It's never easy being rich: endless tax avoidance, the Sisyphean search for reliable domestic staff, the never-ending burden of surly stares from the Great Sea of the Unwashed as one goes about one's rightful business. Toughest of all is simply keeping track of everything one owns. There's so much of it. And personal possessions are just the beginning.
You must keep a gimlet eye, too, on the myriad people and institutions that safeguard your gilded status: politicians, newspapers, financial instruments, branches of government. They all belong to you. But staying on top of what they're up to is a full time job. What's an overstretched gazillionaire to do?
Now, with the publication of Rich People Things, the problems of our over-classes are, well, over. In a concise, easy-to-use guide, Chris Lehmann catalogs the fortifications that shelter the opulent from the resentments of the hoi polloi. From ideological stanchions such as the Free Market and the Prosperity Gospel, through the castellation of media, including The New York Times, Wired Magazine and reality television, to burly gatekeepers such as David Brooks, Steve Forbes, and Alan Greenspan, the well-to-do will find, in these pages, a comforting and comprehensive array of the protections that allow them to sleep sound at night.
For the rest of us, Lehmann's sparkling prose, at the same time pointed and whimsical, can at least provide a diverting glimpse into how the top one percent maintains an iron grip on almost half of America's financial wealth.
©2011 Chris Lehmann (P)2012 OR Books, New York