The New Elite: Inside the Minds of the Truly Wealthy [NOOK Book]

Overview

With the spotlight seemingly always on the rich and famous, it's surprising to realize just how little we really know about America's wealthiest citizens. Who are these people? How did they get "that way"? And how can we court them?

The New Elite presents the many different faces of the American rich, and highlights the diverse factors that drive and define our country's most powerful and influential class. With bracing candor and penetrating insight, the authors explode the ...

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The New Elite: Inside the Minds of the Truly Wealthy

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Overview

With the spotlight seemingly always on the rich and famous, it's surprising to realize just how little we really know about America's wealthiest citizens. Who are these people? How did they get "that way"? And how can we court them?

The New Elite presents the many different faces of the American rich, and highlights the diverse factors that drive and define our country's most powerful and influential class. With bracing candor and penetrating insight, the authors explode the stereotype of the overeducated, luxury-seeking socialite to reveal hardworking entrepreneurs; colorful eccentrics; back-against-the-wall neurotics; enlightened benefactors; and an eye-catching patchwork of social, political, and spiritual outlooks.

Based on thousands of interviews with these enigmatic millionaires and billionaires, The New Elite dissects five classes of America's rich, including those who struggle with the responsibilities and implications of serious money, those who refuse to let it change them, and those who are truly happy to define themselves by it. As demonstrated in this entertaining and enlightening look at America's "ruling class," each type profoundly influences our culture and even our economy. And it is in understanding the similarities and differences among these types that we can find the soul of American wealth, learn from it-and more important, profit from it ourselves. Love them or hate them, we certainly notice the rich (and often court them). Try as we might, we can't ignore them. Nor should we.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Marketing consultant Taylor and branding specialist Harrison mine success stories of the truly rich to learn how they acquired their fortunes, whether it has changed them and how they live their lives. Arguing that the wealthy are poorly understood by the average American, the media and marketers of high-end products, the authors contend that accurately understanding this group is critical for success in the marketing, sales, product development, branding and advertising fields. They dispel the myth that most of the rich have inherited their money and reveal the socioeconomic factors behind their self-made rises to success. Exploring how the rich spend their money and what influences their buying decisions, the authors identify the five classes of the newly wealthy with distinct reactions to the value and purpose of money-neighbors, wrestlers, patrons, mavericks and directors-groups that greatly differ in their lifestyles and financial attitudes. Charts and graphs throughout distill key data into easy-to-grasp nuggets, lending clarity to this book whose fresh take on the habits of the American economic elite will be indispensable to marketers. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher

"Charts and graphs throughout distill key data into easy-to-grasp nuggets, lending clarity to this book whose fresh take on the habits of the American economic elite will be indispensable to marketers." -- Publishers Weekly

“Great reading, even better inspiration for millionaires-to-be.”

ALA Booklist (Starred Review)

“…take heed, luxury providers: if you pay more attention to the elite customer’s history and disposition, you are more likely to stike gold.”

Time magazine

“If you are interested to marketing to the super-wealthy…try this fascinating book to tell you who they are, where they are, and what they do.”

Life Insurance Selling

“…a must-read for consumer marketers and interesting reading for the rest of us.”

Graziadio Business Report

” This book, written by Jim Taylor, Doug Harrison (marketing researchers) and Stephen Kraus (social psychologist) promises to ‘present the many different faces of the American rich.’ Love them or hate them, we certainly notice the rich (and often court them). Try as we might, we can’t ignore them. Nor should we.”

Wall Street Journal Wealth Report Blog

“Want to get inside the minds of the truly wealthy? The New Elite offers exclusive access to the ‘new financial elite’ and some surprising answers as to how they achieved their economic status.” -- QRCA Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814401774
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 9/10/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 887,080
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Doug Harrison (Waterbury, CT) founded Harrison Group Inc. in 1996 and has developed branding strategies for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Bank of America.

Jim Taylor (Waterbury, CT) is Vice President of the Harrison Group and one of the country’s most respected marketing consultants.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Today's Wealth Explosion

The Supernova and the Gravitational Pull of Money

PROVE IT

In 2004, those two words started our odyssey of crisscrossing the country to meet with some of the wealthiest individuals in America and to hear the stories of their success. Along the way, we have peered into the heart of one of the biggest explosions of wealth in history.

Those two words—prove it—have been uttered to us many times, but in this particular case, they came from Lyle Anderson. For over twenty-five years, Lyle's company has built some of the most spectacular and expensive luxury-housing developments in the world, often centered around award-winning Jack Nicklaus–designed golf courses. In 2004, Lyle was contemplating a new development with properties targeted as second or third homes for families of substantial means, and we were consulting for him on a variety of brand issues. During one of our meetings, Lyle turned to us and asked: "What will be the amenity of the future that will differentiate a property—one that hasn't been already done?" By this, Lyle meant an amenity that went beyond beaches and golf courses and club houses and innovations of architectural design. We thought about Lyle's question: The world was already awash in gated beach/golf communities. We looked at the age of the people for whom the property was targeted, the remote location, and the growing needs for health, and responded: "Put a hospital and healthcare facility on the property for the use of the residents. The hospital can provide immediate life-saving treatment if anyone has a heart attack (during the so-called "golden hour"), offer residential treatment for chronic disease, and even provide cosmetic surgeries. It can make its money on executive family physicals. It could even support emerging therapeutic DNA and homeopathic services. The hospital would not only be an attractive amenity in and of itself, particularly in a world of aging baby boomers, but also it would lessen any anxiety that some might feel about buying a home in a beautiful but slightly remote location."

After Lyle indicated that he thought the idea had some merit, we began our due diligence and examined the potential of putting such a hospital within a property. We concluded that it would cost $50 million in construction costs and another $25 million for staff housing, infrastructure equipment, and supplies. On top of that, another $10 million would be needed for an evacuation helicopter and a landing base. Given the $85 million price tag, Lyle was curious as to whether these costs could be absorbed in the price of the property lots—and whether residents would want to pay proportionately to keep the facility in the black. He considered our top-of-the-mind advice that this could be the amenity of the future, turned to us, and simply said, "Prove it."

Thus began our inquiry into the nature of wealth in America, and the beginning of a series of groundbreaking research studies. We sought not only to answer Lyle's specific question about the willingness of wealthy people to pay for amenities A, B, and C the next time they purchase a multimillion dollar home; we also sought to understand who the wealthy are—at fundamental social and psychological levels: their mind-set and lifestyles; their attitudes and values; their aspirations for themselves, their children, and the world in general.

We sought to understand how they came by their money, and how, if at all, it has changed them; whether money can buy happiness, or if it just brings a new set of challenges; whether they live loudly or quietly; whether the typical wealthy person is more like Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Paris Hilton, or none of the above; indeed, whether or not there is such a thing as a "typical" wealthy person. As market researchers, we were, of course, particularly interested in how they save, invest, and spend their money. In where they shop, what brands they like, and what luxury means to them. And whether conspicuous consumption—a term coined by economist Thorstein Veblen over 100 years ago—is a fair characterization of how they buy and live today, or if it is an unfair generalization based on media stories about an unrepresentative few.

We were, like many people, inherently curious about people who have achieved tremendous financial success, and we found their stories to be not only fascinating but also inspirational—and personally informative, as well. For example, we found that the vast majority of wealthy people today created their own wealth in their lifetimes; and we have at times used the principles that guided their success to shape our own life choices and business growth strategies. At the broadest level, this book is for anyone who shares this interest in stories of success and the desire for financial growth. This is (we hope) just about everyone, as stories of success and achievement have always captured the human imagination, from the heroic epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey, to Horatio Alger's rags-to-riches novels of the nineteenth century, to Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, to today's multibillion-dollar industries of biographies, financial how-to manuals, and self-help books.

We are also marketing professionals, and this book should hold special interest for anyone who does business (or aspires to do business) with people of considerable financial means. As the following chapters will reveal, the wealthy today are poorly understood, not only by the media and the average American but also by the professional marketer of luxury and high-end products. We'll give a number of examples highlighting how accurately understanding today's wealth dynamics is crucial for success in fields as diverse as marketing, sales, product development, branding, and advertising.

Finally, this book is for anyone interested in understanding the past, present, and future of wealth in our society and the world at large. The past quarter-century has seen a truly dramatic, and in many ways silent, shift in money throughout the world, impacting everything from everyday lifestyles and economics to business and politics. These changes have been so profound that astronomical phenomena seem to provide the only apt metaphors.

The Wealth Explosion: The Supernova and the Gravitational Pull of Money

Supernova: the explosion of a star so violent that it often outshines entire galaxies

Gravitational pull: the fundamental force by which all objects with mass attract one another

History has rarely seen an era in which so much money has been made by so few people in such a short amount of time. We'll explore later whether the poor have gotten poorer, but for now we can show that the rich have gotten much, much richer. We think of it as a supernova of wealth.

The Multimillionaire Next Door

Thomas Stanley published his groundbreaking The Millionaire Next Door in 1996, and his profile of the typical millionaire as a hard-working, frugal small-business owner still resonates. The issue today is that the population of millionaires is growing so rapidly that soon everyone may literally have a millionaire living next door to him or her. From 1983 to 2004, the population of the United States grew by about 33 percent. During that same time, after controlling for inflation, the population of millionaires grew 168 percent, those with $5 million in net worth grew 353 percent, and hecamillionaires ($10+ million) grew over 400 percent (see Figure 1-1). The explosion of wealth has been so dramatic that, although a net worth of $1 million is certainly something to which many people still aspire, it hardly qualifies as true "wealth" anymore, particularly if it includes nonliquid assets, such as one's primary residence. Some have even suggested that net worth is an outdated and irrelevant definition of the term millionaire, and if it is still to be used as descriptive of wealth it should be defined as someone having an annual income of at least $1 million.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Today's Wealth Explosion: The Supernova and the Gravitational Pull of Money     1
Debunking Paris Hilton: Why the Wealthy Told Us Their Stories     13
The Wealth of the Nation: Four Waves of American Wealth     21
There's a New Sheriff in Town: The Triumph of the Middle Class     41
Money Matters: The Myths and Realities of the Wealthy and Their Money     73
The New Luxury: The Search for Sublime Value     93
The Journey of Wealth: The Arc of Maturation     113
Flavors of Wealth: The Five Lifestyle Choices     127
Globizens: Global Citizens and the Waning of Nationalism     155
Wealtherkind: The Children of Entrepreneurial Wealth     169
The Third Age: Reinventment and Philanthrobusiness     185
The Plutonomy: When 5 Percent of the Haves Own More Than the Other 95 Percent Combined     199
A Final Word     223
Our Methodologies for Studying the Wealthy     225
Index     233
About the Authors     243
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