Rich White Men: What It Takes to Uproot the Old Boys' Club and Transform America (Hardcover)
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With a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Robin DiAngelo, this provocative book investigates major corporate boardrooms and presents a data-driven analysis of how rich white men have preserved their monopoly on power—and what we can do to stop them.
It’s no secret that our country has a serious problem when it comes to wealth inequality – and systemic racism and patriarchy have only exacerbated the advantages of wealthy white men. Over the past three decades, America’s richest white men have only become richer, while those suffering in poverty have only gotten poorer. The divide may seem too great to bridge, but Rich White Men exposes the hidden and insidious ways that white male elites inherit, increase, and preserve their status—and, in this book, we get clear on how to uproot their monopoly on power.
Serial nonprofit entrepreneur Garrett Neiman’s day job is to get rich white men to donate money to good causes and organizations. In Rich White Men, Neiman brings us into corner offices of billionaires and the boardrooms of Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, Stanford, Harvard, and other enclaves of silver-spooned white men to illuminate the role of rich white men in the world and how they justify inequality. He uses the analogy of compound interest to illustrate how the advantages wealthy white men inherit give them a leg up at key moments in their lives, gilding their trajectories and shutting others out. Through this rare, insider access, readers will discover new ways to persuade the elite toward progressive solutions. A hopeful polemic, the book sheds light on dark truths about inequality and the people invested in preserving it while also providing a blueprint for how America can become an equitable democracy.
Rich White Men reveals that to realize America’s founding aspiration of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we must recognize, dismantle, and transform our current system into one that liberates us all – including this nation’s morally and spiritually impoverished wealthy white men.
About the Author
Garrett Neiman (he/him) is a serial nonprofit entrepreneur with a focus on social justice. Neiman was the founding CEO of CollegeSpring, a national college access nonprofit that was recognized by the Obama White House. He was also a co-creator of Liberation Ventures, a philanthropic fund focused on building power toward federal reparations. Neiman has a BA in Economics from Stanford, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. Currently, he serves as a Senior Fellow at Prosperity Now and an Adjunct Lecturer at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
"A thought-provoking book sure to cause heated debate in discussions of equity and social justice."—Kirkus
“This book will appeal to those who are interested in examining racial and socioeconomic segregation and looking to understand diverse viewpoints and how to combat inequality.”—Booklist
“Drawing from a collection of captivating anecdotes and supported by extensive data, Garrett Neiman's Rich White Men: What It Takes to Uproot the Old Boys' Club and Transform America makes a compelling argument that inequality harms us all.”—NPR Books Review
“Who's sitting at the tables where decisions are made that affect the lives of those deemed unworthy to sit at those tables? It's well past time to name the elephants in the boardroom: rich white men. In accessible language and examples backed by data, Neiman does just that, speaking back to the common myths espoused by rich white men to deny their investment in maintaining inequality. [He] unpacks how racism and classism intersect, and explains why ending poverty alone will not simultaneously end racism. [With] keen perception coupled with humility, Rich White Men offers a road map for authentic transformation of the halls of power.”—Robin DiAngelo, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Nice Racism and White Fragility
“Rich White Men is a timely and piercing expose of how leading entrepreneurs, financiers, and philanthropists contribute to inequality and what we can do to generate more opportunity and prosperity.”—Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation and author of From Generosity to Justice
“I’ve never read a book as urgent and as unique as Rich White Men. In this tell-all based on years of first-hand witnessing and dozens of interviews, Neiman exposes unflinchingly and unsparingly the logic of structural inequalities. . .’Compounding unearned advantage,’ Neiman’s brilliant metaphor, shows how seemingly small racial and gender advantages starting at birth among some white men can grow exponentially to create great wealth and power over time. And yet, the heart of this passionate and compelling book—which everyone should read—is the path Neiman charts to transform society.”—Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor at Harvard Kennedy School and author of The Condemnation of Blackness
“Rich White Men makes a compelling case for fundamental repair and healing that we all need. Grounded in a deep understanding of how wealth, power, and privilege intersect, and with compassion for all, Neiman charts a course toward a more equitable and inclusive future.”—John Palfrey, President of the MacArthur Foundation and co-author of Born Digital
“Rich White Men is essential reading for philanthropists and others committed to building an equitable United States.”—Valerie Rockefeller, Chair of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
"Neiman's book offers engaging and illuminating insights into both the causes of persistent inequality and productive steps for change. What makes this book especially compelling is its insistence that understanding unequal economic, racial, and gender structures in contemporary America holds promise of more opportunities, freedom, meaning, and healing for every individual. Rich White Men can help everyone think anew about luck, hard work, leadership, opportunity, and repair."—Martha Minow, Harvard Law School Professor and Dean from 2009-2017
“In this well-researched and moving narrative, Neiman centers his critique on the ‘compounding unearned advantages’ possessed by rich white men like himself, which cause dismaying societal inequity, lack of opportunity for other individuals, and a psychological pain in those who realize that the luxuries they enjoy are often acquired at the expense of others. Rich White Men makes plain a number of truths that you simply cannot unsee. It also proposes revisions to the rules of the game, making this book an essential read for any capitalist who would dare.”—Julie Lythcott-Haims, Councilmember for the City of Palo Alto and New York Times bestselling author of Your Turn
“Blending scholarship and moral urgency, Rich White Men cries out for Americans with the deepest pockets to dig into their pants to build a better world. One only can hope they will heed to call.”—William Darity Jr., Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics at Duke University and author of From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century
“Rich White Men is an expose and hopeful polemic. It takes the reader on a journey and shines a light on the biases of the philanthropic elite. An insider, Neiman shares fascinating reflections and raises sharp questions about the nature of race and democracy. The book powerfully weaves together personal narrative and offers the privileged a path for how they can transform themselves from being part of the problem to being part of the solution.”—Megan Ming Francis, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington and author of Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State
“Neiman’s book disrupts the narratives of meritocracy and deservedness that are deployed to justify extreme inequity and white dominance. A great read, chock full of insights, Rich White Men urges the privileged ultra-wealthy to humbly walk away from unearned advantage and come home to authentic community and reciprocity.”—Chuck Collins, Institute of Policy Studies, author of Born on Third Base and Altar to an Erupting Sun
“With Rich White Men, Neiman has challenged me – and inevitably many others – to think harder about what it takes to build an America with far less identity-based adversity – and what that would unlock for all of us.”—Dr. Laura Huang, Harvard Business School Professor and author of Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage
"Rich White Men is more than a book. It’s a blueprint for revolution in a focused little package."—Melody Talcott, Member of the International Repatriation Coalition
“Drawing from a collection of captivating anecdotes and supported by extensive data, Garrett Neiman’s Rich White Men… makes a compelling argument that inequality harms us all … Neiman doesn’t shy away from self-indictment, regularly pointing out where he has fallen short—and where he continues to struggle — as he strives to maintain an orientation towards justice.” —LitHub
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