Chapter 1Setting Sail

To Members of the Rising Generation

This chapter—indeed, this book as a whole—is meant for you.

There are many books, and some good ones, written for your parents and grandparents. (Indeed, our previous book, The Cycle of the Gift, is meant primarily for them.) These books may speak about the next generation, but usually as an object of your parents' or grandparents' care and concern, not as a subject in your own right. You may benefit from such books, but they are not truly meant for you.

In this chapter, we will encourage your reflection on the challenges that family wealth poses to you—challenges often unrecognized but almost always felt. In the next chapter, we will ask you to step back and observe the characteristics and the challenges common to rising generations in general, with or without wealth. Then, in Chapters 3 through 5, we will engage you in considering strategies for dealing with these challenges and fostering your own flourishing.

Who do we mean by you? We mean especially members of the so-called “second generation” in enterprising families. You have grown up in the presence—perhaps the shadow—of successful parents, some who may seem larger than life. You, too, may have labored at their side but most likely under their direction. You know that they can be a tough act to follow.

By you we also intend to include members of generations beyond the second. In such cases, the founder of your family's fortune may be an old man or woman or even ...

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