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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

London is a plutocrat's paradise, with more resident billionaires than New York, Hong Kong or Moscow. Far from trickling down, their wealth is burning up the environment and swallowing up the city. But what do we really know about London's super rich, and the lives they lead?

To find out more about this secretive, security-heavy elite, sociologist Caroline Knowles walks the streets of London from the City to suburban Surrey, via Kensington, Notting Hill, Mayfair and elsewhere. Her walks reveal how the wealthy shape the capital in their image, creating a new world of gated communities and luxury developments. A move behind closed doors takes us ever further into the dark heart of the plutocratic city, from multimillion-pound mansions to high-end hotels and gentlemen's clubs. Along the way, we meet a wide and wickedly entertaining cast of millionaires, billionaires and those who serve them: bankers, aristocrats, tech tycoons, Conservative party donors, butlers, bodyguards, divorce lawyers and many, many more.

By turns jaw-dropping, enraging and enlightening, Serious Money explodes the fiction that wealth is a condition to aspire to, revealing the isolation and paranoia which accompany it when the plutocrat's recompense—a life of unlimited luxury—ultimately proves hollow. It is a powerful reminder us that it is not just the super-rich who get to make the city: we make it, too, and could demand something different. Because serious money is good for no one—not even the rich.

©2022 Caroline Knowles (P)2022 Penguin Audio

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Vibrant sociology

I bought this after hearing Knowles talk about the book on a radio show and it did not disappoint. This chronicle of her own research walks around London is fitting read by the author.

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Eye opening. Well observed

A well-observed and detailed journey through the worlds of the super rich. At times unsettling, it is at other times humourous, primarily due to the monikers the author gives her research subjects.
Repetitive at times and utimately depressing despite the author's very sensible proposals to address inequality.
I stayed with the book because I'm interested in the subject and enjoyed the peek into the strange, exclusive, and reclusive, world of the super-wealthy.
I don't however think that having the, obviously impressive, academic narrate her book was the best use of her talents.