Official Review: The Billionaires’ Handbook

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Miriam Molina
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Official Review: The Billionaires’ Handbook

Post by Miriam Molina » 10 Apr 2019, 16:59

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Billionaires’ Handbook" by Andrew Stevenson.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Andrew Stevenson has had a long career as a “macro hedge fund portfolio manager, investment banker, and climate risk advisor.” There is no doubt that he has rubbed elbows with some billionaires; he may have even helped make them so. He is, therefore, an authority in talking about how these select members of humankind tick.

In The Billionaires’ Handbook, Andrew pretends to be a billionaire and teaches us how to become one. There is only one main lesson: Do not break the rules. What is the foolproof way to achieve that? Make the rules yourself. Who do you think invented “limited liability”?

The book starts with a whimsical short history of world economics, starting with feudalism, on to mercantilism, then capitalism, and ending with today’s economic policy: cynicism. Andrew goes on to list the thirty rules that billionaires use (Don’t forget that they make the rules!) in this era of cynicism. “Write the tax code” is the first. You can just imagine the other twenty-nine. These rules kept the billionaires happy until 2008 when the housing bubble burst, and some of them grew a conscience. However, recent events transpired that put the billionaires “back on track.” The critical development was the election of a fellow billionaire to the US presidency. A second set of rules, twenty-five of them, was made. One of the new rules is, “Be a dick.”

There is a third set of rules that the narrator-billionaire is proposing. This new set of twenty rules will make him the greatest American of the 21st century. Guess what they are about.

The book is a hard-hitting satire that will make the readers laugh until it hurts; then, they will realize that the book is no laughing matter. A LinkedIn post in 2017 allegedly reported that “the top 0.1% of American households hold the same amount of wealth as the bottom 90%.” It is shocking, but I don’t think it is an exaggeration. I am sure that the greater majority of humanity, the non-billionaires like you and me, will find that the book speaks the truth, though such truth is ugly. Yes, cynicism has become the way of the world. Will we just grin and bear it?

Readers will find the second set of rules curiously familiar as they portray the current US policies on health care, immigration, climate change, and other critical issues. The rules are witty. One of my favorites is “Class dismissed” pertaining to the shrinking American middle class.

The text for each rule is sparse; we are given the rule and a succinct explanation. This is best as each rule is straightforward and inspires deep thought. The accompanying illustrations bolster the messages effectively. Andrew did not identify the illustrator who certainly deserves kudos.

I commend Andrew for his courage in writing this book and the clever way he designed it. It is a parody, but it is downright serious. He uses simple words that are understandable to the common reader. His son Cole helped him with the editing. I’m sure Cole did his best, but he missed a number of run-on sentences, punctuation lapses, and misspellings. Unfortunately, these errors made the book lose one star; it earns 3 out of 4 stars from me.

Andrew’s book is certainly an eye-opener. I believe every responsible citizen of the world would benefit from its lessons. You do not need to be an economist to appreciate it. You certainly need not be a billionaire. The book will be most appropriate for working men and women who want change and are willing to work for it. These are the mature adults who want a better future for their children. Of course, billionaires are also welcome.

******
The Billionaires’ Handbook
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Post by gen_g » 15 Apr 2019, 05:53

I always look forward to reading your reviews, Miriam, they never fail to make me laugh! This satirical element definitely seems right up my alley, and I agree with you that the income equality is getting really serious nowadays, and not enough has been done to remedy it. Brilliant review as always! (:

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Post by kandscreeley » 15 Apr 2019, 07:26

Interesting. From the title, I thought this would be a self-help book, which I was definitely going to turn down. However, this satire sounds quite intriguing to me as I'm firmly in the middle class. I'm going to have to look into it further. Thanks so much for introducing us to this one!
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Post by Amanda Deck » 15 Apr 2019, 07:39

Time for me to go back and study about income inequality. I have trouble with it's being such a rallying point. Some people have more, a lot more, than others and...so what? Of course, it depends on how the wealthy acquired their wealth but if it's due to corruption, corruption's the problem, not the very fact that some have more.
I do NOT believe it's a given that every single wealthy person is wealthy because he or she is a criminal or crook.

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Post by gen_g » 15 Apr 2019, 08:30

gen_g wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 05:53
I always look forward to reading your reviews, Miriam, they never fail to make me laugh! This satirical element definitely seems right up my alley, and I agree with you that the income equality is getting really serious nowadays, and not enough has been done to remedy it. Brilliant review as always! (:
Oh dear, I meant "the income inequality issue" – it's stress :lol:

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Post by Prisallen » 15 Apr 2019, 14:12

I did not realize that this book was a satire. It sounds like a very informative and entertaining book. Great review!

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Post by InStoree » 15 Apr 2019, 17:32

Honestly, I would have not selected this book. Now, that I imagine what a sagacious work Stevenson did, I am willing to shoot for those rules. I'm not sure if I could "Be a [billionaire] di.. :banana-dance: "..amant, but I'll try my best. :laughing-lmao: Thank you for your bonza review, Miriam!

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Post by kdstrack » 15 Apr 2019, 19:50

Creating a strong emotion is a technique to help people remember the lesson. Laughing until it hurts would certainly ingrain the author's points in the mind. Thanks for this memorable review!

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Post by Jessacardinal » 16 Apr 2019, 12:58

I enjoyed reading your witty review of this intriguing book! The idea of someone deciding to pretend to be something they're not and then writing a book about how to do it is nothing short of brilliant. I am curious if the author has taken his own advice and increased his financial portfolio by exercising the methods discussed in his book.
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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 17 Apr 2019, 05:27

:cry:
gen_g wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 08:30
gen_g wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 05:53
I always look forward to reading your reviews, Miriam, they never fail to make me laugh! This satirical element definitely seems right up my alley, and I agree with you that the income equality is getting really serious nowadays, and not enough has been done to remedy it. Brilliant review as always! (:
Oh dear, I meant "the income inequality issue" – it's stress :lol:
Thanks for your sweet words, gen_g! We do need to laugh more often.

Did you know that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is expected to be the world's first trillionaire? How's that for income inequality?

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Post by gen_g » 17 Apr 2019, 05:54

Miriam Molina wrote:
17 Apr 2019, 05:27
:cry:
gen_g wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 08:30
gen_g wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 05:53
I always look forward to reading your reviews, Miriam, they never fail to make me laugh! This satirical element definitely seems right up my alley, and I agree with you that the income equality is getting really serious nowadays, and not enough has been done to remedy it. Brilliant review as always! (:
Oh dear, I meant "the income inequality issue" – it's stress :lol:
Thanks for your sweet words, gen_g! We do need to laugh more often.

Did you know that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is expected to be the world's first trillionaire? How's that for income inequality?
Wow, wow, wow! That's ridiculous! However, is that before or after the divorce? :lol2:

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Post by Kibetious » 17 Apr 2019, 06:52

Make rules for yourself and do not break them. Such a wonderful rule. Very precise and also memorable. This seems to be loaded with a lot of information that is helpful. Thanks for the review.
​​​​​​He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy :techie-studyinggray:

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Post by Fuzaila » 17 Apr 2019, 10:48

I love your observations and reflections on this book. And whoa! Those are some shocking revelations. I mean, I've always heard that over 60% of the world's wealth is owned by 5% of the people. The opposite seems to be true too. Anyways, great review!

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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 17 Apr 2019, 11:15

kandscreeley wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 07:26
Interesting. From the title, I thought this would be a self-help book, which I was definitely going to turn down. However, this satire sounds quite intriguing to me as I'm firmly in the middle class. I'm going to have to look into it further. Thanks so much for introducing us to this one!
I don't think a real billionaire will want to share his secrets - too incriminating LOL! Thanks for visiting, Sarah! I hope "Class dismissed" won't come to pass.

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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 17 Apr 2019, 11:43

Amanda Deck wrote:
15 Apr 2019, 07:39
Time for me to go back and study about income inequality. I have trouble with it's being such a rallying point. Some people have more, a lot more, than others and...so what? Of course, it depends on how the wealthy acquired their wealth but if it's due to corruption, corruption's the problem, not the very fact that some have more.
I do NOT believe it's a given that every single wealthy person is wealthy because he or she is a criminal or crook.
I don't think all wealthy people are crooks, either. I remember Lazarus in the Bible. His sin wasn't one of commission, but of omission. It's sad how Mark Zuckerberg easily earns $1million per hour while an Indonesian Nike factory worker gets $3.50 for a day's backbreaking work. Mark is no criminal.

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