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While academics frequently conduct research to try to unlock the secrets of garnering great wealth, Esquire editor D'Agostino took a more direct-and more entertaining-route: he picked the 20 wealthiest neighborhoods in America and went door to door, garnering interviews with 50 very wealthy, very different individuals-including doctors, art dealers, real estate moguls and one shrimp-peeling-machine manufacturer. Many of the author's subjects confessed that they have been less motivated by a drive for wealth than a desire for a certain lifestyle, an obsession with a certain field and a need for independence, and that focus, passion and street smarts have contributed more to their success than luck or any formal training. Several of his interviewees leveraged their success through reinvestment, often in real estate, raising the question of how well their net worths have survived in the current credit crunch. While D'Agostino freely admits that his sample is far from scientific, weighted heavily to friendly people who happened to be at home when he went calling, his debut is witty and inspiring. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.