Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich

Robert Frank, Author . Crown $24.95 (277p) ISBN 978-0-307-33926-3

W hen Frank, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal , began noticing that the ranks of America’s wealthy had more than doubled in the last decade, and that they were beginning to cluster together in enclaves, he decided to investigate this new society, where “$1 million barely gets you in the door.” The “Richistanis” like to consider themselves ordinary people who just happen to have tons of money, but they live in a world where people buy boats just to carry their cars and helicopters behind their primary yachts, and ordering an alligator-skin toilet seat won’t make even your interior designer blink. But Frank doesn’t just focus on conspicuous consumption. He talks to philanthropists who apply investment principles to their charitable contributions and political fund-raisers who have used their millions to transform the Colorado state legislature. He also meets people for whom sudden wealth is an emotional burden, whose investment club meetings can feel like group therapy sessions. It’s only in the final pages that Frank contemplates the widening gap between Richistan and the rest of the world—for the most part, his grand tour approach never loses its light touch. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/23/2007
Release date: 06/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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