Essays About

Modern Gold Rushes

A notable fact about the Gold Rush is that, except for a few lucky firstcomers, no one got rich from mining gold, but many got rich from selling supplies to the miners. One sees this pattern repeated constantly. People are never so foolishly willing to part with money as in the hope of making money. In any bookstore, countless bestsellers advertise the secrets to instant riches. Did any such book ever make its readers rich? Rather, its readers make its author rich. Most financial advisors fail to beat a simple buy-and-hold investment strategy, but by charging hefty fees to their clients, they ensure outstanding returns for themselves in bull and bear markets alike. States with lotteries fill their treasuries with the last pennies of the poor. (Those who can least afford to gamble are, for just that reason, most tempted to.)

Someone should write the first legitimate get-rich-quick bestseller: the easy road to riches is by preying on others' hopes of easy riches.