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A follow-up study of over a thousand middle-class Americans over the last 20 years, 83 of whom became millionaires, provides the framework for psychologist Blotnick's unusual conclusion here: riches, like happiness, are merely a byproduct. The ones who made it were not looking primarily for wealth; they had their hands full responding to the needs of their business, and in the process acquired the skill to make a great deal of money. Conversely, Blotnick claims, those who fantasized about get-rich-quick schemes or played the stock market did not make it at all; they lacked the persistence of their less money-hungry counterparts, and invariably lost more money than they made. These findings, though attention-grabbing, seem too uniformly cut: not one subject deviated from Blotnick's norm in any way. And little is said about the methodology of the study: how the thousand or so were chosen; their status (age, education) and prospects in 1960; etc. Generally there is too much reliance on the stories of beauty-parlor proprietors who expediently buy a building, only to absentmindedly sell it for nearly a million dollars a few years later (while those who buy property as a real estate ""investment"" sell out before the building achieves its true appreciation value). Still, there are some prospective eye-openers here--like the assertion that impulsive spenders also tend to make money in huge, sporadic bursts, but earn less over the long haul than those who take home a regular paycheck for less spectacular amounts. And among Blotnick's sampling entrepreneurial moxie didn't pay off; those who worked for large corporations made 32 percent more on the average than the self-employed. Yet such statistics can be misleading, and it is impossible to tell just how fair Blotnick has played with the numbers. Surely someone must have known how to invest properly! Some interesting thoughts, nonetheless, and a little encouragement for the tortoise as he races the hare.

Pub Date: June 6th, 1980
Publisher: Doubleday