Summary and book reviews of Eat The Rich by P.J. O'Rourke

Eat The Rich

A Treatise on Economics

by P.J. O'Rourke

Eat The Rich by P.J. O'Rourke
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 1998, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 1999, 255 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

In P.J. most ambitious book since Parliment of Whores, he takes on an even broader subject, but one that is dear to us all - wealth.

In P.J. O'Rourke's classic bestseller Parliament of Whores, he attempted to explain the entire United States government. Now, in his most ambitious book since, he takes on an even broader subject, but one that is dear to us all - wealth. What is it? How do you get it? Or, as P.J. says, "Why do some places prosper and thrive, while others just suck?

The obvious starting point is Wall Street. P.J. takes the reader on a scary, hilarious, and enlightening visit to the New York Stock Exchange, explaining along the way stocks, bonds, debentures, commodities, derivatives-and why the floor of the exchange is America's last refuge for non-psychotic litterers.

P.J. then sets off on a world tour to investigate funny economics. Having seen "good capitalism" on Wall Street, he looks at "bad capitalism" in Albania, views good socialism" in Sweden, and endures "bad socialism in Cuba. Head reeling, he decides to tackle that Econ. 101 course he avoided in college. The result is the worlds only astute, comprehensive and concise presentation of the basic principles of economics that can make you laugh, on purpose.

Armed with theory, P.J. ventures to Russia in a chapter entitled "How (or How Not) to Reform (Maybe) an Economy (If There Is One) and discovers that Russia is a wonderful case study-unless, of course, you're Russian. P.J. then goes to Tanzania, a country rich in resources that is utterly destitute, before arriving in Hong Kong, which even as the British prepare to hand it over to the communists is a shining example of how unfettered economic activity can "make everything from nothing." P.J. ends up in Shanghai, observing a top-down transition to capitalism, a process he describes as if the ancient Egyptians had constructed the pyramid of Khufu by saying, Thutnefer, you hold up this two-ton pointy piece while the rest of the slaves go get 2,300,000 blocks of stone.

P.J.s conclusion in a nutshell: the free market is ugly and stupid, like going to the mall; the unfree market is just as ugly and just as stupid, except there's nothing in the mall and if you don't go there they shoot you.

Chapter One
Love, Death, and Money

I had one fundamental question about economics: Why do some places prosper and thrive while others just suck? It's not a matter of brains. No part of the earth (with the possible exception of Brentwood) is dumber than Beverly Hills, and the residents are wading in gravy. In Russia, meanwhile, where chess is a spectator sport, they're boiling stones for soup. Nor can education be the reason. Fourth graders in the American school system know what a condom is but aren't sure about 9 x 7. Natural resources aren't the answer. Africa has diamonds, gold, uranium, you name it. Scandinavia has little and is frozen besides. Maybe culture is the key, but wealthy regions such as the local mall are famous for lacking it.

Perhaps the good life's secret lies in civilization. The Chinese had an ancient and sophisticated civilization when my relatives were hunkering naked in trees. (Admittedly that was last week, but they'd ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

The Wall Street Journal

Mr. O'Rourke brings to the task a keen eye for ironic detail and an aphorist's wit.... a charming read.

Time Magazine

[O]ne of America's most hilarious and provocative writers.

Publishers Weekly

O'Rourke proves that money can be funny without being counterfeit.

Kirkus Reviews

"A funny, pungent paean to the glory of free enterprise."

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Eat The Rich, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Forest Dark
    Forest Dark
    by Nicole Krauss
    In Forest Dark, Nicole Krauss presents parallel stories of two people who leave New York to stay in ...
  • Book Jacket: The Amber Shadows
    The Amber Shadows
    by Lucy Ribchester
    The Amber Shadows sweeps readers into the realm of World War II-era Britain where Honor "Honey" ...
  • Book Jacket: Midwinter Break
    Midwinter Break
    by Bernard MacLaverty
    Northern Ireland's Bernard MacLaverty is the author of five novels and multiple short story ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Twelve-Mile Straight
    by Eleanor Henderson

    An audacious epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford

    Inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.