This quirky combination of autobiography, politics, and investment advice leaves the impression that being (and becoming)...


MY VAST FORTUNE: The Money Adventures of a Quixotic Capitalist

This quirky combination of autobiography, politics, and investment advice leaves the impression that being (and becoming) wealthy is pretty interesting work. Tobias's (The Only Other Investment Guide You'll Ever Need, 1987, etc.) journey from prosperous childhood to extremely prosperous adulthood illustrates his basic financial advice: Hold sound investments for a long time and let appreciation and interest do their work; everything else is serendipity or stupidity. He is refreshingly honest about the role played by the former in the accumulation of his fortune, but the real focus of this volume is what he does with what he's accumulated. From a real-estate venture in a rundown Florida neighborhood to an anti-smoking campaign in Russia to a fight for no-fault auto insurance and tort reform in California, Tobias finds opportunities to do good with his money seemingly at random, then pursues them with abandon. The no-fault discussion (some would say obsession) cuts to the heart of his political message: Liberals should proudly embrace their bleeding hearts without developing jerking knees. In an ongoing battle with Ralph Nader and others, Tobias insists that the unlimited right to sue, adamantly defended by Naderites as the little man's ultimate protection against the powerful, actually benefits trial lawyers far more than the victims of accidents. Indeed, Tobias argues that removing exorbitant legal costs from the present system would allow more money to go to accident victims while also reducing insurance premiums. According to Tobias, Nader's opposition to tort reform doomed the no-fault initiative, for once the saint of consumerism pronounced it flawed, rational discussion among liberals was over. Although Tobias does maintain his considerable sense of humor throughout this section, the battle has obviously left a bitter taste in his mouth. Rarely is the adjective ""hilarious"" used to modify the noun ""capitalist,"" but here it is appropriate.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997


Page Count: 224

Publisher: Random

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1997

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