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The High-Beta Rich: How the Manic Wealthy Will Take Us to the Next Boom, Bubble, and Bust

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  164 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The rich are not only getting richer, they are becoming more dangerous. Starting in the early 1980s the top one percent (1%) broke away from the rest of us to become the most unstable force in the economy. An elite that had once been the flat line on the American income charts - models of financial propriety - suddenly set off on a wild ride of economic binges.      
ebook, 256 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30)
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La Petite Américaine
I'll admit it: I bought this book for the schadenfreude. I skimmed over the financial stats and took particular glee in reading about people going from billionaire to bankrupt overnight in the 2008 financial crisis. My favorite examples? A toss-up between the former billionaire who could no longer pay her phone bill and had to learn to do her own dishes, and the wife of a guy who when from $8 billion to $100 million overnight, who then had to cope with the "trauma" of flying commercial after the ...more
Mar 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, finance
The High Beta Rich is more than a series of entertaining gossipy stories about the rise and fall of fortunes. But it isn't much more. Robert Frank touches on the problems of wealth concentration and an increasingly volatile boom/bust economy, but he doesn't offer hope for the future beyond quoting competing sound bites from a few politicians. I'd hoped for some sort of path away from more for the wealthy and less for everyone else.

Frank points out that there is quite a bit of turnover in the to
Everyday eBook
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Everyday by: Paul Lamb
Despite the tremendous attention surrounding the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in downtown Manhattan, you might continue to scratch your head in beginning to figure out just what exactly these demonstrators want. In some instances, it’s a ‘perp walk’ from Wall Street, so their eyes can feast upon CEOs as they hit the ground, their golden parachutes crumpled in heaps beside the tents and trees in Zuccotti Park. Perhaps they want a public mea culpa of all the wrongdoing that’s undone our natio ...more
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, business
I've never read a non-fiction book, cover to cover, in one afternoon... until this book.

The very rich are not living frugally - they are consuming very conspicuously and borrowing a lot of money to do it. What that means is that they do much better than the 99% of us when times are good and they lose more when times are bad.

Most of us aren't going to cry if someone's 100 billion dollar net worth turns into 50 billion. But it does have repercussions for us - state tax coffers will be much less in
Christopher Litsinger
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books, like Predictably Irrational or Fast Food Nation that gets under your skin and you can't stop talking about. While Frank's writing had a few annoying ticks ("Consider the story of the xx family" got a bit old after a while) overall this was a terrifying and fascinating book, covering the story of the win-it-all-lose-it-all wealthy from lots of interesting angles: talking to many rich and formerly rich people as well as butlers and high-end repo men.
I didn't always agre

This is a very interesting book with an intriguing central idea. The 1% and upper 0.1% of the USA have greatly increased their share of wealth in the US economy AND the volatility of that wealth. As a result, the up and downs of this small but increasingly wealthy segment of the economy may introduce more volatility into the overall economy. Mr. Frank uses numerous stories including that of Tim Blixeth and the time share king of Florida to illustrate his points. How their sudden expansion of we
Oct 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
A so so book. I had read "Richistan" by the same author and happened to pick this book up also. So we learn the rich are dwindling but making more than ever. And of the wide ups and downs that we have witnessed over the past several decades.

Beyond the stories of real life folks who experienced these rides not a great deal to learn here. Other than we can expect more of the same as we settle to a future of perpetual bust for many and ups and downs for the lucky few.
Nov 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knowledge-nf, 2012
It was an interesting read, I'll at least give it that.

It tells the stories of various members of the "High-Beta Rich". Back in the day, the mega wealthy were the most conservative of investors, so any dip in the market tended to affect them less (as a percentage). However, now the wealthy are getting rich through one-time liquidity events (selling off their large family business or cashing out in a humongous IPO) and with this huge influx of new wealth, they are buying and investing stupidly. A
Nathan Glenn
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a great followup to Richistan which, besides telling interesting stories about the rich and those associated with them, shows how terrible financial habits of a few million millionaires messes with the economy, the government, and Americans in general.
High-beta refers to the fact that the wealth of the American wealth is very unstable and largely based on speculation. It is risky to depend on it since its value varies quickly and wildly.
Basically since the Reagan era a culture of showy
Mar 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: opinion, non-fiction
The best part of this book is the stories of the ultra-rich who've lost tons of money, or as Frank named them in his previous book the members of Richistan. There's definitely a feeling of Schadenfreude that the reader gets upon hearing about all these poor wealthy folks who have to lay off their servants (poor them) and learn how to pump gas and clean house. Yet there are a few multimillionaires whom I like, such as Frank Anderson, who drives a five-year-old SUV and lives in a modest house with ...more
Ron Jensen
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I expected this to be a political bashing of the rich, but it was much different. It contained a lot of interesting, mostly sympathetic stories of rich people who lost everything, rich people who live conservatively, and people such as the jet plane repo men who make a good living off the fallen rich. The depiction of Aspen and the changes it has gone through was one of the most interesting parts of the book. The basic thesis, that the economy of the US and many other developed countries is domi ...more
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Good, not great, book about the increasingly volatile nature of the wealthy in America and how their spending habits and saving practices are actually worse than everyone else's not better. Frank writes about the wealthy for the WSJ and he takes a fair tone to this book which could be handled with either a condescending or fawning tone by the wrong writer. The main critique is that it feels like it was written by journalist who had more material than needed for an article but not quite enough to ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book for understanding the changing character of wealth in the Western world. You can read this for the stories of the wealthy being stupid or to help understand the implications of high beta wealth. Although Frank identifies many of the problems high-beta wealth creates, he leaves more (but not all) to the reader when it comes to solutions.
Jared Tipton
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For anyone wanting to really understand the real facts behind today's creation of wealth, you need to read this absolutely fascinating book. Understanding the boom-bust volatility of today's 1% can help us make better decisions in our own financial lives knowing how we all are impacted. A totally compelling read.
Lance Wiggs
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very easy read, and a disturbing look at how many of the new wealthy are idiots with their money, and our economy. The good news is that they are often the former wealthy later in the book. Some good messages their for prudent life styles, and putting actually making stuff ahead of financial shenanigans for true wealth accumulation and security.
Apr 03, 2012 rated it liked it
A look at a new type of wealthy person, the high-beta rich as Robert Frank calls them, whose wealth is more volatile, and therefore, has a lot more impact all through the economy, both good and bad. I particularly enjoyed the case studies of individuals with this kind of wealth and the opulent, over-the-top lifestyle they assumed, and then in many cases, lost. A bit of schadenfreude I guess!
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-problems
I read Frank's first book and hoped there was a sequel. This one was able to answer so many more of my questions about the impact of the rich on the global economy and American society. I like that Frank seems to write with a non-partisan voice, it's a sign of good journalism. Also, the book is a fast read and is as interesting as a novel.
Diane Patterson
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Fabulous look at the rollercoaster ride our economy, society, and culture has gone on as a result of the massive wealth being accrued by the top 1% of the population -- a population, btw, that is not stable, but is itself always in flux. Really lovely look at the ups and downs of the superrich and the effects that don't trickle down but wash down like a tsunami over everyone else.
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
interesting/fascinating/easy to read/ wow
I advise reading his first book "Richistan (5*)" so that you are clued into some of the characters.

makes me want to be rich without the 30,000 feet mansion. You know -- comfortably rich.
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very accessible, though provoking and well-reasoned analysis of the way that volatility in the wealthiest sectors of society is contributing to continued problems in the economy and government. A great followup to his previous book, Richistan.
Jul 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
great overview of how the rich survived and fared in the great recession. In case, you know, you were worried about them. Still, though, a fascinating read, and a good companion to Frank's other book about the wealthy, Richistan. This is a sequel of sorts.
Nancy Bradli
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very well-articulated position on why we are in for more boom and bust cycles in our economy and why they will get worse. I highly recommend this book.
Tai Tai
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
think twice, the rich have it well but its a "monkey's paw"
Eric Sondermann
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good book written by a close friend of my business partner (who gets a prominent acknowledgement). Builds on his previous (and perhaps slightly more compelling) book, Richistan.
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book which describe the high volatility their wealth encounters and how it affects our economy.
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Easy to read, interesting, new information, at least to me. Seems like we should all
know these insider details about how we are getting screwed.
Michael D
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. Illuminating. A peephole into the lives of the nouveaux riche and the growing hazards their leveraged, high-beta fortunes create for communities, economies and civic life.
Jim O'shaughnessy
Jan 26, 2012 rated it liked it
A somewhat interesting look at how the rich in America are suffering from much greater income volatility than others.
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, sweet schadenfreude! This is a great sequel to his earlier book entitled _Richistan_. The reader/performer is also excellent.
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 411 on how the 1% live
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