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All the Money in the World
Cover of All the Money in the World
All the Money in the World
How the Forbes 400 Make—and Spend—Their Fortunes
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Published to coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Forbes 400, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, the work of a team of prominent editors and business writers, goes behind the celebrated list to paint a vivid and revealing portrait of the wealthiest Americans of the past quarter century. Abundantly anecdotal, with insights gleaned from original research, interviews with Forbes 400 members, and never-before-compiled data, it shows how fortunes are made in various industries, and how, once made, they are saved, enhanced, and sometimes squandered.
From Wall Street to the West Coast, from blue-collar billionaires to blue-blood fortunes, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD gives us the lowdown on, among other things: the all-time richest Americans, who made and lost the most money, the fields and industries that have produced the greatest wealth, the biggest risk takers, the most wasteful family feuds, and the most and least generous philanthropists.
Produced in collaboration with Forbes magazine, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD is a vastly entertaining, behind-the-scenes look at today's Big Rich, a subject of enduring fascination to all Americans.
Published to coincide with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Forbes 400, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, the work of a team of prominent editors and business writers, goes behind the celebrated list to paint a vivid and revealing portrait of the wealthiest Americans of the past quarter century. Abundantly anecdotal, with insights gleaned from original research, interviews with Forbes 400 members, and never-before-compiled data, it shows how fortunes are made in various industries, and how, once made, they are saved, enhanced, and sometimes squandered.
From Wall Street to the West Coast, from blue-collar billionaires to blue-blood fortunes, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD gives us the lowdown on, among other things: the all-time richest Americans, who made and lost the most money, the fields and industries that have produced the greatest wealth, the biggest risk takers, the most wasteful family feuds, and the most and least generous philanthropists.
Produced in collaboration with Forbes magazine, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD is a vastly entertaining, behind-the-scenes look at today's Big Rich, a subject of enduring fascination to all Americans.
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    IntroductionThe Forbes 400 is the dominant symbol of wealth in America. It recalls the earlier 400 list of Mrs. Astor but differs from hers in one telling respect. Whereas the original 400 referred to the collection of socially prominent New York families who filled the ballroom of Mrs. Astor in the late nineteenth century, the Forbes index spotlights individual wealth. It measures the size of this or that personal fortune. It asks not where you came from or who you work for, but who's richer? It's the big-banana index—simple, primal, direct—and for those reasons irresistible.Malcolm Forbes, a passionate believer in fortune-making, established the list in 1982. There was nothing elitist in his ebullient approach to wealth. Forbes was unashamed by his fortune; he relished the idiosyncratic (and he knew the value of publicity in promoting his brand). His favorite form of transportation was neither the everyman's Chevy nor the aristocrat's polo pony, but a motorcycle and a hot-air balloon—both of which kept him and his eponymous magazine, Forbes, in the news. Several years before the creation of the 400 list, Forbes developed a Cost of Living Extremely Well Index (CLEWI), a cheeky riff on a traditional Cost of Living Index, which measures the price of staples. The CLEWI charted the changing prices of yachts, caviar, cigars, and private planes. Similarly, Forbes presented its 400 as celebrities, treating them the way People treated actors or Sports Illustrated home-run hitters. The reported numbers had a kind of celebrity flash: A fortune was a batting average.It seems remarkable that the Forbes 400 list, today endlessly quoted around the world, is only twenty-five years old. (B.C. Forbes, Malcolm's father and the magazine's founder, published a brief precursor of the list in 1918, naming the thirty richest Americans of the time, but it did not take hold.) The Forbes 400 is a particular product of its era, a living reflection of recent history. It captures a period of extraordinary individual and entrepreneurial energy, a time unlike the extended postwar years, from 1945 to 1982, when American society emphasized the power of corporations. The gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States has more than doubled since 1982, and may soon triple. The size of American personal fortunes has more than kept pace. In 1982 only thirteen billionaires were on the Forbes list, and you needed $75 million to make the cut. Today you must be a billionaire. In 1982 the combined net worth of the 400 represented 2.8 percent of the GDP. By 2006 that figure had risen to 9.5 percent. (The percentage actually reached 12.2 percent of the GDP in 2000, during the Internet boom.) More generally, in 2005 the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans claimed a percentage of the national income not equaled since 1928. Only the Gilded Age, the period from the Civil War to the 1890s, and the 1920s can withstand comparison to the last twenty-five years in terms of wealth accumulation.For many people (not least, before his death, Malcolm Forbes himself) the Forbes 400 represents a powerful argument—and sometimes a dream— about the social value of wealth in contemporary America. In this view, great wealth does not (at least in the United States) suggest an aristocratic or privileged group of people who inherited their positions. It means enterprising individuals, a marvelous meritocracy of money. Those who make fortunes are an ever-changing, ever-churning group of remarkable people who flourish in the land of opportunity. They bring jobs, energy, ideas, and even joy to their society. They have been responsible, in the late twentieth century, for...
About the Author-
  • Peter W. Bernstein is a veteran journalist and editor who has worked at U.S. News & World Report, Time, Newsweek, and Fortune magazines . Bernstein is the coeditor of The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything and editor of The Ernst & Young Tax Guide. He is a cofounder of ASAP Media, which helped produce Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind the Da Vinci Code. He lives in New York City.
    Annalyn Swan is a veteran journalist and editor who has worked at U.S. News & World Report, Time, Newsweek, and Fortune magazines over the last 25 years. She is a cofounder of ASAP Media, which helped produce Secrets of the Code: The Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries Behind the Da Vinci Code. Swan is the writer of De Kooning: An American Master and All the Money in the World. She lives in New York City.
    Marc Cashman was named one of the "Best Voices of the Year" by AudioFile magazine. His voice can be heard on radio, television, film, and video games. Marc also instructs voice actors through his classes, The Cashman Cache of Voice-Acting Techniques, in Los Angeles.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 3, 2007
    Two accomplished New York writers, Bernstein (coeditor of The New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything) and Swan (coauthor of Pulitzer Prize-winning bio de Kooning) delve into the Forbes 400, that august group of rich folks ranked each year since 1982 by the business magazine of the same name. Not only businessmen and women, but sports stars, entertainment figures and wealthy heirs are profiled in fascinating detail, but the authors eschew the magazine's list format for a topical taxonomy that includes "blue collar billionaires," "West Coast money," "giving it away" and, naturally, "power and politics." Among dramatic stories of cutthroat competition, outrageous spending habits, skirmishes with the law and family feuds, intriguing observations abound, such as the admonishment that "as a rule, the Forbes 400 is not for the fainthearted," but those with the fearlessness and "winner-take-all outlook" to "turn convention on its head, or destroy an old business model in the interest of a greater good and larger profits." Sidebars cover tangential topics like trophy wives, palatial homes, the small Silicon Valley town (Woodside) that's the nation's sixth wealthiest, and blurbs from the original Forbes lists. Full of colorful characters and meticulous research, this book is inspired, insightful and lots of fun.

  • AudioFile Magazine The rags-to-riches stories of America's wealthiest people, those on the "Forbes 400" list, are told in epic fashion by Rick Adamson. His voice has the quality of a movie voice-over, which keeps listeners engaged through the hundreds of anecdotes on millionaires and billionaires, bankruptcies of huge proportions, and listings of approximate net worth to the tune of billions of dollars. Listening to the biographies of the hundreds of people who have been on the "Forbes 400" since the list's inception is informative and often amusing. Adamson treats each vignette like an anecdote, told to a friend, with all the requisite pacing to build suspense. M.R. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
  • Liesl Schillinger, New York Times

    "Studded with tables, charts and sidebars, All the Money in the World is full of rags-to-riches stories and colorful anecdotes that make it as compulsively readable as best sellers like Michael Gross's 740 Park and Steven Gaines's Philistines at the Hedgerow."

  • Publishers Weekly "Fascinating . . . Intriguing . . . Full of colorful characters and meticulous research, this book is inspired, insightful and lots of fun."
  • Ron Wynn, Bookpage "Highly readable and provocative."
  • David Siegfried, Booklist "Uncovers a plethora of facts and figures about the superrich. . . goes behind the numbers to study their personalities and psychology, in essence revealing what makes them tick . . . providing enough charts, graphs, and comparisons to satisfy any statistician, and enough gossip on ruthlessness, risk-taking, family squabbles, and scandalous affairs to satisfy the rest of us."
  • Caroline Geck, Library Journal "Fascinating . . . The text is enhanced by 102 interesting and often humorous sidebars and an alphabetically organized appendix that lists all Forbes 400 members past and present, including each member's number of years on the list, year of highest net worth, and peak net worth."
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All the Money in the World
All the Money in the World
How the Forbes 400 Make—and Spend—Their Fortunes
Peter W. Bernstein
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