The Natural History of the Rich
A Field Guide
A tantalizing, droll study of the idiosyncratic existence of the very rich, through the unexpected lens of the naturalist.
Journalist Richard Conniff probes the age-old question "Are the rich different from you and me?" and finds that they are indeed a completely different animal. He observes with great humor and finesse this socially unique species, revealing their strategies for ensuring dominance and submission, their flourishes of display behavior, the intricate dynamics of their pecking order, as well as their unorthodox mating practices. Through comparisons to other equally exotic animals, Conniff uncovers surprising commonalities.
• How did Bill Gates achieve his single greatest act of social dominance by being nice? • How does the flattery of the rich resemble the grooming behavior of baboons? • What made the British aristocracy the single most successful animal dominance hierarchy in the history of the planet? • How does Old Money's disdain for the nouveaux riches resemble the pig-grunting of mountain gorillas?
This marvelously entertaining field guide captures in vivid detail the behaviors and habitats of the world's most captivating yet elusive animal.
- October 2003
- 5.5 × 8.2 in
/ 352 pages
- Territory Rights: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.
Endorsements & Reviews
“Clever, perceptive and unfailingly interesting.” — Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
“Droll and delightful....Conniff's charm and fun-loving approach make his book a pleasure from start to finish.” — New York Sun
“A clever, invaluable zoomorphic study with a wealth of information on what makes the rich tick.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A feast of research findings...[Conniff's] archly comic tone matches his subjects perfectly.” — New York Times Book Review
“Amusing and insightful.” — Boston Herald
“Conniff proves that his naturalist's approach to understanding the rich...really does generate insights and even understanding.” — Dallas Morning News
“Hilarious.” — New York Magazine
“Conniff [is] Truman Capote-and Dominick Dunne-like...a valuable field guide...endlessly fascinating.” — San Diego Union-Tribune
“Conniff manages to pull off the ideal mixture of detached amusement and actual scientific fieldwork.” — The Day
“This book...may change for ever our perception of the urge to make money.” — The Financial Times
“A witty compendium of gossip, anecdotes, history and sociobiological research.” — Town and Country
“A literate, gossipy and altogether engaging romp.” — Smithsonian Magazine
“As one who has long had a fascination with the idiosyncrasies of the possessors of great wealth, I was intrigued with Richard Conniff's book The Natural History of the Rich. It is anecdotal, witty, and wonderfully informative.” — Dominick Dunne
“In this witty, well-written field guide, Richard Conniff studies the rich as a biologist studies the mighty mountain gorilla. In the process, he brings the rich down to earth as not only merely human, but distinctly animal.” — Frans de Waal, author of The Ape and the Sushi Master
“A delightful field-study of the habits of the rich and famous, full of acutely observed insights.” — Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape
Also by Richard Conniff