Good Minds Suggest—Mohsin Hamid's Favorite Rags-to-Riches Stories

Posted by Goodreads on March 4, 2013
Move to the city, get an education, and whatever you do, don't fall in love! Mohsin Hamid's spirited narrator offers all you ambitious readers practical advice in the novel How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. Told in the second person, which mimics the style and pluck of self-help books, this work of fiction follows a village kid in an unnamed South Asian city (based loosely on Hamid's home of Lahore, Pakistan) who grows up to head a bottled water empire. Along the way he finds that success in the turbulent developing world comes at a moral price. Now on his third novel, Hamid enjoys playing fast and loose with narrative form and point of view, as shown in both his 2002 debut, Moth Smoke, and his 2007 best-seller, The Reluctant Fundamentalist. He shares his favorite rags-to-riches (or riches-to-rags) stories with Goodreads.

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
"This epic traces the decline of the Sicilian aristocracy at a time of political and economic upheaval. A ravishing novel, it leaves us with a famous sentence that will forever encapsulate the plight of old money: 'If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.'"

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"The ultimate American account of a nobody's rise to wealth, set in New York City and Long Island as the Roaring Twenties are about to slip into the Great Depression. Formally inventive, painstakingly brief, and emotionally devastating, this is a masterpiece."

Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
"Presenting itself as a short poem and a long series of footnotes, this book upends everything you thought a novel could do. Welcome to the wackiness of a lowly academic in small-town America who (perhaps) grew up as a prince of Zembla."

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
"This great immigrant narrative is many things at once: fable, oral history, memoir. It tells of moving to another country in pursuit of a better life and also of rediscovering riches left behind in a place of supposed poverty. Groundbreaking."

Dune by Frank Herbert
"This sci-fi classic is, if not quite a tale of 'rags to riches,' at least one of 'small-time space nobleman to all-powerful galactic emperor.' I read it again and again as a teenager. Unusual, among other things, for its parched desert setting and many Bedouin-like heroes, it is interesting to consider in light of political events today."

Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best Rags-to-Riches Stories

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura I would add the new book "Me Before You." Not meant to be a rags-to-riches story but it certainly is. And how about "Rules of Civility?"

message 2: by Lynn (new)

Lynn Johnson American Tragedy by Dreiser

message 3: by Richness (new)

Richness The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo

message 4: by Pablo (new)

Pablo Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
by Steven Millhauser.

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