From Publishers Weekly
When Frank, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal
, began noticing that the ranks of America's wealthy had more than doubled in the last decade, and that they were beginning to cluster together in enclaves, he decided to investigate this new society, where $1 million barely gets you in the door. The Richistanis like to consider themselves ordinary people who just happen to have tons of money, but they live in a world where people buy boats just to carry their cars and helicopters behind their primary yachts, and ordering an alligator-skin toilet seat won't make even your interior designer blink. But Frank doesn't just focus on conspicuous consumption. He talks to philanthropists who apply investment principles to their charitable contributions and political fund-raisers who have used their millions to transform the Colorado state legislature. He also meets people for whom sudden wealth is an emotional burden, whose investment club meetings can feel like group therapy sessions. It's only in the final pages that Frank contemplates the widening gap between Richistan and the rest of the world—for the most part, his grand tour approach never loses its light touch. (June)
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Frank, a Wall Street Journal columnist, observes the unprecedented rise of wealth in the U.S., which has essentially created a new country, here dubbed Richistan, with a net worth of $1$10 million in over 7 million households, $10$100 million in over 1.4 million households, and $100 million to $1 billion in thousands of households, plus more than 400 billionaires. Stemming from the rise of financial markets, new technology, and a freer flow of goods and information, this river of money courses around the world, seeking investments not only in stocks but in hedge funds, private-equity funds, and venture capital. Conducting extensive interviews, the author tells stories of these wealthy individuals, neither deifying nor denigrating them. With emphasis placed here on the increasing gap between the wealthy, middle class, and poor, we also learn about the challenges to society of this great disparity, the responsibility that this abundant wealth carries, and Frank's hope that some of this enormous pool of money will be used to solve widespread social problems. Excellent book. Whaley, Mary Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved