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Publisher's Summary

A senior editor at Mother Jones dives into the lives of the extremely rich, showing the fascinating, otherworldly realm they inhabit - and the insidious ways this realm harms us all.

Have you ever fantasized about being ridiculously wealthy? Probably. Striking it rich is among the most resilient of American fantasies, surviving war and peace, expansions and recessions, economic meltdowns and global pandemics. We dream of the jackpot, the big exit, the life-altering payday, in whatever form that takes. (Americans spent $81 billion on lottery tickets in 2019, more than the GDPs of most nations.) We would escape “essential” day jobs and cramped living spaces, bury our debts, buy that sweet spread, and bailout struggling friends and relations. But rarely do we follow the fantasy to its conclusion - to ponder the social, psychological, and societal downsides of great affluence and the fact that so few possess it. 

What is it actually like to be blessed with riches in an era of plagues, political rancor, and near-Dickensian economic differences? How mind-boggling are the opportunities and access, how problematic the downsides? Does the experience differ depending on whether the money is earned or unearned, where it comes from, and whether you are male or female, white or Black? Finally, how does our collective lust for affluence, and our stubborn belief in social mobility, explain how we got to the point where 40 percent of Americans have literally no wealth at all? 

These are all questions that Jackpot sets out to explore. The result of deep reporting and dozens of interviews with fortunate citizens - company founders and executives, superstar coders, investors, inheritors, lottery winners, lobbyists, lawmakers, academics, sports agents, wealth and philanthropy professionals, concierges, luxury realtors, Bentley dealers, and even a woman who trains billionaires’ nannies in physical combat, Jackpot is a compassionate, character-rich, perversely humorous, and ultimately troubling journey into the American wealth fantasy and where it has taken us.

©2021 Michael Mechanic. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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  • Kwafman
  • 2021-06-02

Defining My Own Discontent

This book was therapy for my soul. It left me we a perspective that I felt but could not define. The separation of of wealth continues on but does not materialize the dream that consumption equates happiness. The false platitudes that drive us need reassessing.

Where do we go from here?

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  • Mari
  • 2021-04-28

Why we have & tolerate huge Wealth Disparity

Wide-ranging engaging discussion of American wealth. Included was the moral and social aspects that are left out by angry Media. The unique American relationship with wealth deserved a larger discussion. I recommend “White Trash” by Nancy Isenburg as a companion to this book.
Most of us will never know the separate, advantaged world lived by the wealthy. The monopoly game example was quite excellent. The many specific examples and personal interviews bring the issues into relatable focus.
Very good sum up of what drives US culture and attitudes.
Unfortunately even if Fox “News” audience read it, they’d brand it libtard and the ignorance will continue.

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  • lillianw
  • 2021-06-08

Outstanding

I just listened to this book on a road trip to and from North Carolina and the book was outstanding. The multitude of tax breaks available to the ultra wealthy becomes ridiculous and I feel naïve for not having considered the ramifications of all of those tax breaks on the ultra wealthy which the middle class then absorbs.