Last week the Wall Street Journal published this year's iteration of the summer reading list that mammoth financial services company JPMorgan Chase distributes to its clients every summer. It's a little like Oprah's book club. Which is to say, it's for people who have as much money as Oprah. In the words of JPMorgan Chase, the list is designed to "capture the essence of our clients’ personal and professional lives.” Apparently the list has become so popular among JPMorgan Chase Private clients that for the first time they're going to do a winter reading list this year as well.
The summer list: (bitchy commentary is purely a S&Co. added bonus)
On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System, by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. I actually like Paulson when I've heard him speak; too bad this book wasn't on the list five years ago.
The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company that is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick. Facebook is big, right? There like a bazillion dollars to be made there, right? At this point I think FarmVille is worth more than all the actual farms in the United States.
BlackBerry: The Inside Story of Research in Motion by Rod McQueen. Blackberries too, right? The president has one, doesn't he?
Life is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment by Peter Buffett, son of mega-investor Warren Buffett. Apparently for the next gen of millionaires/billionaires a big buzz concern is one's children and heirs and how they make it in life? Perhaps a better title would have been "Life is What You Make it When Your Dad is Worth $47 Billion Dollars".
Written in Water: Messages of Hope for Earth’s Most Precious Resource by Irena Salina. Sez JPMorgan Chase's Darin Oduyoye: “This book was for client’s interest in the environment.” Also known as "How the World is Running Out of Water and How You Can Make Money Off It".
Mark Twain: Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years by Michael Shelden. Oduyoye again: “Many of our clients are reflecting on legacy. On the centennial anniversary of Mark Twain’s death this was a great book to include. It’s about the last five years of his life and what he wanted to be known for. It’s about Mark Twain writing his own history.” Yep. Nothing the super rich like more than the legacy of, uh, men in white.
The Principles of Thai Cookery by Chef McDang. Rich people buying cookbooks at all, let alone one by a "Chef Mc-anything" is kind of hilarious. If these people can't afford their own chefs, maybe they don't deserve to be on JPMorgan Chase Private's special list.
Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout. I want to read this. I guess I kind of do culturally sympathize with the ultra-wealthy after all!
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century by Peter Galassi. I ... I actually like Cartier-Bresson a lot. Okay, rich dudes. That's two.
Fine Wines: The Best Vintages Since 1900 by Michel Dovaz. Since I like obscure reference material, I also think this one would be pretty interesting, if absurdly pretentious. Like Dovaz's hundred-dollar Encyclopedia of the Great Wines of Bordeaux. Come on. That thing's got to be amazing, right?
[Image by User:BrokenSegue taken from Wikimedia Commons.]