Brazillionaires Book Summary - Brazillionaires Book explained in key points
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Brazillionaires summary

Alex Cuadros

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

3.8 (33 ratings)
14 mins

Brief summary

'Brazillionaires' by Alex Cuadros explores the lives and fortunes of Brazil's wealthiest people, revealing the corruption and inequality that underpins their success.

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    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.

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    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.

    Brazillionaires Review

    Brazillionaires (2016) by Alex Cuadros explores the lives and fortunes of Brazil's ultra-wealthy elite, providing a captivating and eye-opening look into the country's economic landscape. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It uncovers the intricate web of power and corruption that surrounds Brazil's billionaires, shedding light on the darker side of extreme wealth.
    • Through in-depth interviews and research, the author presents a nuanced portrayal of the individuals behind the wealth, offering insight into their motivations and actions.
    • The book delves into the social and cultural implications of Brazil's extreme inequality, sparking thoughtful reflection on the broader issues at play.

    Best quote from Brazillionaires

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

    —Alex Cuadros
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    Who should read Brazillionaires?

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

    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.

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    Brazillionaires FAQs 

    What is the main message of Brazillionaires?

    The main message of Brazillionaires is an exploration of Brazil's billionaire class and their impact on the country's economy and society.

    How long does it take to read Brazillionaires?

    The reading time for Brazillionaires varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Brazillionaires a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Brazillionaires offers an insightful look into Brazil's economic inequality and the lives of its wealthiest citizens. It's definitely worth a read.

    Who is the author of Brazillionaires?

    The author of Brazillionaires is Alex Cuadros.

    What to read after Brazillionaires?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Brazillionaires, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope
    • Southern Theory by Raewyn Connell
    • Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan
    • Young Money by Kevin Roose
    • The End of the Myth by Greg Grandin
    • Stop Checking Your Likes by Susie Moore
    • The Next Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & Sarah Stanley Fallaw
    • Back Channel to Cuba by William M. LeoGrande & Peter Kornbluh