Book Review: Rich Like Them

Suppose you wanted to write a book about “how the other half lives.”  Well, make that how the 1-in-200 lives.  You could dig up statistics on the wealthy, chronicle those who are showy in our society, and write a book about the glamour of the well-to-do.

Now imagine that instead of doing that, you decided to start knocking on the doors of estates, and ask the owners how they achieved their august status.  For the one in four that humored your request you would learn some interesting truths that are pretty plebian.  That is the story told in “Rich Like Them.”

The author, Ryan D’Agostino spent time traveling through the 100 wealthiest zip codes in the US, getting stories from the wealthy that would give him time.  He tells the tales in the mode of a storyteller, loosely organized under five chapters, and teaching the following lessons:

  • Find opportunities that others don’t see.
  • So-called luck favors those who are prepared to profit from volatility.
  • Love what you do.  Do what you love.
  • Take risks.  If you work smart and hard, those risks will be reduced.
  • Be humble.  Realize what you can’t do, and work on what you can do.

The people he interviewed were in fairly ordinary businesses, but they conducted business in ways that added a lot of value to customers.  The interviews revealed many of them to be pretty ordinary people who were in the right place at the right time, but they put forth the effort that many would not, in order to build a successful business.

The book is discursive, structuring the story around his journeys, and around the lessons that he learned.  The author could have summarized more, as many books on business do, but given the way he decided to write the book, beating people over the head with the conclusions would not have fit the author’s style.

I liked the book, and would particularly recommend it to those that want to work for themselves, but have little idea of how to pursue that goal.

You can buy it here if you like: Rich Like Them: My Door-to-Door Search for the Secrets of Wealth in America’s Richest Neighborhoods

PS — Remember, I don’t have a tip jar, but I do do book reviews.  If you enter Amazon through a link on my site and buy things from them, I get a small commission, and you don’t pay anything extra.  If you wanted to get it anyway, it is good for both of us…