Want to be rich? It helps if you’re a psychopath… WTF ?

Money money money,’ as Abba once sang with typically Scandinavian wisdom, ‘it’s a rich man’s world’. We all know the truth of this, whether we have enough money or not. Most of us don’t, of course, but some people, just a very few, have more than they will ever need, and then rather more than that.

This clever, entertaining piece of work is a self-help book with a distinctly satirical edge

How do they do it? And why can’t they give some of it to me?

Sam Wilkin is an economist and has been studying the very rich for most of his working life. And he’s not talking about ordinarily loaded here: ‘A comfortable fortune that might afford a few homes in prime locations, an elite school for your children, a supercar, a modest entourage, a live-in nanny.’

I love the idea of a ‘modest’ entourage.

No, he’s talking about ‘a fortune of yachts and personal helicopters, of diamond-encrusted light fixtures, of stately homes and private islands, of your name emblazoned upon landmark buildings and a charitable foundation bravely tackling world issues’. A fortune that ensures your name will live for ever, even if you can’t.

Of all the many books that tell you how to get rich, none of them advises you to start a telecoms business in Mexico. How could they be so wrong?

Suppose such a fortune was your goal. How would you acquire it? Wilkin seeks to answer this question by studying the relatively small number of people in history who have achieved this. And he finds a certain number of common factors.