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Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the… (original 2007; edition 2008)
by Robert Frank
Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich by Robert Frank (2007)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307339262, Hardcover)The rich have always been different from you and me, but this revealing and funny journey through “Richistan” entertainingly shows that they are more different than ever. Richistanis have 400-foot-yachts, 30,000-square-foot homes, house staffs of more than 100, and their own “arborists.” They’re also different from Old Money, and have torn down blue-blood institutions to build their own shining empire.
Richistan is like the best travel writing, full of colorful and interesting stories providing insights into exotic locales. Robert Frank has been loitering on the docks of yacht marinas, pestering his way into charity balls, and schmoozing with real estate agents selling mega-houses to capture the story of the twenty-first century’s nouveau riche:
House-training the rich. People with new wealth have to be taught how to act like, well, proper rich people. Just in the nick of time, there’s been a boom in the number of newly trained butlers—“household managers”—who will serve just the right cabernet when a Richistani’s new buddies from Palm Beach stop by.
“My boat is bigger than your boat.” Only in Richistan would a 100-foot-boat be considered a dinghy. Personal pleasure craft have started to rival navy destroyers in size and speed. Richistan is also a place where friends make fun of those misers who buy the new girlfriend a mere Mercedes SLK.
“You want my money? Prove that you’re helping the needy!” Richistanis are not only consuming like crazy, they’re also shaking up the establishment’s bureaucratic, slow-moving charity network, making lean, results-oriented philanthropy an important new driving force.
Move over, Christian Coalition. Richistanis are more Democratic than Republican, “fed up and not going to take it anymore,” and willing to spend millions to get progressive-oriented politicians elected.
“My name is Mike and I’m rich.” Think that money is the answer? Think again as Robert Frank explores the emotional complexities of wealth.
And, as Robert Frank reveals, there is not one Richistan but three: Lower, Middle, and Upper, each of which has its own levels and distinctions of wealth —the haves and the have-mores. The influence of Richistan and the Richistanis extends well beyond the almost ten million households that make up its population, as the nonstop quest for status and an insatiable demand for luxury goods reshapes the entire American economy.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:28 -0400)
Imagine a country populated with nothing but millionaires. Let's call it Richistan...In this riveting book, "Wall Street Journal" reporter Robert Frank explores the lives and lifestyles of a new breed of millionaires and billionaires - many of them self-made and from blue-collar backgrounds - and how this new gilded age is affecting wider society. Profiles of 'instapreneurs', dot-com billionaires, and eccentrics from the lower and upper reaches of Richistan take us into the rarified world of people like Ed Bazinet, who became a multi-millionaire by selling miniature ceramic villages, and Tim Blixseth, who earned billions by trading remote stretches of timberland. The influence wielded by the newly wealthy goes far beyond their earning power, and Frank also explores the lifestyles developing around them (butler schools and a new type of service employee, self-help groups for people worth $10 million or more) as well as where their money is going (the commodification of the art world, the rise of 'market-driven' philanthropy). As wealth creation becomes more and more globalised, "Richistan" looks behind the glitz to find the real story of new money and its impact on the world.
(summary from another edition)
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