Catherine S. McBreen and George H. Walper Jr. conducted in-depth research on 5,000 millionaire and mega-millionaire households to learn more about who these people are, how they accumulated their wealth and how they invest it. The result is Get Rich, Stay Rich Pass it On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families. The book offers historical perspective on wealthy families like the Vanderbilts, who gained much of their fortune from shipping and railroads yet lost most of it by selling off real estate investments and squandering money on indulgences such as yachting and horse breeding. As the authors warn, investments must be income-producing, so real estate will always be a good choice, while a Van Gogh, while lovely to look at, doesn't put money in the bank.

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