>Perseverance doesn't take forever
>>Do one thing and do it well
>>Don't plan a career - plan a life
>>Never stop being a student
>>Calculate every risk - even the one you live in
>>Don't worry about what other people think
>>If you hate your career, um, change it
>>Sometimes the biggest risk is doing nothing
>>Never let pride get in the way of profit
>>Be humble even if you're as rich as Brooke Astor
>>Understand your limitations
>>Don't be a slave to Plan A - it'll prevent you from seeing Plan B

Supposedly half of those interviewed had started their own business or businesses to become wealthy. I'm not sure about the other half, but they either had high paying corporate jobs or had inherited their wealth. Of course, the author points out that those who inherit have a full time job just preserving their wealth.

I thought the book could have been a little better written.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By James on January 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Great Idea for a book. I was anticipating its release with excitement. After completing it last week, I have to say that the opportunity was wasted.

He does what he says, but gets about an inch deep with the individuals, then he crams the few insights they had into whatever his outline's mantra is for that chapter (he puts words in their mouth to fit his format).

Also, the author is confused about what kind of writer he is. I mean, this book isn't Old Man and the Sea, so it seems out of place when he slips in and out of wild descriptive periods and clever similes that seem like he's been waiting to use them. They feel shoe-horned into descriptions.

But I don't want to just bash him here. Its an interesting read, but seems shallow for all the time he put in. He is also genuine about his interest in the subject.
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Format: Hardcover
Unique concept, but I'm still surprised that people talked to him... Rich Like Them: My Door-to-Door Search for the Secrets of Wealth in America's Richest Neighborhoods by Ryan D'Agostino. He decided to bypass all the hyped stories of self-made millionaires and physically go door-to-door to see what people would tell him about how they got rich. In order to pull this off, he used a company called ESRI to determine the 100 wealthiest zip codes in America. His plan was to go to these particular locations, find a neighborhood or two with very nice houses ("proof" that they probably had money), introduce himself and his project, and then listen and take notes. 500 doors and 50 interviews later, he had a wide array of first-hand information about how people got themselves to their comfortable financial position in life. And not surprisingly, there's no one single way that everyone gets rich. But there are common practices and mindsets that raise your odds significantly.

I personally got the most out of the chapter on obsession. Too many people try to go into a business or career with the thought of making lots of money. But if that's the main driver for someone, it won't last long term. If you're doing something you love, and there *is* money to be made in the field, the money will almost always show up automatically. While I don't consider myself "rich", there is some truth in my life to that secret. D'Agostino also had one interview that rang very true for me. If you look forward to going to work, that's a good sign that you'll do well financially. The ability to work long hours because of your passion and obsession means that you'll end up creating the opportunities that others call "luck".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ignacio on March 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a pretty good book to read. No, it's not an instruction manual on how to get rich but it does give some (or should I say, a lot) of insight on how many people from different walks of life became wealthy.

At first sight, by reading the title, you might think that this book talks a lot about money...and I guess it does, in a way...but that's not necessarily the main point. What I liked most about this "door-knocking" project is that it just might give you the needed push you need to get out there and start doing something you actually enjoy...maybe even something that you obsess over (in a good way).

The common theme throughout the pages I kept finding over and over is that the main motivation for the people being interviewed was not money...it just happened to come along. Sure, money is an important reason and it should be important, but it should not be the ONLY reason you are working in that job.

This is an inspiring book that talks about people who do what they love and are willing to take chances.
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