In “The Thin Green Line: The Money Secrets of the Super-Wealthy,” author Paul Sullivan unearths an interesting fact about how many of the richest people view themselves.
As the book opens, Sullivan — who is also the Wealth Matters columnist for the New York Times — is sitting in an opulent Upper East Side drawing room in New York City, listening to “four men worth tens of millions of dollars argue over who had the poorest childhood.”
I listened to these men with a sense of bemusement and fascination. They were all in their fifties, but they had been trying to outdo each other like teenagers. They had succeeded in their professions but could not stop competing …
These four men were members of Tiger 21, an investment group with some two hundred members in the United States and Canada. To join the group, each man needed at least $US10 million and a willingness to pay an annual membership fee of $US30,000. In return they met one day every month to talk about their investments, though just as often they discussed their feelings in one of the few groups in the world where they would not be judged as ungrateful rich guys. They were all rich guys, grateful or not.
“It’s one of the good and bad things about being an American,” Sullivan tells Business Insider. “When you get to the top of the wealth pyramid, people still want to think of themselves as middle class. Where we came from is very ingrained in us — much more so than where we ended up.”