Brazillionaires Book Summary - Brazillionaires Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Brazillionaires summary

Alex Cuadros

Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country

3.9 (25 ratings)
14 mins

What is Brazillionaires about?

Brazillionaires (2016) exposes the true story behind Brazil’s tumultuous economy. By tracing the rise and fall of billionaires like Eike Batista, these blinks take you through the country’s history of inequality and corruption, and explain how the nation’s politics and business have become inseparable.

Table of Contents

    summarized in 5 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 5

    For most of the population, life in Brazil is filled with struggle to acquire even the most basic services.

    When you think of Brazil, your first thoughts might be of Rio’s famous Christ statue, Carnival, endless beaches and colorful samba dancers. But the reality isn’t so patently picturesque.

    For most Brazilians, it can be a struggle just to get the most basic things in life.

    Every city in Brazil has favelas, neighborhoods filled with makeshift shacks built by poor residents in bits of open space – under a bridge, in an old parking lot, wherever. You can even find them in the alleyways tucked between skyscrapers.

    But the favelas are just one facet of the problems Brazilians face. Others include clogged roads, a poorly functioning public school system and hospitals that often cause more health problems than they cure.

    Even though Brazil’s constitution guarantees free public healthcare, if there’s a health crisis and you don’t have private insurance, you’ll likely wait an entire day in the emergency room.

    There is also an astounding amount of bureaucratic red tape and paperwork for basic needs such as opening a bank account or getting a phone connected.

    And trying to cancel one of these services can be even worse. When the author tried to switch his internet provider, for example, he ran into such resistance that he had to file an official complaint with the government’s telecom agency.

    Making things more difficult is the fact that all the paperwork needs to be stamped and notarized before it can be submitted to the government – a process that requires hours of waiting.

    Therefore, getting even the most basic tasks accomplished in Brazil can send you into a Kafkaesque world of endless waiting, where filling out paperwork just leads to more paperwork!

    The situation is so dire that every year it takes the average Brazilian company 2,600 man-hours to prepare its taxes.

    For these reasons, there are despachantes, people whose job is to help others navigate all this red tape, a task which usually involves becoming friendly with the right bureaucrat.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Brazillionaires?

    Key ideas in Brazillionaires

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    Best quote from Brazillionaires

    For my friends, anything. For my enemies, the law. Old Brazilian saying.

    —Alex Cuadros
    example alt text

    About the Author

    Alex Cuadros is a writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Nation and Mother Jones. He spent over five years living in São Paulo, Brazil, to research his first book, Brazillionaires.

    Who should read Brazillionaires?

    • Readers interested in South American affairs
    • Economists
    • Students of political science

    Categories with Brazillionaires

    Books like Brazillionaires

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    26 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 5,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial