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The New Elite: Inside the Minds of the Truly Wealthy Hardcover – September 10, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Marketing consultant Taylor and branding specialist Harrison mine success stories of the truly rich to learn how they acquired their fortunes, whether it has changed them and how they live their lives. Arguing that the wealthy are poorly understood by the average American, the media and marketers of high-end products, the authors contend that accurately understanding this group is critical for success in the marketing, sales, product development, branding and advertising fields. They dispel the myth that most of the rich have inherited their money and reveal the socioeconomic factors behind their self-made rises to success. Exploring how the rich spend their money and what influences their buying decisions, the authors identify the five classes of the newly wealthy with distinct reactions to the value and purpose of money—neighbors, wrestlers, patrons, mavericks and directors—groups that greatly differ in their lifestyles and financial attitudes. Charts and graphs throughout distill key data into easy-to-grasp nuggets, lending clarity to this book whose fresh take on the habits of the American economic elite will be indispensable to marketers. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Whom would you label as “truly wealthy”? According to market researchers Taylor and Doug Harrison, who have studied more than 6,000 individuals in four years, the answer is a cool $5 million in liquid assets. But that’s where the commonalities end. Emphasizing their roots in marketing science, the authors spin a fascinating, statistically illustrated narrative of the—surprise!—hardworking, middle-class small-business owners, beginning with a retrospective of the four historical phases of American wealth creation: agrarian, industrial, corporate, and entrepreneurial. They delve into shopping and acquisition tendencies, discuss offspring’s attitudes toward work and wealth, and validate the growing philanthropy of the wealth boomers. Yet differences exist, as in their five lifestyle typologies: neighbors, who don’t change their lives; wrestlers, dealing with paradoxes; mavericks, using the motto “In Me I Trust”; directors, who consider money as essential to living the good life; and patrons, giving back to civilization. Throughout, the charts and percentages are enlivened with real-people stories, including Jim McCann, head of 1-800-FLOWERS, who realized $20 million after the company’s IPO. Great reading, even better inspiration for millionaires-to-be. --Barbara Jacobs

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (September 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814400485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814400487
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It has been said that the wealthy are different. Well, not so much. In fact, according the in-depth study done by the authors of this book, the wealthy came not from wealth but from middle class backgrounds. They therefore have all of the middle class ethics and needs, wants and desires.

Yet within the wealthy, there are differences. From first becoming wealthy to having had wealth over a decade or more, money brings different meaning to the groups within the wealthy.

If you're a marketer, you should read this book. I came to it as someone who makes a living understanding different groups and how to sell to them. To that end, I got a good deal of useful information from the book.

You'll learn what they read, what they buy, how they feel about their wealth and money in general. You'll learn far more about them by reading this book than anything you might see on television.

It is full of research. It has lots of facts and figures and very little editorializing, which I like. This is by far the most interesting and best written book on this subject that I've read and I highly recommend it to you.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
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Format: Hardcover
You are likely in for a shock when you read this well written and well researched book on the rich. Donald Trump and Paris Hilton are the image many people hold of the elite. But the research reveals the very wealthy are quite different from these images.

First off, there has been an explosion in the number of the wealthy, not only in the US, but world wide. And having a net worth of one million only puts you in the affluent range; you need at least 5 million to have arrived at real wealth.

Most interesting is the research into what the wealthy are like compared to the beliefs of marketeers. Marketeers believe only about half of the very wealthy are married; the truth is that 83% are. And while fully 48% of the wealthy consider luxury items such as expensive watches and cars as a "waste of money" (p 19), marketeers think only 18% of the very wealthy would agree.

Further shocks: about 36% grew up in either poverty or lower middle class circumstances. Both the wealthy and the children of the wealthy believe strongly in hard work, in school and later. And they like to shop at places like Walmart and Target. The very wealthy named Ralph Lauren and MAC cosmetics as among their favorite brands, brands which are available in most malls.

The area that has seen the biggest growth in the wealthy is in Africa. The area that has seen the least growth is Europe (p 157). In the US,so many people are now well off, if not wealthy, that luxury has pervaded the US. "Once exotic items, such as sushi and refined organic products, are now found on grocery store shelves" (p 94).

Full of eye opening information.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've spent the last 18 months researching academic journals, scientific and popular literature about how those who achieve the top 5% of wealth end up where they are. I've gone through three dozen books, of which four were quite good and the others were brutally poor.

The New Elite by Taylor, Harrison and Kraus stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The book serves two broad purposes.

1) You learn how wealthy people think and who they really are.
2) You learn the fundamentals of how they will perceive your marketing to them. (Are they interested in what you have to sell?)

Either of the two is a good enough resaon to pick up and devour this book.

THK have undertaken their own research which asks all the right questions. Their analysis is spot on and what readers of every income bracket can gain from what is here could be life changing.

This is not a self help/how to be successful book. It does not set out to accomplish that, but if you simply read between the lines...

Five stars.

Kevin Hogan
Author of The Science of Influence
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Format: Hardcover
This book about wealthy Americans is very interesting and well written, so I was able to breeze through it in only two days. Illustrating wealth concentration (which is particularly high in the US), the top 1% of Americans (about 1 million households) own 34% of US wealth and are defined in this book as "wealthy"; they typically have at least $5 million in net worth (excluding their primary home) or have at least $500,000 annual discretionary income. The top 5% (about 6 million households) own 60% of US wealth and are defined as "affluent"; they typically have at least $1 million in net worth (excluding their primary home) or have at least $125,000 annual discretionary income.

The main research method of the authors was to interview thousands of wealthy people who were willing to talk with them at length. This raises significant concern about their sample being nonrepresentative, since willingness to talk with interviewers can select for people with particular backgrounds and motives, and moreover the information they provide may not necessarily be accurate or unbiased. In addition, if you'd like to use this book to discover how to become wealthy, there's also the general caution that the traits of wealthy people aren't necessarily causes of their wealth, since some traits may be largely shared with non-wealthy people or may be *effects* rather than causes of wealth. With these major caveats in mind, here are the key findings from the book (accordingly, to be taken with a grain of salt):

(1) More than 90% of the wealthy come from middle-class backgrounds and thus attain their wealth themselves rather than inheriting it.
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