The Status Revolution

The Improbable Story of How the Lowbrow Became the Highbrow

Who invented rescue dogs? Why are luxury brands losing their cachet? What’s made F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous observations about the rich obsolete? The answers are part of a new revolution that’s radically reorganizing the way we view ourselves and others.

Status was once easy to identify—fast cars, fancy shoes, sprawling estates, elite brands. But in place of Louboutins and Lamborghinis, the relevance of the rich, famous, and gauche is waning and a riveting revolution is underfoot. Why do dog owners boast about their rescues, but quietly apologize for their purebreds? Why do people brag about their grinding workweeks? Why are so many billionaires anxious to give (some of) their money away rather than hoard it?

In The Status Revolution, Chuck Thompson—dubbed “savagely funny” by The New York Times and “wickedly entertaining” by the San Francisco Chronicle—sets out to determine what “status” means today and learns that what was once considered the low life has become the high life. In The Status Revolution, Thompson tours the new world of status from a small community in British Columbia where an indigenous artist uses wood carving to restore communal status; to a Washington, DC, meeting of the “Patriotic Millionaires,” a club of high-earners who are begging the government to tax them; to a luxury auto factory in the south of Italy where making beautiful cars is as much about bringing dignity to a low-earning region than it is about flash and indulgence; to a London lab where the neural secrets of status are being unlocked.

“This isn’t a book about designer brands or orgies of overindulgence,” Thompson writes. “Even if I cared about them, the preferences of the rich, famous, and gauche have already been covered more exhaustively than a guy in my tax bracket could ever hope to fake.”

With his signature wit and irreverence, Thompson explains why everything we know about status is changing, upends centuries of conventional wisdom, and shows how the new status revolution reflects our place in contemporary society.

The Status Revolution The Improbable Story of How the Lowbrow Became the Highbrow

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“Witty and incisive … an entertaining and intelligent eye-opener.”
Publishers Weekly
“This will be hard for pop-culture readers to put down.” —Booklist
“Thompson is an insightful, wry observer of our times, with a cynical eye for the most foolish of human follies.”
—Kirkus Reviews
“A very funny, surprisingly far-reaching attempt to determine what status means.”
—Men’s Journal
“A highly original book that is both eye-opening and hilarious.”
—Joe Queenan, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of Closing Time
“Thompson connects disparate industries and unusual characters in the fun—and always surprising—way that makes him one of my all-time favorites.”
—Sarah Knight, bestselling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck
“Chuck Thompson has tackled this slippery and ineffable topic with great aplomb, emerging with a book that is well-reasoned, beautifully paced, and a whole lot of fun. I feel improved.”
—Henry Alford, New Yorker contributor and author of And Then We Danced
“Hilariously curious, fact-packed global quest to understand why human beings still insist on outranking each other.”
—Jack Boulware, co-founder of Litquake and author of San Francisco Bizarro