Discover how the superwealthy made it to the top (and you can too!)

From the richest Romans to the robber barons to today’s bankers and tech billionaires, Sam Wilkin offers Freakonomics-esque insights into what it really takes to make a fortune. These stories of larger-than-life characters, strategies, and sacrifices reveal how the wealthiest did it, usually by a passion for finding loopholes, working around bureaucratic systems, and creating obstacles to competitors.

Wealth Secrets of the One Percent gets at the heart of our feelings about the 1% of top income earners and the roughly 0.0001% who achieve billionaire status: we love to hate them, but we’d love to be them. Wilkin’s insight into the sources of wealth is thought-provoking and rigorous, and he reveals that behind almost every great fortune is a “wealth secret” — a moneymaking technique designed to defeat the forces of market competition.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"Want to become "obscenely" rich, as the subtitle of this illuminating book has it? Well, the best bet is to be born that way. The next best bet is to have a "wealth secret," the better-mousetrap sine qua non for building an empire. Economic forecaster Wilkin, head of business research at Oxford Economics, has good fun looking at how some fabulously rich people got to be that way.... Eye-opening."—Kirkus Reviews
"Wilkin is a knowledgeable guide to the world's greatest fortunes.... Thoughtful, playful prose."—Bryan Burrough, New York Times Book Review
"An amazing read... Get on to one of those [secrets] and you too can light your cigars with $100 bills.."—Marvin Zonis, Professor Emeritus, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
"Sam Wilkin combs history for a provocative and well-written account of the secrets of wealth formation. Just reading this book will make you richer."—Darrell M. West, Vice President of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and author of Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust
"So how do our billionaires make their billions? Business analyst Sam Wilkin offers up the real scoop.... Delicious and insight-packed."—Sam Pizzigati, Too Much
"Clever, entertaining.... Rich and poor will enjoy it equally, and if you have a modest entourage, I would consider getting copies for them too."—Marcus Berkmann, Daily Mail (UK)
"Pay attention.... What makes this book different is Sam Wilkin is an inside man."—Joe Shute, The Telegraph (UK)
A "highly entertaining and useful guide to the 'fascinating economic puzzle waiting to be solved' behind every billion-dollar fortune.... If you too would like to get your hands on today's equivalent of 250,000lb of fattened goose meat, Wilkin's book is a brilliant place to start."
Julia Richardson, Daily Mail (UK)
"This is at heart a theoretical book, not an historical one. Its merit lies not in the stories it tells, but in the connections it draws between them."—Nick Wolven, Washington Independent Review of Books
"A great read.... Infused with a great sense of humor."—Life Elsewhere
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