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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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