Wealth Creators

Roy C. Smith, Author
Roy C. Smith, Author Truman Talley Books $27.5 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-27259-3
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4299-8089-0
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Rather than focusing on the personalities of the rich or how they spend their fortunes, Smith zeroes in on how they made their money to begin with. In 75 thumbnail sketches of some well-known billionaires (and a few anonymous millionaires), he explains how they leveraged their capital, brand names or business innovations to create bulging bank accounts. Eschewing biographical details and psychological insights, Smith concentrates on financial mechanics. For example, readers don't just learn that Citigroup CEO Sanford Weill made most of his money from stock options, they are treated to a detailed discussion of the stock option-reload plan in his contract. The entry on Michael Jordan ignores his achievements on the basketball court and emphasizes a statistical argument that shows why his endorsement value has been so high. Subjects, including Michael Bloomberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ron Perelman and Tiger Woods are divided into five categories: entrepreneurs, deal makers, investors, tycoons and entertainers, prefaced by explanations about the economics of each field. Interlaced with the case studies is Smith's fact-filled argument that social forces of the late 1970s opened up the possibility of creating enormous wealth, and that the subjects of this book are just extreme examples within the broader trend. However, this larger argument isn't bold enough, nor are his profiles engrossing enough, to satisfy those hoping to learn secret paths to instant wealth or to discover titillating gossip about superrich celebrities. (Feb.)
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