Review by Kelebogile Mbangi -- The Billionaires’ H...

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Kelebogile Mbangi
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Review by Kelebogile Mbangi -- The Billionaires’ H...

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[Following is a volunteer review of "The Billionaires’ Handbook" by Andrew Stevenson.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Billionaires’ Handbook is a non-fiction book by Andrew Stevenson. Initially, the book seems to be a “user’s guide to wealth and power” but in fact spoofs the current state of affairs.

In The Billionaires’ Handbook, the author poses as cocky billionaire who has been asked to give the reader a lesson on the basic rules that govern billionaires. He assures the reader that by following these rules they too can join the billionaire’s club and become filthy rich. He makes it clear that contrary to what most people think, billionaires do in fact follow the rules that govern the economy. The trick, however, is that they don’t just follow those rules, they make them! He starts off by proving his point by giving a brief history lesson on the economic systems that have come and gone. He then introduces the reader to the current economic system, cynicism, and outlines the rules that govern this system.

I enjoyed how thought-provoking this book is. It packs a punch and was pretty cut-throat. The author is not apologetic about exposing things for what they are. It had even more of an impact because of the condescending tone that the author gave the narrator/billionaire. It was infuriating, nauseating even, to read as the author exposed the attitudes that most billionaires must hold. The author paints billionaires as ruthless businessmen who are out to increase their profit margins regardless of the costs involved or the people they trample upon to get there. The more I thought about the current state of things, the more I realized that the author must be right. Think about it, to be a billionaire, it must mean you are hoarding more than a thousand million dollars whilst countless people around the globe cannot even make the breadline. The book does not just spell out doom and gloom. Towards the end, it takes a turn and points out things we should start doing if we want to turn things around.

The graphics within the book are effective in getting the author’s point across. However, some of them depict violent scenes. For example, in the section about the history of economic systems, a merchant representing mercantilism is pictured holding a bloody knife having slit the throat of a king who represents feudalism. Although effective in getting the point across, I found such animated pictures to be too graphic for my taste. Another issue I had with the pictures was that some of them were on the wrong page and did not correspond with what was being said in the passage next to them.

I recommend this book to people who enjoy strongly opinionated, thought-provoking books. It is quite short and can be read in one sitting; although you’ll probably find yourself thinking about its message long after. I spotted a few grammatical errors. Due to the fact that this is such a short book, I felt that the author could have easily spotted and corrected these errors with much less effort than that required for a longer book. Thus, considering these errors and the mismatched pictures, I cannot give The Billionaires’ Handbook a perfect rating. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars because it has great content and a great message.

The Billionaires’ Handbook
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