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"The Rich and How They Got That Way"

"In a series of portraits that are intended to enlighten readers not only about the particular traits of the wealthy but also about their characteristics over the centuries, Crossen, a senior editor at the Wall Street Journal and author of Tainted Truth, examines the lives of 10 extraordinarily affluent people from before the Middle Ages to the present. Among the most engaging figures are Machmud of Ghazni, who tortured his tax collector when the man couldn't wring any more money out of Machmud's subjects, and John Law, who supported himself as a gambler while he learned banking and finance. Perhaps the most intriguing chapter describes Hetty Green, known as the "witch of Wall Street" for her frugality and her amazing ability to choose profitable stocks. Outside her investments, Green was a miserable woman whose only son had to have his leg amputated because she refused to pay for proper medical care. Although Crossen sketches the historical overview of each period and discusses broad economic trends, the book remains a scattered collection of brief biographies. The book's title seems to promise that readers will learn what it takes to be rich; however, the lessons of these stories--greed, frugality, selfishness--are all too obvious. (July) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc."
--From "Publishers Weekly"

Crossen, Cynthia. The Rich and How They Got That Way: How the Wealthiest People of All Time - from Genghis Khan to Bill Gates - Made Their Fortunes, (Paperback) Simon & Schuster: Free Press, 2006.

--Rolf Dobelli
--October 24, 2001
--Luzern Switzerland

"Cynthia Crossen presents a one-thousand-year pageant of fortune, focusing on how nine wealthy men - and one woman - gained and kept their wealth. Each person symbolizes an era, and a means of amassing money. Crossen combines their biographies with a discussion of the historical trends that contributed to the changing sources of wealth - from the ancient days when thievery and conquest were the way to riches to the times when trade, manufacturing and new technologies provided the roads to wealth. The book provides a fascinating and leisurely overview of history, as well as a glimpse of the lives of these wealthy people. The discussion sometimes wanders in time and place, with asides comparing different time periods. We [...] recommend this engaging, briskly written book to executives, managers and anyone fascinated by wealth, history or both."

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