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From a feature in the Independent today on Alain de Botton:

He is unusual, among writers, in not having to worry about working at all. His father, Gilbert de Botton, moved to Switzerland from Egypt as head of Rothschild Bank, and then founded Global Asset Management in 1983. He sold it in 1999 for £420m, leaving young Alain (who turns 40 this year) a trust fund of £200m. He doesn’t use the money, preferring to live by his writing – but he admits that the soul-sapping tedium of the modern workplace is not something he really understands. His first book, Essays in Love, was published when he was 23 and still “pretending to do a PhD”. His books are successful enough that fish packing has never beckoned.

Not sure, but I’m guessing that this might just make AdB the richest writer in the history of the world. There are exchange rate issues to figure out, but can you think of another candidate?

BTW, seems ever more clear that IT basically framed the reception of this book with her early post on it.

Written by adswithoutproducts

March 27, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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  1. Well, puts James Merrill to shame. But what of, say, Dick Cheney, inimitable author of “Kings of the Hill: How Nine Powerful Men Changed the Course of American History”? I suspect his Halliburton dough et al puts him in the ballpark…


    March 27, 2009 at 4:05 pm

  2. Soon you’ll be getting an angry email from Alain pointing out that the Barry Potter woman has more cash than he.

    Anyway, I found this pretty shocking myself:

    “I love watching news, particularly disasters. It’s all gripping; it’s so relaxing, isn’t it?”

    Best stick to the electricity pylons, Alain….


    March 28, 2009 at 5:17 am

  3. I think there are quite a few richer writers than A de Botton. Rowling for starters. AdeB may be a candidate for writer born into greatest wealth?


    March 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm

  4. Wow yeah Rowling’s apparently worth a billion. King (who’d I’d guess would be the next runner up is worth 2/3rds of what AdB is worth.

    The Rowling thing is astounding. I’m changing genres, as of tomorrow.


    March 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm

  5. But didn’t you mean the richest writer going in? Or couldn’t we at least retcon the post by claiming you meant that?

    Adam Kotsko

    March 28, 2009 at 10:21 pm

  6. I think I read that James Patterson makes $40 million a year. I’m not sure how many years that’s been true for, but I imagine he would be up there — perhaps above King, if for no other reason than the sheer volume of novels he publishes. Of course, he employs co-writers and stuff, so it’s arguable that he’s a “writer” in the same way that Rowling, de Botton, and, I assume, King are.

    Also, I’d imagine that there are romance novelists (Danielle Steele? Others?) that could, maybe, compete.


    March 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm

  7. Adam,

    I guess all time ever in anyway. But I guess I was wrong. “Going in” is probably a more interesting issue anyway…


    Yep, you’re probably right!


    March 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm

  8. This explains why AdB is such a bad writer.


    December 10, 2009 at 1:01 pm

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