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Eat the Rich Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

4.1 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What is it that makes one person rich and another poor? It's a tough question and not one generally suited to laughs, but P.J. O'Rourke--in the audio version of his ironic and insightful book, Eat the Rich--is a master at finding humor in the most unlikely places. Here he travels from Wall Street to Russia, Hong Kong to Cuba on an immensely entertaining quest for economic enlightenment. It's an educational journey wrapped in hilarity, which is especially enjoyable when heard in the surprisingly deep, resonant voice of the author himself. (Running time: three hours, two cassettes) --George Laney

From Publishers Weekly

Having chewed up and spat out the politically correct (All the Troubles in the World) and the U.S. government (Parliament of Whores), O'Rourke takes a more global tack. Here, he combines something of Michael Palin's Pole to Pole, a soupcon of Swift's A Modest Proposal and Keynsian garnish in an effort to find out why some places are "prosperous and thriving while others just suck." Stymied by the "puerile and impenetrable" prose of condescending college texts, O'Rourke set forth on a two-year worldwide tour of economic practice (or mal-). He begins amid the "moil and tumult" of Wall Street ("Good Capitalism") before turning to dirt-poor Albania, where, in an example of "Bad Capitalism," free market is the freedom to gamble stupidly. "Good Socialism" (Sweden) and "Bad Socialism" (Cuba) are followed by O'Rourke's always perverse but often perversely accurate take on Econ 101 ("microeconomics is about money you don't have, and macroeconomics is about money the government is out of"). Four subsequent chapters reportedly offer case studies of economic principles, except that Russia, Tanzania, Hong Kong and Shanghai all seem to prove that economic theory is just that. There's lots of trademark O'Rourke humor ("you can puke on the train," he says of a trip through Russia, "you can cook tripe on alcohol stoves and make reeking picnics of smoked fish and goat cheese, but you can't smoke"). There's also the feeling that despite (or maybe because of) his lack of credentials, he's often right. O'Rourke proves that money can be funny without being counterfeit. 150,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; 26-city author tour. (Sept.) FYI: Also available as a Random House audio, $18
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Abridged edition (September 22, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375404821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375404825
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,645,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I got hooked on P.J. O'Rourke through his work in "Rolling
Stone." Each of his books have usually just been expanded
versions of his gonzo-style of journalism. He is definitely the sick
love child of Hunter S. Thompson (another "Rolling Stone"
family member) and Dave Barry--of course with a twist of Rush
Limbaugh's conservatist flare. His dry wit is interlaced with a keen
eye for the bizarre. He has attacked politicians and Congress in
"Parliament of Whores" (still his best book to date) and the
"hawks" and "doves" in "Give War a
Chance" (enjoyable though not as memorable). This time he takes
on economists who apparently win Nobel prizes simply by boring the
most people. However, he does this by actually bouncing around the
globe, from Wall Street to Havana. And Albania to Hong Kong. And
several other points in between.
He gets deep into a
country. Immersing himself within society itself to develop his theory
of why a country's economic ills are what they are. This is usually
done by attending the local watering holes. If anything else is
redeeming to an O'Rourke work, it's certain that you will always walk
away with an unquenchable urge to have a stiff drink--or maybe
four.
O'Rourke examines and compares several societies and
countries that exhibit the most free of the free market (Hong Kong) or
the country with "good" socialism (Sweden) and
"bad" socialism (Cuba) and several other nations like
Tanzania, Albania and Russia. As well as the U.S. and Shanghai.
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Format: Hardcover
I have never met P. J. O'Rourke, though I've always wanted to. (We probably wouldn't get along, as I don't drink much and wear a hat.) So I have no reason to say this other than the fact that it's true: He is the funniest man on Earth.
It's my contention that humor that is *about* something is far funnier than humor that is nothing more than a grab-bag of exaggerations and incongruities, Dave Barry style. Dave Barry is good--I have all his books too--but every time I get another one, I have this feeling that I've heard all these jokes before. Only the words are different.
P. J. O'Rourke's books are almost always about something--GIVE WAR A CHANCE was about the Gulf War, mostly--that matters. War matters, even dumb wars like Vietnam, though they don't all matter the same way. ALL THE TROUBLE IN THE WORLD was about a lot of things that matter in a hurtful sort of way, though the king on that throne is bad government. The significance of the subject matter is what makes the humor so pointed--the absurdities of the Gulf War are far funnier than talking about pigeons letting go on some slob's head.
So in his latest volume P. J. takes on economics. This matters more than anything else on Earth, pretty much, because life on Earth is about work and wealth and what's for supper. I never learned economics because it's taught by men who are basically mummies without the wrappings. The books are unreadable, the graphs devoid of any connection to the real world. Finally, 25 years after getting out of school, I find an economics book by a guy who's still breathing. Furthermore, it's so painfully funny that two days later it's etched so firmly in my head I can still remember nearly all the points he made.
Many of these points are made in the course of P. J.
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed reading the book; it made me laugh even though much of the humor was too flippant and occasionally annoying when he passed off yet another of his pet opinions as the obvious truth.

The major drawback of the book is that it is clear that the author already had his conclusions in mind before he set foot in any of the countries he visited, and he saw everything the way he knew it had to be. I don't even disagree with most of his points, but it bothered me that he was clearly sifting through a mountain of evidence to find the bits that support his point of view. He glossed over many, many "troublesome" points -- eg the free market that he holds up as the best thing for humanity ever invented... isn't even very free; he soundly thrashes the strawman of fairness while ignoring stability, invisible costs, and other pesky drawbacks; and he doesn't mention that no truly free market ever manages to stay that way.
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By A Customer on September 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
As supply increases prices fall; the demand curve moves in inverse proportion to supply; and economics is as dry as the bleached bones of Adam Smith. At least that is what you were lead to believe by that stringy-haired Marxist who taught ECON101. In his humorous, pointed and informative treatise, "Eat the Rich", P. J. O'Rourke has contravened at least one rule of economics - He has established that it is by no means boring. Indeed he has elevated it to a spectator sport.
In "Eat the Rich" O'Rourke builds economic theory from keen observation of various governmental, social and economic systems. He begins with the bustling center of American capital, Wall Street, where he vividly describes the chaos inherent in the capitalist system. In the course of his exposition of the money capitol, he notes that he found the one thing he never expected to find, "Transcendent Bliss". Yet transcendent bliss does not seem so far out of line when one considers that John Locke, an eighteenth century political philosopher, concluded that the right to property was the guarantor of liberty, and Thomas Jefferson took the notion a step further equating it with happiness. While O'Rourke clearly expounds such economic truisms he manages to avoid the ponderous philosophic explanations constraining most commentators.
From Wall Street "Eat the Rich" visits Albania, Sweden, Russia, Tanzania and Cuba. The description of each country is on-the-mark. In his description of Moscow, for example, he notes, "The traffic signals are timed to let three battalions of crack airborne troops and a hundred missile launchers through before the yellow caution light comes on.
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