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Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich Paperback – June 24, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
"Richistan" is a colloquial term Frank uses to describe the booming numbers of wealthy. Starting in the late 1980s, there has been a doubling or tripling of the number of wealthy households in the US, currently at over 9 million with $1 million or more in net assets. Within this "nation within a nation" there is a class system, with the "lower class" rich (or "merely affluent") in the 1-10 million net worth range, the "middle class" rich in the 10-100 range and the "upper class" rich in the 100-1 billion range. The billionaires, estimated to be about 1000 strong in the US, are in a separate group entirely. Each of these groups have distinct spending patterns and investment goals. 90% of these new rich came from middle or lower class backgrounds and everything about them is different from the stereotypes of the "old" rich: how they made their money, how they spend it, how they give it away.
Frank's book is both easy reading and hard to put down. I listened to the audiobook version, going through the 7 hours in "no time". Although educational, this is also a very funny book. The audio greatly enhances the humor as the narrator has perfect timing and change of voice, many times I was laughing out loud, yet at the same time going "ah-ha!". A rare treat.
Frank does a comprehensive job in explaining how the rich live, but it is of note that so many Richistanis, when asked if they have enough money, say "no". If you have $20 million you think you need $40 million. He offers another excellent chapter on how many of the rich aren't any happier with all their money, with many of them being more miserable. But his best point is that the super-rich have created a class unto themselves, and towns like Greenwich, which has a sustainable middle class, will itself, in the future, become even more separated between rich and poor. It's a sobering look. I highly recommend "Richistan".... it's a terrific exposé and an eye-opener as well.
The people of Richistan did not inherit their wealth, it was earned, sometimes quite quickly, for others it was a steady rise to billionaire status. What this book gives its readers are sharp and humorous obervations on how they made their money and how it has changed their lives, for better and/or worse. For instance, read why it now takes five people to kill a renegade mouse in a big house instead of one...
Similarly, the author then takes a look at the different industries and jobs that so much money in the U.S. has spawned. For example, the founder of the Starkey Institute for Household Management (aka: Butler School) wouldn't be where she is today if it weren't for the labor shortage of 20th century butlers. Then there's the need for private chefs, an army of nannies, housekeepers, pilots and executive assistants.
And where does a mega-billionaire go on vacation? How does he find a spot that will guarantee his total security and privacy? Richistan will tell you about the man who answered these questions and built a quasi "time share" business for islands instead of condos...plus you'll read about the billionaires who go there and how they spend their vacations.
It really is addictive stuff and a great beach book for the Summer. For self-confessed business junkies who enjoy reading about mega-successful business people, and how they got to where they are - this is a must-read, because you get all of that and so much more.
They own 500-foot yachts, for one thing.
For another, they own watches that are more expensive than a Rolls Royce. They hire "household managers", uber-butlers who double as managerial major domos, to run their vast, sprawling estates, and when they buzz their Household Manager to have Jeevesy 'bring the car around', they're probably talking about their 1.1 million dollar Bugatti Veyron or 750K McClaren Mercedes supercar---or if they're in a downscale mood, maybe it'll just be the Maybach.
You know, to slum around in.
As Bob Dylan (himself, by now, no doubt a 'Richistani') once sang "The Times they are a-Changing"---though not the way Dylan and his hippy brethren might have imagined. We find ourselves in an era of ostentatious wealth, in a time when the Forbes 400 is made up solely of billionaires, in a time when the rich are getting richer---much richer, fabulously richer!---and the rest of us? Well, forget about it.
That's the ostensible subject of Robert Frank's book "Richistan", which, on the whole, is a light, airy, engaging little fluff-piece that takes the reader from one enclave of Richies to another: from a Palm Beach Red Cross fundraiser to Butler Boot Camp in Colorado, from a man who made his fortune building teensy little ceramic villages to the grinding account of a tech billionaire who lost his entire fortune during the Dot Com bust, from billionaire philanthropy to what Frank calls a 'new Rich man's politics'.
Frank, in his introduction, bills his little survey of the uber-wealthy as a work of anthropology: get in, take lots of pictures, ask a lot of questions, boogie out, research report in hand.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The thing is, whenever I read this guy writing about richies, I get the feeling his other hand's where it shouldn't be. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sparky Malone
Pros: It was kind of fascinating to see how the nouveau riche make their fortunes and how they spend it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by dreambeliever
It gives us a glimpse of lives of the super-rich, and also provided some insights of the future trends, which are essential to everyone serious in wealth building.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Robert Frank went to great lengths to gather so many stories about many remarkable individuals. Truly worth reading to be inspired to do great things.Published 9 months ago by Liudas
Delighted with my purchase. The book arrived as described by the Seller and it arrived ahead of schedule. Couldn't be happier.Published 10 months ago by Norman Eng
I loved this book! It is a little out of date but the stories are terrific. I recommend it even if you are a citizen of Richistan.Published 15 months ago by George F. Reinhart